Now we’re all aware that the gap between games released on Xbox Live Arcade and full-blooded commercial titles has been tightening for some time, but Bastion from Supergiant Games has taken things to a whole new level. In the words of its developers, Bastion is an “original action role-playing game set in a lush imaginative world, in which players must create and fight for civilization’s last refuge”. Now come on, that makes you want to play at least a little bit, right?
Bastion launched on the 20thof July as part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade and has already made huge ripples in the gaming world, it’s incredible to think that this is Supergiant’s debut game. Once you shell out your 1,200 Microsoft Points, you are immediately overwhelmed by Bastion’s presentation. You are welcomed into the game with vibrant watercolour-style art and rather Zelda-like soundtrack music. Now, that’s all before you start playing. When inside the Bastion game world, its immediately apparent that the game doesn’t follow a set-down formula and quite clearly brings something new to the table with its combination of hack and slash and role-playing alongside an old-school movement system with a rather modern twist.
Bastion’s story goes as follows: an event, aptly named ‘the calamity’ has devastated your entire world, leaving you, the sole survivor, to travel to the Bastion, a designated meeting place for when disaster strikes. Upon arrival, you notice that the Bastion has been damaged unconditionally, thus you take it upon yourself to restore it piece by piece. An unusual but welcome addition to the game is that the story is unfolded by a narrator, named the Old Man, a figure that will guide you through this breathtaking game.
Now we’re on the subject of breathtaking, your breath will be truly taken away by the game’s unique yet immersive graphics and audio. As you can see from some of the images accompanying this article, Bastion boasts rather fairytale-style visuals.
Now let’s get down to the weapons, you wield two weapons and a shield to fend off your ghastly enemies. You are also blessed with a special attack and a nifty dodge roll and your inventory of weapons expands as you play your way through the game. Machetes, Flamethrowers, Hammers, they’re all there, and upgradeable too, so crushing foes will never get dull.
The hack and slash elements of the game play very well, Supergiant Games have made a good job as regards to it utilizing various weapons in unique ways and making destroying enemies beautifully statisfying. The game contains an in-game accomplishment system, awarding players for accomplishing certain feats with in-game currency, named fragments. Groovy. Also, when your character levels up, more health is added and a new perk is unlocked, meaning an extra life or extra damage (and trust me, they come in handy!).
The game also features numerous challenges and errands for the player to get tucked into and a survival mode that bears some resemblance to Gears of War’s Horde Mode in its design. The survival mode pits you again numerous waves of deadly foes, and allows you to collect fragments. It may sound tedious, but it is undoubtedly satisfying hacking through wave after wave of enemies.
Bastion has immediately set an incredibly high standard for Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade, now if you’ve got some spare time in the next few days I strongly suggest shelling out the Microsoft Points required and tucking into this, you won’t regret it. You might also want to take a few minutes and pop on over to the Supergiant Games website, where you can follow a blog dating back to 2010 that documents the game’s development from its infancy to its current state.
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