Bastion Game Review

Video games are such a wonderful thing. They’re honest collaborations of art in the forms of writing, graphics and audio meshed together in such a way that challenge and inspire their players. So, like any good, inspired player, I am enthused to share my (spoiler free!) opinions on video games. I have recently played various games with Loras students in hopes that they might experience the same joy video games have given me.

First, I would like to talk about “Bastion,” an action role-playing game (RPG) produced by indie developer Supergiant Games. I seriously cannot comprehend how this game managed to slip under my radar between its release in the summer of 2011 and my experience with it last weekend. The game features a sort of hack-and-slash style in isometric levels, where the player follows the white-haired, silent protagonist, who has been coined “the Kid” by the narrator.

The game begins in the fictional city of Caelondia, which was recently struck by an event known simply as “the Calamity.” Players control the Kid as he makes his way for the Bastion, where everyone agreed they would go when they came face-to-face with trouble. The story progresses as the Kid seeks out other survivors of the catastrophe as well as a way to undo the damage the Calamity has wreaked upon the land.

The story – as you will find should you ever decide to pick the game up – is packed full of wonderful twists that will make players cry and question “why?” It’s a beautiful game, despite its seeming simplicity. The graphics are fine-tuned to be unique without going over the top, giving it a very fresh aesthetic.

I cannot sing enough praise about the game’s soundtrack (pun definitely intended there). Sometimes the lulls in the background are purely ambient and other times it hits hard. The style of the Original Soundtrack is described by the composer, Darren Korb, as “acoustic frontier trip hop” and was, in fact, recorded in the closet of his New York City apartment, which makes the mesmerizing beats that much more amazing and easy to appreciate.

“Bastion” is available digitally on the Xbox Live Arcade, as well as on Windows through the Steam client. It was later released as a browser game for Google Chrome and a version is available for Mac OS X through the Mac App Store. So you have very little excuse not to play it! There are plenty of different ways to access the game and its price is very manageable at $14.99. I HIGHLY recommend giving it a go, and trust me, you’ll be singing renditions of it’s vocal tracks for weeks after you’re finished.

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