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Bastion Review

Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Supergiant Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
April 7, 2015

In case anyone is wondering, no, I didn’t play Bastion when it first released in 2011. Hence, please save your, “I knew this game was awesome four years ago; where the hell have you been?” comments. Now that Supergiant’s fantastic action/RPG is available on PS4, I finally gave it a try and I came away suitably impressed. Excellently paced, wonderfully presented, and always charming, Bastion is a game that enraptures. When I sit down to play, I do so with a smile on my face. The modern gamer is blessed with having such a vast, diverse array of interactive experiences, and this is a perfect example of a game that simply pulls you in and keeps you involved.

It’s the art design and overall visual prowess that struck me from the outset. Exceedingly colorful and impregnated with rich, vibrant hues throughout, the cornucopia of colors and shades is downright intoxicating. Just about everything, from the silky smooth animations to the gorgeous backdrops, is a testament to the developer’s passion and talent. Very occasionally, visibility becomes a minor issue (during particularly frantic moments of action) but it’s to be expected in such games. There’s just so much going on and the striking visual nature of the production always takes center-stage; you just want to see everything all the time. The playful character and enemy designs are another big highlight.

In most cases, a game is propelled by intense sound effects or a gripping, emotional soundtrack. While Bastion has quality effects and a great score, I found that it was the narrator’s gravelly, vaguely Western-toned style that cemented the experience. At first, I thought his input would become increasingly tiresome and intrusive but in fact, I started to look forward to his storytelling. It gives the game a real sense of adventure, in that it feels like you’re traversing a folklore story of sorts, one that will be retold to generations of eager listeners. The effects are top-notch, too, and the music puts its own stamp on each engaging level. The balancing of all these audio elements is quite impressive as well.

Perhaps one of the most ironic and intriguing parts of this game is the thematic contrast: The world has suffered a terrible tragedy, which the omnipresent narrator refers to as “The Calamity.” However, despite the darkness and confusion into which humanity has been plunged, the colorful environment keeps us in good spirits. Considering the premise, one might assume we’d get a stark, harsh background that is more forbidding. Instead, while only pieces of the world – apparently floating in space – remain, it seems much of life’s most attractive features have withstood “The Calamity.” It really can be a very pretty place, even when you’re set upon by various demons and unholy denizens.

You will traverse a variety of levels, each of which is situated on one of the aforementioned pieces of floating land. They’re short, compact levels that drive you forward with a compelling sense of urgency. For instance, at first, you’re trying to find all the necessary cores to complete the expansion of the Bastion. The latter is your headquarters; it’s what you build to assist your character’s expansion. This is where you can change equipment and special abilities, equip special Spirits that give you a stat boost or buff of some kind, and check out some unique challenges. This is your new home and as such, you’ll always return here to get your bearings. You will also encounter a few lingering souls along your way and they can tell you more about the story.