Bastion Review

“Now The Kid sees somethin’ stranger still; his mind races.

Did anyone else survive?

Sure enough, he finds another. He finds me.” — Rucks

I recently completed Bastion. As mentioned in a previous post, Bastion tells the tale of a boy named the Kid, and his quest to restore the eponymous Bastion, after the Calamity destroys most of Caelondia, the Kid’s home.

During this journey, your only company is the gravely voice of the Narrator, Rucks. A lot of talk about Bastion pertains to the narrator. That’s for good reason. The narration of Bastion is what ties the game together, and gives it its uniqueness. Without it, Bastion is really just another action game.

The story in Bastion is what makes this game gold. This is mostly done through its representation, through the Narrator. He carries the story as you move forward, allowing you to never lose control of the game. This creates a perfect sense of immersion that isn’t present in a lot of action games. As you move through the game, the Narrator gives exposition on the areas that you travel through, and, eventually, why the Calamity happened. There are no indexes you have to read through, no elaborate scenes you have to read about: Everything is laid bare by the Narrator.

Bastion is an action game, through and through. You use a variety of weapons to tear through all sorts of monsters, from Gasbags to the creatures of the Wilds, in order to collect Shards, that power the Bastion. Each Shard unlocks a different area of the Bastion, that allow you to do a variety of things, like swap and upgrade weapons. You’ll have everything from your Cael Hammer to Duel Pistols at your disposal, able to switch through them at any moment to defeat enemies. Each weapon is well designed and has distinct pros and cons that make choosing a two weapon loadout a game in and of itself.

All of that dodging, weaving, and attacking would be boring without things to spice it up, and Bastion covers that base well. As you defeat enemies, you can level up, which both increases your health, and unlocks a new tonic for the Distillery. Each Tonic in the Distillery can give the Kid new abilities and stats, which give a certain element of strategy. This strategic element is further compounded by the element of Idols. Activating each Idol makes enemies stronger, but also unlocks rewards when successfully defeating enemies.

The Narrator also takes your actions and incorporates them into the story. Your weapon loadouts are described depending on what combination you use. (See a Kid with a machete and a mortar cannon, you just keep on walking.) To the tonics you equip before battle. Every action the Kid makes has some sort of Caelondian lore attached to it. This keeps the narration tying everything together, creating a cohesive and believable universe.

Bastion is a well-oiled action game machine. Though it doesn’t reinvent the genre, it creates a well designed, easy to use package. There is always something to look forward to, whether it be a new weapon, or new area of the Bastion to be unlocked. Couple this with a well written Narrator, and you have a solidly designed game that I can definitely recommend.