Bastion – Smooth Narration

The game opens with the dry, yet melodic voice of the narrator: “Stories are supposed to start at the beginning. Ain’t so simple with this one.”  The screen fades in and you see your character, the Kid, laying in bed. As you get out of bed and head out the door, the narrator continues: “He gets up. Sets off for the Bastion.” This is the set up for the game. The narrator, Rucks, guides you through the game with his cool cadence. You’re actions, along with your surroundings, are constantly narrated. Honestly, I thought it would become annoying, but it is what makes the game so unique.

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Bastion is an action role-playing game (think Zelda with leveling up mechanics) released in 2011 from Supergiant Games. As you progress, you unlock a plethora of weapons and abilities, keeping the gameplay constantly fresh. The camera has an isometric 3/4 point of view (which would make platforming difficult if there was any). As you walk along the paths, the ground flies up, forming beneath your feet. This just added to the other-worldly atmosphere. I really enjoyed watching the world unfold as I progressed.

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I’m a sucker for RPG mechanics in a game. Unlocking abilities and filling meters gives me some sort of primal satisfaction. I played through the game 1.86 times (hey guess what, there’s a save file bug that might delete your new game + data), and enjoyed my time. Often, I’m guilty of turning the volume low to listen to music as I level grind, but with the amazing narration from Logan Cunningham, I listened to the game instead. This was a good call. The game sported an original soundtrack from Darren Korb that was amazing. The haunting tones reminded me of Kill Bill (another amazing soundtrack). Mother, I’m Here and Setting Sail, Coming Home are both excellent songs. Once I heard “Build That Wall” though, I instantly stopped playing to track down the name. Give it a listen, and see if it doesn’t stick with you.

I went into this game expecting the story to be pretentious. Typically, clever mechanics are not allowed to develop and standup on their own. They’re usually convoluted as well, because why not. I was surprised that the tale was straight forward and heartfelt. There was a great Calamity. The Kid was serving a second tour guarding the wall on the rim, and wasn’t present for the catastrophe. He goes to the rendezvous point, the Bastion, only to find that almost no one survived.

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SPOILERS – As the game progresses, you learn that there was relative peace between the Caelondian and Ura people. The Caelondians (which is your ethnicity), detonated a bomb to destroy the Ura, hoping to avoid any future conflict. The bomb was sabotaged and backfired, nearly annihilating both sides. The story is a little more complicated than that, but that’s the gist. The ending presented me with a profound choice causing me to pause and consider. The Bastion had the power to reset everything, restoring everything the way it was before the Calamity, 0r it could be used to gather up the remaining survivors. The narrator said how he wasn’t sure if the same mistakes would be repeated if everything was restored, or if this hadn’t happened before. This is what made me think about my choice. I choose to evacuate, reasoning that this was the mistake that was chosen, we need to live with it. END SPOILERS

Bastion is a downloadable game available for everything (XBLA, Steam, iPad, etc.) except Playstation. It’s very cheap considering the value of the product. I highly recommend playing the game. Even if the story was spoiled for you above, it’s the telling that makes it special, the journey, not the destination. Bastion is a fantastic journey worth experiencing.

What did you think of Bastion? What ending did you choose? Comment below!

I was a little upset seeing Rucks wasn’t black.

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