An accessible and easily enjoyed action RPG which makes up in style what it may lack in substance
Bastion is the first major release from independent developers Supergiant Games, an action RPG downloadable title that was published by Warner Bros. The game features a distinct visual style and isometric top-down view on the action, which includes combat with various weapon types and abilities. With numerous levels and solid gameplay mechanics, Bastion is an adventure that’s worth undertaking, particularly if the presentation style intrigues you.
The game takes place in a fictional world which has been suddenly destroyed by an event called the Calamity. Players take on the role of The Kid, an aptly named child who awakens after the disaster and eventually meets another survivor, an old man named Rucks who is also the narrator of the story. They enter Bastion, an area that was designated as an emergency meeting point for the world’s inhabitants, which serves as the main base for the characters. Rucks instructs The Kid to collect Cores, fragments of a powerful Bastion tool which could possibly salvage their broken world. Thus, players will visit a number of levels, collecting cores along the way, and participate in a story with some good and unexpected twists. There are even a couple of morality choices during the last level, though it affects little more than the ending cutscene.
This downloadable title is reminiscent of other downloadable action RPGs such as Torchlight, though it may not offer as much value as that particular example. Players control The Kid in third person, navigating the world as it actually builds the path under your feet. It’s nothing new as a design concept, but is well implemented as one of the game’s core presentation mechanics. There are a number of levels in the game, with a good variety of pathways and dead ends which promote exploration and often offer rewards. The worlds aren’t that large though, and fully discovering a level can take as little as five minutes. There’s no map to speak of, but navigation is often straightforward so backtracking isn’t necessary, but at the same time replay value is lacking.
As an action-RPG, Bastion keeps things fairly simple. Players start off with one ranged and one melee weapon, and things progress from there. You later gain a shield, and a variety of other weapons which vary in function, but still remain of melee and range variety. The hammer hits slower but is more powerful than the quick and throwable spear. A rifle packs more punch but takes time to aim while a crossbow is able to fire multiple shots in quick succession before needing to reload. All of these weapons are discovered on new levels, so the progression is fairly linear. With each new weapon found, a special training area also becomes available where you can practice using that specific weapon. Players can select any two weapons from the arsenal to carry with them, as well as one ability. These special skills depend on weapon equipped, and allow you to execute powerful attacks in the heat of battle.
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