Friday, September 16, 2011

Bastion Review

Xbox Live Arcade always has something of a boom period during the summer as small titles such as Bastion get recognised and prospers for its short but sweet gameplay.

Bastion, to simply put it, is one of those Arcade titles set to dazzle you for its art and simplified gameplay mechanics. So it sounds like Limbo right? Well not quite like Limo, Limbo uses its art to immerse and drive the player to continue even if you don't know who or why you are continuing. Bastion on the other hand doesn't focus on its art as much as Limbo does, not to say that Bastion's art is weaker than Limbo's, but that Bastion doesn't totally rely on its art (its a matter of opinion at the end of the day on who's art you prefer). Bastion although does reinforce its story in a somewhat innovated way with the addition of a narrator narrating your every move; 

Of course the narrator doesn't voice your every move but you can see that a lot of the narrative is explaining everything around him and further describing each object as the player picks up new weapons or heads into a new area. This is the main highlight of Bastion in my opinion instead of stopping the gameplay to watch a cutscene and to catch up with the story, the narrator tells the story as the player progresses through the game. Many classic games takes this route such as BioShock and Half Life 2, they refuse to stop the player and try to explain everything in a short cutscene because they don't want to take the easy option out. However cutscene's are not all bad, its just refreshing to try something that is rarely done well. 

The story itself is quite simple but thanks to its narrative it draws you into the world easily. Bastion takes the point of view of Sebastian who's tale begins with the aftermath of the Calamity, a catastrophic event that brought to the end of the world as he knew it. Sebastian meets up with a wise old man, the narrator, at the Bastion a place everyone planned to meet if dire times came to be. From then on Sebastian must recreate the old world as he knew it, one step at a time. 

The gameplay is simple enough, A to jump around B and X to use your two weapons along with right bumper to use a special ability of your choosing. I enjoyed the combat a ton considering they mixed it up quite a lot, from maneuvering  to using short ranged weapons to long ranged weapons I must admit I enjoyed forming different classes together. Its nothing compelling like I said, but regardless the system works quite well for its genre.

Overall: I found the game unique and simplified in the sense that they used a highly regarded method of storytelling by not introducing cutscenes. The majority of the story is told through a narrator which is the first of its kind. The story and its art was by far the highlight of this game and therefore gets a high score from me. 

"It dazzles me in a multitude of ways with keeping a slick and easy to follow story along with a new and refreshing storytelling method."  


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