Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bastion - Xbox 360

Creating quite an impression thanks to its beautiful visuals, appealing isometric viewpoint and eclectic soundtrack, Bastion is an inviting proposition.

Indeed, the first few hours in its company provides great entertainment, but despite a smattering of neat ideas and its unique presentation, Bastion struggles to maintain the initial thrill throughout the rest of the six-hour adventure.

While the glossy presentation is impressive, it’s the way the story plays out which takes most of the plaudits.

The protagonist - known simply as The Kid - wakes from his slumber to find his world wracked by The Calamity and quickly scampers off to the Bastion - a sanctuary where he hopes to find fellow survivors.

Upon arrival, it’s clear that even this safe haven has been compromised and under the tutelage of an elderly sage, The Kid sets off to restore the Bastion to its former glory.

But Bastion's twist comes from the way the plot unfolds, with the sage narrating every move The Kid makes, while his gravely voice also fleshes out the game’s over-arching story.

It’s a clever quirk that drives the player onwards and it’s a genuine treat to hear his comments as The Kid smites a pack of enemies or discovers a long-forgotten memento from the past.

But despite its interesting delivery, Bastion can be a trudge in places. The hack and slash nature of the gameplay results in repetitive chapters of action - despite the game’s best efforts to regularly dish out new weapons, upgrades and skills.

It’s true that mixing and matching weapon load-outs is beneficial for taking out certain enemies, but it’s all very straightforward and Bastion really doesn’t pack much of a challenge despite some magnificent looking bosses.

But despite the flaws, it’s always interesting to see the Bastion spring to life though building upgrades, while the inclusion of optional arena challenges and a New Game + are welcome addictions.

But it’s hard to shake the feeling that Bastion is a case of style over substance - with the core gameplay never quite matching the beautiful visuals or slick presentation.

A worthwhile purchase, then, but be aware that Bastion isn’t always what it seems.

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