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Bastion review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £12
inc VAT

A ground-breaking voiceover and gorgeous graphics compliment this action-heavy romp with RPG leanings


The structure of the game is simple enough, with the titular Bastion providing a hub level – from which to strike out and find crystals to rebuild its own capabilities. Most levels contain such a crystal, but you have to battle through a range of bizarre denizens to retrieve it. To defeat them you carry two weapons, usually one long-ranged and one melee, plus you can select a single smartbomb-style special with limited uses. In addition, you also have a sturdy shield which can reflect attacks and a handy roll to dodge out of the way.

Bastion main The Anklegator erupts from the ground with little notice

In terms of pacing, Bastion sits somewhere between a combat RPG and an arcade shooter. The gameplay sounds straightforward, but is brilliantly executed. Each of the weapons, from the huge hammer to the duelling pistols, is a joy to use. You’ll find your favourites, but that won’t stop you wanting to experiment with them all.

As you upgrade the Bastion itself, you’ll be able to upgrade your weapon’s capabilities. Each upgrade level is a choice of two options, say faster reloads or higher damage. However, you can always swap all these about later, effectively refining that weapon for a different use. You’ll also unlock new specials, some linked to specific weapons, along with tonics which upgrade your own abilities.

We found that a gamepad was the best way to play. Bastion first made its appearance on Xbox Live, and using Microsoft’s gamepad will give you all the correct context sensitive button prompts. More importantly its analogue stick provides a more sure-footed way to navigate the world’s treacherous paths – something the WASD keys struggled with.

At around 10 hours long, the gameplay doesn’t overstay its welcome – though there’s a beefed up version for those who want to replay it. The plot doesn’t interfere with playing the game, yet it’s still a key element, being both intriguing and engaging. If you’re looking for something easy to get into, and simply satisfying to play, then Bastion provides that, plus a whole lot more.

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