Sunday, September 30

Review: Bastion [Nintendo Switch eShop]


It’s a funny thing to return to games that previously made an impression on you after a number of years to see if they’ve withstood the test of time. Whether the visuals have aged poorly, mechanics have advanced pretty significantly since that time, or even simple tastes have shifted there are many elements that once worked but may not hold up well now. In the case of Bastion, one of the earlier indie titles I played on PC that left a major impression on me, I’m incredibly happy to say that it remains as impressive and thoroughly enjoyable as it was when I first played it, except now I can play it wherever I like with the Switch.


As one of the few survivors of the end of the world, called the Calamity, you’re a young warrior who is trying to do what he can to restore some semblance of normalcy and unite other survivors. With an area called the Bastion acting as a hub you’ll slowly begin to rebuild things as you complete levels and collect cores. The buildings you’re able to restore will then act as a means for upgrades, changing out your equipment, and other typical functions. Gameplay is fluid and offers up quite a lot of variety as you acquire new weapons, abilities, and upgrades. You’re able to combine any two weapons with a special attack in any configuration you like, allowing you to play melee-heavy, fully ranged, or with a mix of styles. This helps encourage multiple playthroughs as each combination gives the combat a very different feel and the Game+ mode ramps up the challenge quite a bit.


In terms of what makes the game so memorable the focus is typically on the Narrator, who’ll almost continuously describe the action and lore as you move through the game. While other games since then have played with this feature (when will we get The Stanley Parable on Switch BTW?) in different ways the way it’s implemented in Bastion remains surprisingly clever even today and enhances the game experience quite a bit. Of course the game’s visuals remain just as impressive today as ever with their very artistic qualities and small details that abound.


If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing Bastion you can ignore its age and be assured that it is as relevant and excellent an indie title as it ever was. Where some other indie darlings haven’t managed to age well over the years if anything returning to it now I may be more impressed with it because it is still truly impressive and engaging from start to finish. If you’ve been itching to get your action RPG on there are few titles that deliver an experience that’s better on any platform.


Score: 9

Pros:
  • A variety of weapons and potential combinations of configurations allow you to cater combat to your own personal style
  • Just the right mix of fun and challenge, with Game+ offered if you want to ramp things up
  • The narrator remains as dynamic and fabulously designed as ever

Cons:
  • People looking for an immediate challenge will be a bit let down
  • Still the same game that was released a number of years ago, with nothing new if you may have played it before