Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bastion - 2/20 hours

Two hours in and I feel like I don't have enough to say to justify a full post. That is not, however, a criticism. Rather, it is a reflection of the fact that I've played Bastion for two hours, and yet it feels as if barely any time has passed. That's usually the mark of a game that has serious legs.

It also doesn't help that, so far, Bastion appears to have just the barest whisp of a plot. Some time ago, something bad happened ("The Calamity") and now the various floating sky places are falling apart and infested by monsters. My character ("The Kid") is going around collecting doodads and rounding up survivors to rebuild the one good place left (Bastion). You know, pretty boilerplate rpg stuff (you may recognize it as virtually the exact same plot as the game Soul Blazer).

Still, execution counts for a lot, and Bastion features an incredible storytelling invention in the form of its narrator. The closest thing that springs to mind is the xbox version of The Bard's Tale, but I'm straining my brain to remember whether that narrator was dynamic or just an important part of the story. Still, even if Bastion's narration is not the first of its kind, it's still very good. Doing something in the game, and then hearing it described in third person by this deep, smooth, and serious voice is an absolute delight, especially when it's clear that what you're hearing is not part of the "real" story and instead triggered by some optional or random action (when I wandered around smashing boxes, the narrator said, "and the Kid just raged for a bit," and it made me grin like a maniac.)

I still haven't figured out how the narration works, or what sort of things trigger it, but I'm really looking forward to finding out.

(Oh yeah, the actual gameplay is pretty good too - solid action rpg combat with a good diversity in weapon choices and special abilities).

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