It’s been sometime since I’ve sat down and played a simple RPG. I’ve missed the days of upgrading weapons with a dash of simple storytelling like Legends of Mana and Ogre 64. As I played through Bastion’s broken world I had that same satisfaction, but found the story was one of the most well told adventures I’ve had the joy of playing.
Bastion sets you in the city of Caelondia after a catastrophic event called the Calamity has broken up the entire city. Waking up as the Kid you soon find yourself attempting to bring the city back together by finding cores in each section of the city. As soon as you wake up you hear the voice of what sounds like a smooth jazz player narrate your every move and action. Hang out in an area too long and the Stranger will provide a quick quip about your lingering. Head down a street and he’ll cooly describe the area before it was destroyed. It does an excellent job of keeping you immersed in the story well paced so it doesn’t come off as distracting.
After you find the core in a particular area you return to an area called the Bastion. With the core in hand you’ll be able to add more facilities to the Bastion. This includes a Forgery which allows you to upgrade weapons, a Spirits bar which allows you to create potions to improve the Kids abilities and lastly a shrine to invoke gods and idols to improve your powers. There’s also an arsenal which house both your melee and ranged weapons.
You can find these upgrades in combat after taking down enemies. After collecting several shards, which are also parts of the old world, you can spend them on upgrades that are unique to each weapon. One such upgrade called serrated edge allowed my War Machete deal not only more damage but continual damage after a hit. Another allows your repeater to blast arrows in every direction. Each one is effective in what it does. No, gimmicks here.
Combat is fairly standard fair action-RPG. Press a button and you’ll swing your sword or shoot your bow. There are some evasive maneuvers and a shield to block. You’ll get more out of using the evasive roll than your shield, but blocking is still essential when dealing with ranged weapons, so it’s not a completely useless mechanic.Weapons range from a heavy hitting hammer, a repeater, a bow and even a rapid slicing machete for some quick deaths. There isn’t much depth to the fighting other simply swinging or shooting your weapon. There are a few special moves the Kid can execute, but nothing to draw you into the fight.
Bastion hits all of the hallmark points of a well told RPG story and the innovative narration keeps you involved in the story the whole way through. Though the action part of this RPG isn’t highlighted the remaining elements shine through. Exploring this broken world brought back those days of simple RPG gaming and it”s nice comfortable spot I’ve found myself in this breathtaking RPG.