Bastion
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Supergiant Games and Warner Bros. aren’t exactly household names when it comes to video and computer games, although the former independent company nonetheless developed Bastion for various consoles (with this review covering the PC version), with the latter’s Interactive Entertainment division publishing the title. The game’s demo available for download from Steam provided this reviewer a positive impression of the game, and fortunately, the full game itself proves to be a solid experience, as well.

In Bastion, players assume control of the Kid, who moves through isometric environments that frequently appear from below as he progresses across them. During his journey he’ll receive a variety of melee and ranged weapons, with each assigned to the left and right mouse buttons, with the player ultimately receiving the ability to execute a special ability with the Q key, with three special potions initially dictating how many times the Kid can use that special kid. The player can also press the F key to heal, with three potions available initially, and refillable at fountains. If a player has the maximum amount of potions and picks another up, then the acquired potion will automatically heal the Kid.

Providing the game its title is the Bastion, a sort of hub town that the player gradually reconstructs as the game advances to access things such as the ability to change weapons assigned to the left and right mouse buttons, equip spirits (the beverage kind) that provide innate effects, invoke deities for additional challenge, purchase materials necessary to upgrade weapons, and so forth. If the player is playing on the easiest difficulty and dies, they can continue from where they left off with the escape key, although this feature contains more restriction on the highest challenge setting. In the end, the gameplay works decently, with only a few small flaws such as the inability to change weapons within the game’s various dungeons.

Bastion’s control scheme works well for the most part, and while the game assigns directional movement to the W, A, S, and D keys, it actually makes sense since odds are that the player will keep their right hand on the mouse for targeting and attack and their left hand on the keyboard for movement, healing, and special skill execution. The only major flaw is the somewhat restrictive save system, with saving only occurring whenever the player exits a dungeon (in which case they have to start from the beginning when revisiting it) or departs the titular Bastion. Otherwise, the game generally interfaces well with the player.

The story is actually fairly enjoyable, with the narrator who tells about most everything gameplay-wise adding a nice touch to the narrative. Decent backstory the game reveals towards the end, although the Kid doesn’t really have much development. Otherwise, the plot helps the game far more than hurts.

Aurally, the game is fairly above average, with the narrator’s speech providing the bulk of the aurals and being generally enjoyable, and the music isn’t half-bad, either, although some of it is a tad bit ambient, and sometimes the sound effects and narrator drown out the themes for each area. Otherwise, a decent-sounding Western RPG for a change.

Bastion excels visually as well, with a nice cartoony style for the artwork and nice-looking main visuals, with superb-looking environs and character sprites and fluid animation, with virtually nothing negative, and while some might protest the transparency of parts of the game environs, it’s necessary to ensure the Kid is always visible.

Finally, the game is fairly short, taking less than ten hours for a straightforward playthrough, although completing the game unlocks bonuses such as an always-welcome New Game Plus mode with some features from the initial playthrough retainable. In the end, Bastion is a fairly enjoyable Western RPG that hits most of the right notes in just about all its aspects, with only a few minor portions leaving some room for improvement such as the restrictive save system. Otherwise, Supergiant Games’ effort is an all-around solid experience that most PC gamers can check out via Steam.

The Good:
+Solid gameplay.
+Interesting plot.
+Great aurals.
+Superb visuals.

The Bad:
-Save system is somewhat restrictive.
-Main game is fairly short.

The Bottom Line:
Great Western RPG.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PC
Game Mechanics: 9/10
Controls: 8/10
Story: 9/10
Music/Sound: 8/10
Graphics: 10/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: Less than 10 Hours

Overall: 9/10

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