Bastion | Gameguide Bastion – Gameguide

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Bastion is a fantastic debut from Supergiant Games. It tells the story of The Kid, one of the few survivors of the calamity, an event which tore the world asunder leaving little more than floating fragments of the old World. As The kid you are charged with first getting to Bastion, the safe house for the world and then rebuilding a new life from fragments of the past.

One of the first things that stuck me about the game was the sound track, it’s beautiful. The music is very evocative and is used to excellent effect, in general it’s like modernised Western movie music and makes me remember Firefly and Serenity. From the opening screen onwards the music is there at times subtle and gentle when times are quiet then exploding into life for battles. Haunting melodies drift up to create and air of sorrow for the shatter world and lost friends whilst crisp and chirpy rifts punctuate happy times and success. It is by far one of the most well crafted sound tracks on any game I have played, it doesn’t feel repetitive or strained and it hasn’t once broken me from the game with a misplace song.

The next thing that really hit me was just how lovely the graphics are. Hand painted art shuns the race to make the most believable 3d world ever. The artistic direction really changes the feel of the game from other titles in the hack and slash RPG genre. It builds the sense of a world that was made by people rather than rendered in a machine and brings humanity to a world devoid of people. This sits immensely well with the story they are weaving.

The game play fits into a Hack’n’Slash genre but it has two key elements that separate it from the crowd. The first is simply a reworking of the ‘fog of war’. Rather than having the map obscured by darkness the world is generated ‘on the fly’ with the city repairing itself as you progress. This simple change conveys a feeling of the story unfolding and being told as you go. This helps solidify the stories theme of constructing a new world and picking up the pieces after the calamity.

The second change is the cunningly executed narrative that follows the story as you make it. It doesn’t feel heavily scripted, it even helps add emotion to the voiceless protagonist by dropping in things like “The kid just blows of steam for a while, laying waste to everything in sight.” which popped up as I was breaking up the props and terrain in an area looking for currency. The narrator has a fantastic voice for the part with gruff old west tones that that really align nicely with the music and overall theme making this into a real fantasy western.

Bastion is one of the most carefully crafted games I have seen come out on XBLA and it would seem that not a single part of the development has been left wanting. For a debut title it is nothing short of amazing and with the care that has been poured into it would be the first game that seriously transcends the boundary of gaming as entertainment to gaming as art.

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