The Short Version:
Bastion is on Sale during the Steam Autumn Sale for 3.74 for another 15 Hours. Go Buy It. Now.
The Long Version:
I have never experienced a more engaging and enveloping narrative experience in a video game than the few short hours I played Bastion. It is a stunning achievement in artistic design, narrative creation, and world immersion. Supergiant Games hit the ball out of the park in 2011 with this game, and any fan of Indie Games, Westerns, Post-Apocalyptic tales, or good storytelling owes it to themselves to grab this game at the criminally low price of $3.74.
Bastionís Story and gameplay are inseparably intertwined: to talk about one requires you to talk about the other. At itís roots, Bastion is a Post-apocalyptic tale of The Kid, a white-haired adventurer who awakens in the floating ruin of Caelondia. Thereís been a giant disaster, known as the Calamity, which has ripped the world apart. Itís up to you to collect numerous Cores dotting the landscape to rebuild the Bastion, a town that is part military base, part frontier settlement, and part shrine. The Kid never utters a word, which isn't particularly unusual in games. Instead, someone else does the majority of the talking: The narrator.
Bastionís biggest selling point, even more so than its fantastic artwork or solid gameplay is the fact that Rucks, a man that sounds like Sam Elliot and looks like Einstein, narrates the entire game, and his narration changes depending on not only the choices you make, but how well you do. Bastion has a very Western feel to it, and as such, I couldn't help myself but make use of the Dueling Pistols. When I heard Ruck say ďKid must think he's the fastest shot in all the lands. He probably isĒ, my jaw dropped. Sure, itís a pre-programmed response to my use of a specific set of weapons, but the game makes it truly feel as if it is reacting to you.
Ruckís Narration is superbly voice acted, and along with the spectacular soundtrack developed by Darren Korb, the sounds of Bastion are a huge part of why it is successful.
And then, there are the choices and implications.
Bastion doesn't need to rely on branching story trees and multiple dialogue options to get you emotionally involved in the world. Instead it just relies on good storytelling and unavoidable moral dilemmas. While the first half of the game feels like a ruckus adventure story of a boy reforming a broken world, you soon realize that the Calamity wasn't a natural disaster, but was something far more sinister and dark. As you meet the other characters of the story, bastion becomes a political drama of sorts, forcing you to really question what YOU think is important. You only make one choice in the entire game, and its perhaps one of the most philosophical and intriguing questions I've ever been posed by a game:
What is a beginning, and what is an end?
Above all this, Bastion invites you to enjoy it on a far less cerebral level. The challenges scattered throughout the game, each testing your skills with one of the games many weapons, will divert you from the main story for quite a while, or keep you playing long after the heartfelt conclusion. Bastionís control are crisp, clean and easy to learn. Thereís plenty of replay-ability thanks to these challenges and the Temple youíll unlock in the Bastion, which allows you to honors any number of gods and reap the rewards, if you can stand up to their judgment.
To me, Bastion is the perfect video game. It has a strong sense of style, and a rich atmosphere. It not only uses art but music and speech to create a world that you canít help but fall in love with. The game-play and mechanics are solid, and never once hold you back from experiencing the game or clouding your enjoyment with unneeded frustration. And while Bastion certainly is philosophical enough to spark a late-night, coffee-fueled debate among friends, it doesn't burden you with making too many choices. The one choice it does force you to make will no doubt be a tough one, and Iíd wager says a lot about what kind of person you are. Bastion is a triumph on all accounts. It is a triumph as an indie game, a triumph in showing that games can be art, and a triumph as an engaging, fun, narrative experience. And
Bastion is, to me, perfection.