Yeah, Yeah, Bastion, Whatever
Okay, someone (other than Destructoid) has to say this: “Bastion” is a perfectly adequate game, and that’s it. This thing may be the overhyped title of the summer. The one really cool thing about it is none of the things that everyone keeps talking about. Hit the jump and let me explain to you why “Bastion” is not as awesome as you’re hearing, and you may just want to save those MS points for something else. I recommend “Baby Maker 5: Do Or Die.”
1. Narrator. Nobody can shut up about the narrator in this game, which is appropriate, because neither can he. Am I the only one not at all charmed by this non-starter of a game mechanic? The voice actor does nice work, but there’s very rarely a sense that what he’s saying is unique to your play through. It’s incredibly rote and changes very little. “Bastion’s” developers may have been canny in including it, because it creates a false sense of real uniqueness about the title, but I was disappointed all the same.
2. Forming Worlds. You’ll also hear people tell you that the world of “Bastion” forms around you as you walk, snapping into place from underneath your feet. That’s true, it does, but again: who cares? The paths are as linear as any other game, and honestly I would prefer to be able to see where I was going. Every now and then, “Bastion” uses this technique for some interesting gameplay mechanics, but the rest of the time it’s just pointless. I don’t get why everyone is so charmed by it.
3. Combat. This is really nothing to get excited about. Button-mashing at close range, ranged weapons at a distance. You know the drill. It’s carried off effectively, I grant you that, but it’s a little over-simple and I found myself wearying of it quickly. And for the record, “Torchlight’s” combat is more intuitive and deeper.
4. Art Style. It has bright colors. Congratulations. Meanwhile, the animations are incredibly rigid, and the bright colors on the landscape are so overdone that they lose value. I was not charmed.
Okay, now all of this is maybe over-harsh, but I’m just trying to make a point here: go into “Bastion” with your expectations in check. Some of the effusive reviews of this thing are truly hollow, and once you get through the clutter of “it has a narrator!” there’s very little there. This is a very predictable isometric button-masher RPG, with all the trappings that go with that genre. If you’re up for that, awesome.
Oh, and by the way, that really cool thing no one is talking about: “Bastion” employs a level mod system called “Gods” which is not unlike the skulls in “Halo.” Activating them will increase the challenge of a dungeon, but also up your XP and loot potential. Furthermore, you can tweak what kind of difficulty you’re okay with, mixing and matching until you feel comfortable. This is a genuinely awesome idea and it’s cunningly implemented.
But yes, let’s all talk about the narrator some more.