Video Game Thoughts: Bastion

Bastion was a 2010 action role-playing game by Supergiant Games that I played on the PC. I played this game well after its release, but it was still a great game. Most people call action role-playing games “click fests” because they usually involve mindless killing just to increase the character’s stats by a few points. Bastion changed all that. Monsters still gave money that the player could use to upgrade their equipment, but now each level gave a unique weapon or special ability for the player to use. These were not just a few points of stat increases, these items opened up all new ways to play the game. On later playthroughs of the game the player could use different items for a very different experience.

Another great innovation in this game was the narration. Pretty much anything the player did featured some form of narration. Like the Trine games, the game was supposedly a retelling of an ancient story, with the player getting to play out many parts of the story. Trine mostly only had narration between the levels, but Bastion had narration throughout. If the player’s character got killed, the narrator would say something to explain it. If they used one weapon instead of another, the narrator had something to say about it. It really made it feel like it was my story. It wasn’t just a pre-baked story that millions of others have seen. This was my own story based on the choices I made.

Lastly, I like that Greg Kasavin helped make this game. He used to be the site director at GameSpot. As a kid in the 1990s and early 2000s, I loved GameSpot. It was the one website I visited every day to see the latest gaming news. I always remember the awkward reviews Greg Kasavin did. He wasn’t the best in front of a camera but at least he tried. More importantly, I liked how he made it to his dreams. He had wanted to get into making games instead of just writing about them for years. He just hadn’t got his big break yet. Well, he finally did it with Bastion. I know he helped with some other games at EA, but Bastion was the first game he could call his own. It’s always nice to see someone work their way up.

I guess the only bad thing about this game is its length. It’s pretty common with all indie games. They are able to come up innovative gameplay, but they never have the budget to make a huge, expansive game. When the game ended, it was over too fast. I wanted more. It’s too bad they never made an expansion pack for the game. The game had a nice New Game Plus mode and a Score Attack mode, but it was the same content repeated again with just a few game rules tweaked. I would have liked a full expansion with 10 more levels or so.

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