Throwback: Bastion (Originally Posted January 20, 2013)
Proper game reviews supposed to start at the beginning; ain't so simple with this one.
Where do I even begin with Bastion? The music? The artwork? The story? The characters? Ruks' voice? I honestly can't choose, so I guess I'll just start writing and see where it goes.
The game's artwork is all hand painted beauty, from the backgrounds to character sprites, everything is gorgeous. Look at it
The single voice actor in the game, Logan Cunningham, plays Ruks, the mysterious stranger who guides you as you rebuild the Bastion, narrating your journey and giving commentary along the way.
The way the developer, Supergiant Games, uses the narration is something I don't think I've ever seen. Those who've played the game probably know what I'm talking about, and those who are going to play the game will know it when it get's to that point.
The story of a lonesome Kid, waking up after the world has ended, watching bits of it form under him as he walks, battling monsters and attempting to build something he can't even comprehend, is given life through a stranger's eyes and it's beautifully done.
Also, a great addition they made were the slight changes to the narration and added lines of dialogue if you've already beaten the game and are starting again on New Game+. Absolutely brilliant.
The score for the game is one of the best I've ever heard, fitting every nuance of each area perfectly. From an old-west sound in Slinger's Song to the frantic pace of Terminal March to the steady rhythm of Spike in a Rail, every note hits.
The gameplay is good, not perfect, but more than serviceable. The controls on the PC version are a little imprecise at first, but after a while you won't be falling off the edges of the world anymore and smacking Squirts with ease.
There's an issue of repetitiveness in the gameplay though. While the story is great, the collection of Cores, then Shards, get's a bit monotonous, though the game does its best to make each new area unique.
There's a large collection of weapons and skills to mix and match to find the deadliest combination that works for your play style. Upgrade paths for the weapons are split to give each a very different feel depending on how you choose to upgrade it.
"Leveling" in the game simply unlocks new slots for spirits. Go to the distillery, find some booze that you like the best and equip it. You can add everything from damage resistance to the ability to become gigantic and powerful to magnetism, depending on your choice of tasty beverage.
If you want to add a bit more challenge to the game and test yourself there's a shrine where you can pray to the gods, gods that don't seem to like you taking notice of them. Each of the idols you activate will make your enemies stronger or faster or more resilient, or just to mess with you they'll randomly turn into air. Why? Because fuck you, that's why. No, really, Ruks tells you not to mess with the gods, even sings a song about it for you.
It's hard to find much fault with a game this great. The slightly wonky controls on the PC aren't an issue on the console, the repetitiveness of the missions is soothed with the gorgeous scenery and amazing storytelling. Just, go get this game on Steam or the XBLA and have fun sinking hours into the gorgeous world.