Summer of Arcade is here and there's no better way to kick it off than with Bastion.
Bastion is a beautifully crafted role-playing game with fantastic art design and storytelling. When I started to play Bastion I thought it was just a typical RPG that has been done time and time again, but I soon realised it's more than that. It's a very unique experience that holds a lot of depth and charming gameplay.
The game takes place in a Aftermath of a catastrophe. The world known as Bastion has been torn apart and is infested with creatures. You play a little boy known as the kid. He awakes on a bed with just a few peaces left from the worlds disaster. He is told by a narrator (which features throughout the game) that he can rebuild the Bastion and make it something special. To do this you must collect a Shard found in each of the levels. Once a Shard is collected you must return to the base and place it on the monument. Doing so will restore power to Bastion and also opens up a range of facilities.
As you walk, parts of Bastion become restored and fall into place right infront of you. From pathways, walls and other structure. A dynamic narrator also talks throughout the game on your actions and tells the story along the way. For example, if you start slashing away at some objects, or simply find an item. He will have something to say about it. It's a nice touch to the game and is something I haven't seen in a game before.
From the Bastion, (which is also the games hub) you can travel to each level by entering a Skyway. This lets you fly to each level from an overlooking map. Each of the levels are very short but they all look different with a new weapon on each one. This keeps it fresh and never becomes old when in combat. The art design in each level is also incredible and never looses it's appeal. It's as if somebody has sat down and hand-painted it for hours on end. It looks stunning.
The combat is simple and extremely fun due to it's large choice of weaponry. Whilst looking for a Shard on each level you also have to deal with many dangerous foes. You start with nothing more than a hammer to slash your way through but when you progress you discover a larger range of weapons. From Duelling Pistols, a Machete and even a Flamethrower. You carry a shied with you at all times but the weapons you hold can be chosen at will. You can choose your load-outs from the main base at the Arsenal. You are able to select two weapons at any time and also pick a special attack, like grenades for example.
You start to realise how deep Bastion really is when you progress further in. Not only is there a nice choice of weaponry but you can also upgrade them from the Forge with money you collect from defeating enemies, etc. Apart from the main levels theres also training grounds to complete, which are trials for each weapon. Even when Bastion is complete you still have more to do. When the game is complete it offers a New Game Plus, which lets you play it again but keeps your level and weapons.
Bastion is one of those rare games that offers a unique experience. It's still an RPG but with an incredible hand-painted art style, great sound and storytelling, this is a game I cannot recommend enough.
Review by Gareth Smith