I was raised in an age where games didn't need hyper-realistic graphics, bathtubs full of blood, or the London Philharmonic Orchestra to make an impact. Gameplay trumps all. Bastion is a neat little digitally distributed title that is rooted deep in this old-school-of-thought, providing classic 32-bit action, with a helping of beautiful hand drawn art and a quite literal take on the narrative.
Entries in supergiant games (3)
Xbox LIVE Arcade's Summer of Xbox is a nice little seasonal shindig where the service promotes the hell out of some the year's best Arcade games. Last year's line up housed some pretty impressive names such as Hard Corps: Uprising, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Limbo, and Monday Night Combat. This year is shaping up to be no different. The lineup includes a few hotly anticipated titles, namely Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet and From Dust. Oh yeah, and Bastion.
I know, I haven't mentioned Bastion since I got some hands on time at PAX East 2011, but that all changes right about, wait for it.. Now! As the first title to kick off this year's Summer of Arcade, Bastion will surely be setting the standard high for the downloadable titles to follow. A silky smooth narrative of The Kid and the world that springs up below his feet seems as compelling as the environments are beautiful. 1200 Microsoft points is a small price to pay for throwback action-RPG three-quarter view deliciousness; something that is always welcome in my console. What better way to deflect the sorrow of not being at one of geek cultures premiere events?
Good news for the PC loyalists out there: Bastion will be available on your platform later this year. In the mean time, Xbox-heads can hack, slash, shoot, and yuck it up next Wednesday.
Supergiant Bastion wallpaper, courtesy of the good folks at Supergiant Games
Way back in September of last year, I saw a trailer for a humble game named Bastion that brought me back to my days of power gaming as a teenager. Any title capable of evoking such fond memories is one to keep an eye on, and Bastion is no different. Found on a whim at PAX East, the thought of this game came rushing back to the forefront of my mind. Oh yes, hands on baby.
In classic RPG fashion, your character is awaken from sleep and ventures out of his home to seek his destiny, however instead of an annoying pet or underage girl as your companion, you are accompanied by the dulcet tones of the narrator. The vibrant and lively world pops up under your feet as you stride forth, introducing you to the simple combat mechanics when it's not busy wowing your eye sockets. Bold colors are bountiful in Bastion, something that is much too rare in this day of the browns and grays of post-apocalyptic modern warfare.
This is the old school at it's finest, renewed for the modern day, of course. Your character -- the Kid, as he's called -- does everything expected of the hero archetype in a three-quarter perspective role-playing game; swing his melee weapon -- in this case, a large hammer -- shoot arrows from a safe distance, block attacks with his shield, and roll-evade from danger's path. These actions can be beautifully mixed without missing a beat, and without a miscued moment from your narrator either. All these actions are introduced from the outset, leaving many more abilities and weapons to be unlocked as you progress, I'm sure.
The Kid will probably play out as one of those silent protagonist types, which I ain't mad at. Some folk take exception with mute heroes, but in this case it gives the wise old narrator a chance to shine. The anonymous voice calls it as he sees it, dynamically narrating the Kid's actions in real time, as well as unraveling the story in a classy way that only a faceless, comforting, gravelly voice can. He's like the second grandfather many of us never knew we had.
I didn't play for too long, but I don't think it matters. Bastion has shaped up to be pretty special, and has a chance of being one of the year's best indie titles if the cards fall into place before release. Expect it on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Summer 2011, with a PC release to follow.