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Bastion Need a game with story? Bastion has one to tell.

#1 User is offline   Zenoc2 

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 05:29 PM

It's been a while since I played a game with a good story. For that matter, it's been a while since I played a game with any story at all. Between Angry Birds and Minecraft, there just aren't that many well-known recent games with a good story to tell that can be had for under forty dollars.

That field isn't entirely empty, though. There's Bastion. And even if you think you've heard this one before, I think you'll want to hear this story.

Now, granted, I haven't played too many RPGs, so I'm not familiar with the all of the tropes and things that have been done before. And even having said that, I can tell you that you'll probably see some similarities in Bastion to other stories (one that comes to mind for me is Cave Story; and though I've never played the Final Fantasy games, between the glowing crystals and warring races, the resemblance is clearly visible). What makes Bastion so special, though, is the way that the story is told.

Bastion starts off like quite a few stories do: with a Kid, waking up in the middle of who knows where, trying to make his way to a place where he can find some answers as to how he got there. But as he presses forward, the ground literally rising up under his feet as he goes, a voice begins to talk about his progress. This narrator, who you'll come to know as the Stranger (haha) tells the Kid's story as he goes. His low, gravelly voice describes the Kid's path and his surroundings; their history, and now, the devastation brought on them by the Calamity, a mysterious event that blew the Kid's world to bits. But the Stranger doesn't just tell a pre-defined story, with an unchanging monologue that repeats every time you play the game. No, our narrator is smarter than that; he tells the story as you write it, reacting to your actions without missing a beat. If you defeat a boss, he'll remark about how the monster didn't stand a chance. If you're having trouble, he'll say that things look bleak. And in a much-needed bit of light-hearted narration, if you stumble off the edge of the world, he'll say "And then he falls to his death," and then keep going.

With the exception of when you need to restart a level, the narrator's remarks never get repetitive or annoying, and though I'm usually not one for going after challenge levels, I found myself playing the extra trials just to hear what the Stranger had to say about them.

Unlike many RPGs, Bastion does not have you form a party of intrepid explorers to aid you on your journey (although it's not devoid of other characters, either). Instead, it focuses on periodically introducing new weapons and upgrades to add to your arsenal, giving you faster, stronger, and just plain more fun ways to dispatch the many enemies you'll encounter. You'll also find Spirits (the beverage kind, not the otherworldly kind) that alter your abilities and give you boosts in battle. It's a simple system, but it allows for plenty of fine-tuning and mixing and matching of tools.

Bastion is not a terribly long game. I usually take a while to get through games, but as the story took more twists and turns, and the environments grew more varied and challenging, I found myself not wanting to stop. I completed one of the four possible endings in about eight hours. The game doesn't make you restart to get to the others, so I'm estimating an additional two hours (give or take) to complete the other three. If you're anxious to uncover all of the game's secrets, though, it'll let you restart with all of your weapons and XP once you've completed one of the endings.

Bastion is not without its faults, of course. The first few levels make you wonder if they're going to recycle the same visuals throughout the game (they don't), and the ending I reached left me wanting for something a little more satisfying. The story definitely isn't the greatest ever told, nor are all of the twists completely unexpected. But the way that it's told will make you eager to hear every sentence.
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#2 User is offline   aander91 

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 07:34 PM

Yahtzee was pretty impressed with this game as well, I'll probably pick it up when it goes on sale.
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#3 User is offline   Lostthyme 

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 10:55 PM

It sounds interesting! I might have to pick it up on a boring, rainy day.
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#4 User is offline   300happy 

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:19 PM

Played it. Finished it straight by staying up late because the story was amazing, something I haven't done in a long while.

Then played it again the very next day on New Game + mode.

Probably still will go back and play it again sometime.

It's story is a bit short, but amazingly heavy, and I love how it builds everything up till the end, where it then asks you, the player, to decide on a few very fateful decisions. It reminded me of Myst, only this time there isn't really a "right" or "wrong" answer...just simply which one you feel is the correct choice of action, given everything you've seen, experienced, and learned. And man, it's a heavy decision. I won't spoil it here, as Bastion speaks for itself(often literally) way better then any story synopsis could capture. And a couple of parts of the story also had me in tears. It's very well done, surreal, and has a major theme of tragedy about it that kept me thinking hard on who was really in the right or wrong, and what the Kid's real goal should be.

As an added bonus, they updated the game with a mode where you can play through the story with infinite continues. So even if you are bad at action games, you can still enjoy the story it has to offer. So Myst players who are bad at action games should not fear that they won't get to see all the powerful story telling the game has to offer.

I very much recommend this one.
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