Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bastion Demo Impressions

So I guess the first 'Summer of Arcade' game officially dropped today on XBLA in the form of Bastion. What is Bastion? A pretty typical 3/4 top down action platformer with a great art style and some fun combat. Also a hilarious narrator who comments on everything you do.

I'll just say it, I was really pumped for this game. After seeing a few videos and reading early reviews I came away thoroughly impressed. I picked up a points card on my way home today with every intention of buying it. But first I decided to play through the trial just in case something didn't jibe with me, not that I was worried. Well I bet you can guess where this is going. Or can you.

Yep, you probably can. I didn't like Bastion. Now I know what you're probably saying. "Hur a dur you only like weird games and animes!" Well shut that smelly mouth of yours mister. I wanted to like Bastion. I tried so hard. I had every intention of buying it. I pedaled my bicycle to the mall and battled the troll at EB Games so I could obtain the points to purchase this game. But after playing the demo...bluh I dunno.

It's certainly not a bad game, it's just the book? You play as a silent hero called The Kid who uses a variety of shooty and slashy weapons as well as some AoE attacks and powers to kill enemies and pick up gems and potions. Everything seems to take place on a series of floating platforms, that while nice to look at, don't exactly draw you in. The story (What I actually gathered of it anyway) seems very fragmented and forgettable. When there is any amount of stuff on screen the game stutters horribly.

Despite that the combat usually works quite well, with each weapon having it's own strengths and weaknesses. You have a shield to block and you can roll out of the way. The only problem is that the game likes to throw piles of guys at you, so blocking and rolling becomes really difficult and it devolves into button mashing.

The one really unique and memorable thing about Bastion is the narrator. From the very beginning he's always speaking, providing hints, story exposition and bits of humor. He even comments on the most mundane of your actions. He reminded me a lot of Sam Elliot in The Big Lebowski. Some people are bitching about the constant narration and how it gets old after a few hours, which I can understand. I don't care though, I really have to admire the developer's Andy Kaufman level of commitment to a joke that a lot of people probably didn't find that funny to begin with.

Even so, I still don't think it's enough to keep me playing. The rest just left me sort of bored. For 800 points I'd be willing to give it a chance (Like Wakfu), but for 1200 I think it might be spent better elsewhere. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got avatar pets to buy.

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