Chris OToole5 comments
Tags: Bastion, XBLA, Summer of Arcade, RPG, Live Narration in the third person
Ending the summer drought?
The Reviewer starts up his console. As the Summer of Xbox Live Arcade begins, he knows he has to review this first game, Bastion, for a nifty website he frequents. And sure enough, as night follow day, he's asked to take control of The Kid, a small guy floating on a sea of nothing, snoozing away as if all is right in the world. Of course as soon as he taps that left stick, the little guy wakes up, and away they both go, trying to set the world alight. Yeah, he's being a bit vague here, maybe you wanna know a little bit more about the story? Where it goes? Who is who? But no, you're gonna have to trust me on this one. And rest assured, the way it unfolds as you take your travels is pretty impressive, and I aint about to spoilt it right here, before the adventure has even begun.
As they explore the world together The Reviewer notes just how darn pretty the game is. As he guides The Kid around the place, the ground rises up to meet his feet in a way he'd not seen before. The beautifully realised tiles the land is made of, are all fully painted in a beautiful art style that permeates the entire game. Nothing seems out of place, and there's tons of incidental detail for him and The Kid to smash up when they feel the need.
The Reviewer notes with an impressed nod of his head that the animation is exactly as it should be: fluid, detailed and never overly fussy. And believe him, when you're in a life and death battle with twenty squirts, the last thing you want is superfluous animation gumming up your gears.
The Kid's story is instantly intriguing to The Reviewer, it keeps him rapt throughout. Takes him about six hours all told, and not once feels like a chore. Something else he enjoys is the way that when the tale is finished, a new + option opens up before him containing a few extra pieces of the story, and of course, best of all, lets The Kid keep all of his powers and weapons. It even lets him continue levelling up from the point at which he left off. This speaks volumes to The Reviewer, so much so that when he's done the first time through, he takes a deep breath and starts his adventure right back up. Sitting there playing through again, for two straight hours still feels fresh to him.
The Reviewer relishes the combat, describing how it's done really well, constantly dropping new weapons for The Kid and that Reviewer guy to play with at regular intervals. The Kid can only hold two at a time though, so some some strategy comes into play between them, as The Reviewer can only swap what he has at armouries, and these, in his opinion, are few and far between, especially on the occasions where he chooses unwisely. The Reviewer is irked by this at first, but eventually manages to live with it. The Reviewer also initially finds the combat a bit hack and slash, but it eventually dawns on him that he's doing it wrong, and not properly utilising the shield he gets early on. It turns out this defensive weapon is actually his best method of offence, as all those bad guys' attacks can be countered if The Kid's timing is right. This is key. Master this and this world is gonna be in the palm of his hand.
As the games ends it's clear that it's pressed all The Reviewer's buttons. It's taken him back to an age when he used to enjoy old school RPG games, like Zelda and Secret of Mana. The Reviewer feels Bastion doesn't quite have the open worlds the aforementioend titles do but is still very reminiscent. The Reviewer concludes that Bastion is a pretty linear place when it comes right down to it, but the joy he got from playing it, well that takes him back to that pretty special place, reserved for those games that have a bit of magic in them.
And on a final note, The Reviewer reveals that he also loved me, the narrator, and decided I was pretty darn unique. You know, I always did like that guy.
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