How does the Xbox One version of Bastion hold up to the original release back in 2011? Check out our review of Bastion for the Xbox One.
Bastion Review (Xbox One)
A little over 5 years ago, in the summer of 2011, the indie darling Bastion was released on Xbox Live Arcade to wide critical and consumer appraise. The game would go on to sell nearly 4 million units and help pave the way for SuperGiant Games to create more indie titles such as Transistor and the upcoming Pyre. When Bastion was first released in 2011 it was praised for its unique art style, great soundtrack, and clever take on combat. Bastion is an action role playing game that has the player take control of Kid, the silent protagonist, as he investigates the calamity and explores varying themed floating islands. Now with the release of the Xbox One version people who missed the game in 2011 now have the chance to revisit this classic indie title.
The gameplay in Bastion is fantastic. The game plays like an action role playing game with a heavy emphasis on action and reaction. The controls and fluidity in the gameplay make for a fun experience and some of the enemies provide serious challenge especially when in large groups. The level design is also fantastic, the various locales visited all have different themes and each map was fun and provided its own unique challenges. One compliant I did have with a few of the levels was the isometric camera angle. Because of the camera angle I found myself constantly falling of the map due to some of the unforeseen ledges. This never really became too much of a problem but was a small annoyance during some of the more chaotic enemy encounters. In addition to the main areas visited, the game also implements proving ground maps to test the player’s skill in timed challenges and other varying objectives. The proving ground maps were generally fun but at times felt unnecessary to the main game. There are also plenty of weapons to find and collect in Bastion. Each weapon adds its own layer to the gameplay and allows you to experiment with different combinations to suit varying gameplay styles. My personal favorite combination was the hammer and musket. Both weapons allowed for a heavier gameplay style with an emphasis on damage and crowd control. The upgrade system in Bastion is great, each weapon has its own skill tree and you can either focus on speed or damage depending on your own preferences. There are also plenty of skills to unlock for Kid and some are very useful when dealing with large amounts of enemies. The way you upgrade your skills and weapons in Bastion is by collecting fragments throughout the various levels and proving grounds. There are plenty of interesting and unique upgrades and skills to unlock so I highly recommend taking the time to collect the fragments within each level. In Bastion, you also collect cores and eventually shards which allow for Kid to build and enhance different structures such as the arsenal and distillery in the over world which is also titled the Bastion. Bastion never really became too difficult, but you do have the choice to turn on idols which makes the game progressively more difficult and allows you to gain more experience within each level. Overall the gameplay in Bastion was extremely fun. The moment to moment gameplay is great and if you enjoy fast pace action role playing games then I definitely recommend giving Bastion a chance.
Story and Characters
Bastion’s story is good and centers around the events that occur after the catastrophic calamity. The story follows Kid as he explores the fractured world and meets various other survivors of the calamity. One of my favorite aspects of Bastion was the world and atmosphere SuperGiant Games has created. The way the game juxtaposes fantasy themes, western themes, and some steam punk esque elements was great and created an atmosphere uniquely its own. One of the main characters Kid meets in Bastion is Rucks, Rucks is a very interesting character who also happens to provide the main narration in the game. The narration of the game was great and sometimes very funny depending on your current actions. There were also some heavier themes presented in Bastion, particularly how everyone ultimately turned to ash after the calamity. The way the game handles humor and environmental storytelling is fantastic and seamlessly blends the two into a compelling narrative. The story and characters in Bastion are great each one has their own unique story and backstory and it was interesting learning how they happened to survive the events of the calamity. Sometimes it’s great to play smaller indie games because they tend to have a more focused concise story and objective. Bastion definitely fit into that category and overall was a great pallet cleanser to all the AAA games being released this fall.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics and art direction in Bastion are just as beautiful as the original release in 2011. The only difference in the Xbox One version and the Xbox 360 version is the resolution. The Xbox One version of Bastion runs at 1080p as opposed to the original 720p. The art style in Bastion is great, the cel shaded hand drawn art lends well to the longevity of the game and in my opinion will stand up to the test of time. The music in Bastion is arguably one of the games strongest features. The game supports some great music and some of the songs and level themes make an already great experience even better.
Bastion is a fantastic game from beginning to end. You can tell that SuperGiant Games really cares about providing a great experience for their fans and if you enjoy other games in their catalog such as Transistor then I highly recommend picking up and playing Bastion. The music and art direction in Bastion are both great, but it’s the enjoyable gameplay that makes this game so addictive and fun. Now that the Xbox one version has been released you no longer have an excuse not to play this indie classic.