Bastion

Moby ID: 53411
Xbox 360 Specs
Buy on Windows
$14.99 new on Steam
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Description official description

Bastion is an isometric action/role playing game. It's the story of a city known as Caelondia after it has been destroyed by a disaster called "Calamity". The game follows a silent protagonist known as "The Kid" who tries to create a safe haven (Bastion) with the help of Rucks, who is also the narrator of the game. The kid has to defeat the game's many foes with a variety of melee and ranged weapons and also special skills. The Bastion, which acts as some sort of headquarters in the game, can be upgraded with useful buildings as the player progresses.

As the Kid travels through the world, he will discover new weapons, upgrade materials, mementos and fragments. Mementos can be discussed with other characters residing in the Bastion and may reveal more about the world. The Kid can only hold two weapons and one special skill at a time, which may require switching them with others, considering the player's preferences and the enemies' weaknesses. The fragments are the game's main currency and they can be collected after destroying objects, defeating enemies and, sometimes, by simply finding them. The player can later use them in the Bastion in order to purchase upgrades and useful trinkets.

The Bastion encloses a total of six buildings which the Kid can restore and utilize. In the Distillery, the player can assign spirits (drinks) to a maximum of ten slots, providing various passive bonuses during the gameplay. At the beginning, only one slot is available for use, the rest being unlocked one by one every time the Kid levels up. The Arsenal stores all the weapons that the protagonist gathers during his adventures; the player can switch weapons and special skills here. The weapons are enhanced and upgraded in the Forge, and this is possible only after collecting the required upgrade materials in the world. The Memorial offers various challenges, which if completed reward the player with additional fragments. In Lost-and-Found, the player can spend fragments in order to restore upgrade materials and unlock idols and spirits. Finally, the game difficulty can be increased by invoking the gods in the Shrine.

One of the notable features in the game is dynamic narration. Narrating in the game is based on the player's actions. For example, when the kid has fallen from a height the narrator gives a comment about the incident.

Spellings

  • 堡垒 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

137 People (103 developers, 34 thanks) · View all

Design
Writing
Engineering
Sound
Music
Art
Narration
3D Modeling
3D Animation
Visual FX
Quality Assurance
Map Beautification
Additional Voices
Localization
Certification Testing
  • VMC Game Labs
Test Managers
Sr. Leads
Test Lead
Software Test Engineers
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 45 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 73 ratings with 2 reviews)

Thank you, Humble Indie Bundle.

The Good
The one thing everybody knows about this game is the fact that every action you perform is narrated by an old man. When I first heard about this, my initial reaction was "That is going to get annoying really fast", just like the animations in Pokemon Stadium. However, Bastion is a very good example of how narration is done well, for starters: The narrator never repeats himself and is constantly present. This means that unlike the commanders from Lord of the Rings: Conquest, you won't be hearing the same four or five lines over and over again, instead the narrator feels very real and human, almost like how a good storyteller would tell his tales around a campfire.

The narration also allows the game to focus on gameplay without losing points on its story. A lot of games these days think it's impossible to tell a story during gameplay and instead rely constantly on cut-scenes, so a game like Half-Life or indeed Bastion is a welcome refreshment. Because the narrator is constantly talking we learn a lot about the people and the world around us without ever needing to lose control over our character or read tons of dialogue.

The main goal of the game is to, after a calamity occurred, rebuild the city by gathering the cores and shards that kept it alive. Whenever you collect one of these items you can build or upgrade a building inside the "Bastion" (a restoration point for the city). This is a very rewarding process because each building has a specific feature that will help you out in a different way, an armory for example allows you to swap weapons. Upgrading the armory unlocks new special moves which can be a life-saving investment when in the tougher stages.

Fighting in this game is very fast and skillful, as The Kid you wield a variety of different weapons varying from hammers to entire mortars and there are tons of enemies coming at you from each direction. You can use Shift to hold up a shield, Q to perform a special attack and spacebar to dodge-roll. Dodging and defending become very integral skills later on in the game, the difficulty tends to rise and some enemies can really mess your day up.

Back in the Bastion there is a lot of customization that you can perform on your hero. In the distillery you can select a beverage every time you level up, these give you passive bonuses such as doing constant critical hits when you are below 30% health. At the forge you can upgrade your weapons with resources you found elsewhere and these have a small upgrade-tree. It's not nearly as complex as Civilization, but making a choice that fits your play-style can make quite a difference. Finally there is a temple where you can choose which gods to worship, worshiping gods makes the enemies stronger in a variety of ways, but also increases the experience bonus you receive.

For each weapon there is also a training facility where you can practice your skills. The goal is to kill as many enemies or possible or clear the course in as little time or attacks as possible. The better you do, the better the reward will be at the end. Training rooms aren't really rare in games, but I have only seen it done well a handful of times. Bastion makes sure that the three rewards you can get are actually worth the effort and they become more valuable the better you do, plus they are actually well designed, that counts for a lot too.

I finished this game the other day and had a blast with it, I especially liked the story that maintained emotional weight without ever needing to show cut-scenes to me. After the credits though, I was treated on a message that made me very happy, namely the hint that I had unlocked a Game+ mode that allowed me to start a new game with my old character. Sweet! I loved it when Borderlands did this and I love it again because Game+ mode is such an awesome idea, it increases the replay value of a game and provides a better challenge for those who choose to use it. Personally I'll wait a little longer and play through the rest of the games I got in the Indie Bundle.

The Bad
If the game produces a pie chart that showed the sources from which I took damage, enemies would probably come in second place. Why is that? Well because I fell of the level every ten seconds. Bastion has an isometric viewpoint and combined with the very elaborate and messy level-design it often creates the problem that you direct a roll in the wrong direction or stand on something that is not actually part of the floor. This was very obnoxious and a constant problem from the second I booted the game till the very last stage.

I am not a great fan of levels that have timers on them and while Bastion rarely did this, it did have a few scenes in which the level would fall apart and you have to rush through it. I found these to be very annoying because, while they are definitely not out-of-place, they did force me to stop my exploring. Like I said in my review of "Alter Ego", I hate it when I feel like I am missing out on interesting content and that statement applies here as well. I don't like it when I might be constantly running past valuable collectibles or secrets without knowing it.

The game has way too many weapons, almost one for every stage you visit. While they are definitely different in design, function and never feel like copy&pasted work, it did grow rather annoying that I could never settle with a particular combination of weapons. At the start of the game you are given a pistol, a few minutes later you're already rolling with a bow. When you get used to the bow, you get a javelin, a few stages later a scattergun and the one after that you are given a freaking rifle. It gets so annoying to constantly receive new weapons after a while and it makes upgrading feel rather pointless. I also hate it that you automatically swap weapons when you find a new one, especially since you can only change it back when you find an armory somewhere.

This might seem like a poor complaint, but I really thought that there weren't enough songs. The soundtrack is pretty long, but there are only two or three songs with actual lyrics and they all sound freaking gorgeous.

The Bottom Line
Bastion was a massive hit when it launched in 2011 and I initially missed out on it. I am very glad that I caught up now however because Bastion is a very worthwhile experience, it sets a new bar for indie-games on the fields of story-telling, graphics, music and gameplay. I am definitely going to revisit this game at some point in 2013 and hell, maybe I even go for a 100% completion then.

If you consider yourself a member of the indie-scene, then I don't have to tell you to play Bastion because you already have. People looking for a completely new experience, something that hasn't been done before, should also look towards this title. Come to think of it, even the die-hard gamers can probably get a good amount of satisfaction out of this title due to its chaotic gameplay and the lack of story-heavy cut-scenes.

Windows · by Asinine (957) · 2012

Nice breath of fresh air

The Good
Immediately from the beginning of Bastion, the game narrates your nearly every move. This is done by Logan Cunningham, who does the voice of Rucks the old man, and it is done fabulously. It definitely adds a nice touch that really builds the atmosphere and depth of the game.

Graphically, Bastion looks great for an indie game, filled with lush colors and detailed characters and landscapes. The music is also a treat, as the tracks build they play out beautifully and hauntingly against the games somewhat depressing storyline.

While Bastion can be controlled with either the keyboard or joystick, the joystick felt much more comfortable and natural to use. Each button is assigned to a various action, with one button swinging your main melee weapon, another using a ranged weapon, and another using a healing potion.

The game is easy to get into and plays great. There are tons of other nice little additions like being able to build up the Bastion (your home base) and playing mini game challenges for prizes. There are also leaderboards and other challenges, so there is a lot to keep you busy.

The Bad
The game is kind of short, as I clocked in about 8-9 hours on my first playthrough, and it's not too terribly challenging. You can make the game harder by using "idols", but the standard setting won't strain you too much.

The story is kind of weak, and somewhat predictable. It isn't bad, but sometimes seems like it was added in at the last minute once everything else was in place.

And finally the narrator. I know I praised how great this feature is, but after hearing his voice for 4+ hours...well, it started to get annoying to me. It is great at first, but started to wear thin as the game progressed.

The Bottom Line
An original and fun action/adventure/RPG hybrid. Bastion plays smooth as silk and looks and sounds great. Other than a few minor complaints, the game is a fun romp for a rainy weekend.

Windows · by Baxter Arnett (10) · 2013

Trivia

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2011 – Best Xbox Live Arcade Game of the Year
  • Xbox 360 Achievements
    • 2011 - Best Arcade Game

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Herzalot ..

Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Macintosh, Browser, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PS Vita added by Sciere. iPhone, iPad added by Kabushi. Linux added by Iggi.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Solid Flamingo, Yearman, Patrick Bregger, firefang9212.

Game added October 31, 2011. Last modified February 22, 2024.