Bastion, or a mine of new ideas - game review

Author: Przemysław Zamęcki
Date: 2011-08-02 06:56:00
The review was based on the X360 version.

We often witness a discussion about whether games are art. Some treat them as another muse that has been around long enough that it is high time for it to find its place in the pantheon. Others support the theory that games are a mass product, a product of marketing, and as such they play the role of a mere time filler. Perhaps it is. But I am in favor of yet another theory and I ask simple questions. Is the music piece an art form? Is the drawing / painting a form of art? Can a narrative / story be an art? What do the games consist of? Among other things, from music, graphics and narration. And the code. So if its components can be art, why shouldn't it be art? Is or not, huh?

I am asking for a reason, because the Bastion reviewed today is a pearl, what I say, a pearl that was in the console digital distribution. It is a two-dimensional hack n 'slash, in which the action is observed in an isometric view, and its hero is a Kid. The kid.

There was a disaster in Kid's world. At first, we have no idea what happened, the hero simply wakes up in one of the sky-high locations - without weapons and without experience. The kid finds a huge hammer, bow and shield and moves forward to find out his destiny. That's how it goes to the title Bastion, a place that is something like a hall, a hub, to other aerial locations. A place where the Kid meets a mysterious old man.

The game mechanics are quite standard and resemble those of other productions in this genre. During the journey, the kid finds various artifacts, which are then used to improve his weapons. And there are quite a few. The above paragraph only mentioned the basic ones, but after several dozen minutes the arsenal is enriched with a machete, something like a semi-automatic crossbow or musket. Each weapon has three levels of upgrade, and buying one of them unlocks two different working perks. For example, inflicting more damage or increasing the chance of causing a critical wound. When visiting the armory, we can freely exchange all unlocked properties, so there is no need to think long about the choice. Something does not fit, we change it. Comfortable and functional. In addition, the character has a special attack, whose output consumes a bottle of tonic. For example, we can call for an ally to fight, throw a grenade or leave a mine behind. Maybe the whole looks modest at first glance, but sometimes the screen is so crowded that there would be no special time to think about tactics.

Increasing the character experience level works similarly. Each subsequent level unlocks a slot that allows you to literally put an enhancer in it. When something stops responding to us along the way, we exchange something else. Functionality above all.

In time, we find a temple where we can pray. However, the gods are not very favorable, because they answer our prayers in a rather perverse way. If we ask you to increase experience points from killed creatures, the gods make them more resistant to blows. The business must go on.

The game impresses with almost every aspect. What our perception sees in the first place is a beautiful, two-dimensional visual setting, reminiscent of a Japanese RPG, but not quite, because you can also find stubborn the style known from Magicka . Although it is probably best to just admit that the Bastion is so original that it is difficult to clearly determine where the artists working with it drew inspiration.

Well, we have plenty of nice two-dimensional games on the market, so what distinguishes this position exactly? First of all, an idea for presenting a virtual world. Well, strolling through individual locations, we are constantly witnessing their construction in real time, which I admit, looks insane. I go and see how individual elements jump right in front of the characters. This makes the screen not only almost never static, but also works well in hiding various finds, because until we approach the edge of the levitating world, we don't know what the authors have prepared too. It's a bit of a modern version of Knight Lore .

Added to this are really well-composed and catchy pieces of music, performed, among others only on the acoustic guitar. Sometimes it is calm, almost lyric, sometimes a little faster and the music perfectly adapts to the rapid action on the screen. This is one of the best audio fixtures I've heard this year, and certainly one of the best that can be found among indie games.

And this is not the end of admiration. It is true that the story layer could be a bit deeper and more elaborate, but I must admit that with what Bastion offers in this matter , I meet probably for the first time. In the game, there is a narrator who not only takes over the roles of other characters during short conversations, but literally throughout the game explains what is happening on the screen. And in a way that personally reminds me of Chandler's detective stories. Often snappy, but at the same time extremely colorful and funny, describing reality so that we are aware that everyone is guided only by their own interests. The very act of preparing such a narrative puts this game among the experimenters whose task is to show the competition that certain things can be done differently. One can only imagine how many ambitious games would look like, in which instead of the brief information flowing from the lips of the main character we would be dealt with all the time with interesting thoughts on various topics or comments about what is happening on the screen. Sam Fisher or Garret would be perfect in this role.

Bastion is an arcade game with RPG elements, which is managed by a complex mechanic, but it is undoubtedly one of the titles with their own soul. It is charming and colorful, giving a lot of fun just by looking. The Supergiant Games team conjured up an extraordinary game, another step on the path of electronic entertainment evolution towards a rich narrative, not limited to reading notes found along the way and dry conversations with the characters they encountered. This new quality made the Kid, this patch of dozens of pixels on the TV screen, is definitely more than a crowd of anonymous heroes from hundreds of games. The kid is able to change his world. I hope ours in some parts as well.