For many gamers out there Bastion is a something that has planted itself firmly in their mind. We first came across it on the Xbox 360 and since then have completed it numerous times as well as bought it on the PC so this review comes from the point of view of a returning player which is why it’s somewhat of a surprise to see how fresh it still feels.
Incase you haven’t experienced Bastion before- it follows the story of a boy who awakens after a massive calamity had befallen his world. The story unfolds via an atmospheric voice over that describes what is happening and adds detail and colour to the world as you explore.
Bastion is a hack and slash game at heart but a sophisticated one. Your character is always responsive and easy to control and you have a wealth of different weapons to play around with. Any combination of weapons can be set up on two different attack buttons which allows for flexibility in the way players can approach combat. Both melee and ranged weapons are on hand and each is different from the last meaning careful consideration is needed to match them up to the player’s style.
The colourful and charming art style is what still sets Bastion apart from many other indie games out there. It has always looked good and the PS4 version looks a little bit more gorgeous. Different areas are distinctive and full of character and the ‘hanging over the abyss’ layout harks back to the era of isometric games like Rasputin.
As well as the main story where you gradually rebuild the ‘Bastion’ there are also a host of self-contained challenged to get to grips with. These involve using a specific weapon and hitting a certain number of targets within a tight time frame. There is also a basic levelling and power up system to help you along the way. It’s nothing major but certainly adds another layer of interest.
Though no pushover, Bastion is not a game with a hard-core difficulty. There is a beautifully balanced learning curve which gradually increases as the game progresses. It’s a challenge but never one that a well-equipped player will be overcome by. Instead, it challenges you to think about combat and to use the weapons you have found in the best way.
There is certainly something special about Bastion that keeps you drawn to it. It’s hard to think of anyone who won’t want to dive back into the new game+ setting after completion and starting the game again now after a break we were instantly compelled to keep playing. There’s just something very satisfying about bashing things with a big hammer and picking up the shards that are left behind.
Overall, though it’s not the new kid on the block anymore, Bastion still has more of a draw than many newer games. It’s certainly a defining game in the indie movement (if there is such a thing), and one that is still as fun to play as ever. There’s little here to draw in players who already own the game but for Sony purists who finally have the chance it’s as essential a game now as it ever has been.