The Play List: Bastion

By Joe Strange

We were bombarded with news this weekend from the 2014 Playstation Experience, and none of that news made me as psyched as the announcement that Supergiant’s isometric action/RPG game, Bastion, will be getting a PS4/Vita port.

Originally released on the Xbox Live Arcade in July of 2012 (followed by a Steam release the next month) Bastion tells the story of a great calamity, a silent character known as ‘The Kid’ and his quest to restore the titular Bastion and scrape back civilisation the best he can, and I played the crap out of it.

I realise the story isn’t the most revolutionary of tales but, like all the best stories, the magic is in the telling and Bastion gets that spot on with the smoothest, coolest, sexiest voice in videogames in the form of the Narrator. The Narrator, voiced by Logan Cunningham, regales the audience with the events on screen, using this to build the world and give you background on the enemies, on the lore and on the Kid’s actions.

This commentary peaks as he pats the Kid (and the player) on the back for the way he deals with enemies and the troubles he faces. The narrator also acts as a tutorial, once you pick up the bow he states ‘the Kid knows to wait until he’s pulled it all the way before he fires’, what happens when you do this? Well you get a power shot of course. The entire set up gives Bastion a very fairy tale feel, like this is a story passed down through the years, but it still maintains the immediacy of a tense story, and can be very touching in places.

The combat seems shallow at first; two weapon slots, a shield and a special attack aren’t the most exciting of set ups, but once you begin unlocking new weapons for your arsenal and finding upgrade materials the combat makes for some really fun game play. I completely admit to getting attached to my six shooter and not wanting to let go of it at all. Because even the weapons you pick up have personality, you begin to craft a character in the Kid through the weapons you use, and even when the game is over and the Bastion’s fate is decided you can go into one of the arenas and try out new loadouts and tinker to your heart’s content.

There are also idol you can find and activate that can make enemies tougher, or your experience a little more challenging, in a similar way to Halo’s skulls, which adds even more depth to a system that initially seems a bit meh.

Along with the narration, Bastion’s musical score is impeccable. The styles vary through the story and are shaped by the level setting, but there’s an overall feel that’s very reminiscent of westerns, but with a definite twist. It’s engaging and atmospheric and adds even more to the feel that a travelling band of storytellers could be entertaining a village with the Kid’s adventure.

Bastion is an example of how games give storytellers new ways to engage audiences, through its clever narration, noteworthy art style and incredible world building Bastion is a delight for gamers and storytellers alike.

Bastion is currently available on the Xbox 360 Marketplace, Steam, the Chrome Webstore and will be released next year on PS4 and Vita.


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