The Games Of Christmas ’11: Day 21

Twenty-one Christmas!
Twenty one. It’s a good number. Three times seven. Less occult than 23, but more interesting than boring old 20. Right next to handsome 22. (They’re getting married.) It is the perfect number, therefore, to introduce our twenty first game of Christmas. Can you guess what it is?

It’s… Bastion!

Jim: I first played this at the IGF in March. I sat with headphones on in the thronging main hall, at the crowded indie stand, and was swept away. SuperGiant knew, of course, to provide a big pair of noise-cancelling headphones that they insisted anyone who sat down at the booth put on. If you’ve played Bastion then you know why they had to do that, too. But it’s not actually a one-trick pony. The game is a tightly woven set of epic game design garments. When playing it you are subject to bonuses to aesthetic appreciation, skill-based game mastery, and to appreciating exploration of a fictional world. Despite being based roughly on the Diablo “kill and loot everything” template, Bastion is a game that possesses every aspect of its own design from the combat through to the meticulously crafted levels. The painterly isometric world, the enemies who are cute but still despicable enough to despatch in their hundreds, the weird fiction of the disintegrated, collapsing, floating archipelago-city that you find yourself in: it all feels like healthy craftsmanship. Not original, perhaps, not an invention, but something that has been carved from the existing materials of game in the most satisfying shape and texture. It is a mystery, and yet immediately at hand. You know what to do from the first moments: the hammer smashes through the barricade, smashes through your enemies. You get it, right from the start, and the careful guidance you receive as you progress and begin to piece the hub of the game back together, is so gentle as to let you feel like you already know what you were doing.

Bastion was not quite like anything that had gone before it, while at the same time being enough like lots of other things to sit in a sort of tea and biscuits cosy area of comfort and familiarity. It was rich and just about deep enough to keep on going to the end. And I am glad it did. And I am glad it exists.

Alec: One of three games that I’ll most fondly remember from 2011 (another being The Binding of Isaac, and the third TBC ooh exciting etc blah), Bastion was something I wandered into an idle moment, looking for a laptop-friendly distraction, and then played through in just two unblinking sittings. Given how esoteric Bastion is in so many ways, it’s an incredibly immediate game: one of those designs that seems like it’s always existed, even though it was the first to do it quite like this.

It’s a game made up of an immense understanding of games and the people who play them: from the JRPG-tinged graphics to the more, more, better and more upgrade and collection sub-game to the pretty-voiced, geek-heartbreaking sad song to the overtly digital pixel-rebuilding of the world, Bastion is oh-so-knowing. But, crucially, it’s never smug with it. It sidesteps any arch post-modernism in favour of creating an atmosphere all its own, built from staple dramatic memes artfully deployed.

The silent, tortured hero; the pure of heart and resolute of purpose heroine; the gravel-voiced narrator with a secret; the magic doohickey that can solve everything, the twin journeys of adventure and understanding. All familiar elements, but combined with the help of music and mystery and hope in the face of ruin to create a tale that feels absolutely yours. I felt sorrow, I felt wonder, I felt the constant low hum of desire for a better weapon and I felt still-ongoing obsession with the soundtrack.

Sure, I do feel a little like I’m being gamed, that the writer (and especially the musicians) know exactly how to push my buttons of compulsion and fascination and heartache, but you know what? I don’t mind that Bastion might be exploiting me, and others like me. I am not a beautiful and unique snowflake and as such I can be very easily categorised, but I will take a game that aims for that category specifically over a game that aims at the most generic concept of player – i.e. guns and ranking systems and cutscenes – any day.

John: Everything [guitar strum] gone.

Kid plays the game for a really long time to review it, but doesn’t reach the end. He has an amazing time, loving every moment. Then he wants his wife to see the beginning of the game, to play it from the start. But the kid’s stupid, thinks if he saves he’ll be able to return to that position within the same profile. Doesn’t even notice the option for other profiles, figures it’s the only option he has.

Whole world falls apart.

Kid only discovers the profile options after. Find his whole progress gone. The calamity.

He finds himself unable to return straight away, too many other things happening to replay so many hours. Time goes by, and the game’s still unplayed.

Kid just rages for a while.

Christmas is coming. [beaty music] There’s time off. Kid plans to play it to the end then, hoping to get his wife to join in, to finally play a computer game. He isn’t optimistic, but there’s always hope.

[haunting steel guitar]


  1. gganate says:

    The only indie game listed on the Christmas list that looks like I might actually like it.

    • John Walker says:

      Not liking To The Moon is a capital offence.

    • Synesthesia says:

      What a calamity.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      But Mr. Walker he said game, not ungame.

    • westyfield says:

      Serious Sam 3? Orcs Must Die?

    • ThTa says:

      If it’s worth anything, it is my personal GOTY; possibly game of the last several years. Beating To The Moon and DX:HR in the process.
      It rekindled my love for the videogame industry, and gave me hope for the future. To me, it’s to videogames what Pixar was to animation. Strikingly mature, yet accessible, it’s a game I can honestly recommend to anyone, regardless of age or experience.

    • Tams80 says:

      @ Tyrone Slothrop.

      I don’t recall him calling it an ungame.

    • ThTa says:

      As to continue my comparison, a response to Alec’s last bit:
      link to

    • Meat Circus says:

      Of all this year’s GOATEEs, this is the one I found most haunting.

      Yeah, haunting. That’s what I said. Gets inside your head and then does lovely things to the contents.

    • Gap Gen says:

      It’s not technically an indie game, being published by Warner, surely? But still, one of my favourite games of the year. The ending is sublime.

    • ThTa says:

      It’s still an indie game in the sense that any funding, development, production, marketing and QA was their own. They only ever signed up with WB in order to get on XBLA rather than XBLIG, since the latter has horrible sales.

      P.S. I tried to find one of Kasavin’s forum posts on the matter, but here’s a PCG article instead:
      link to

  2. Matt says:

    John wins for that last section.

    I’ve played a lot of indie games this year (by my standards, of course, which are probably poor by the lofty standards of the hivemind) and Bastion was definately my favorite. I just got transported by the style of it, just the simple pleasure of being the world.

  3. rocketman71 says:

    A deserving choice.

    Still missing SpaceChem, though.

  4. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    This game had nice story and excellent presentation, really stylish.

    Gameplay was a bit dull, and therefore it’s right not to be considered the game of the year, but it still was a really unique experience.

    • Vander says:

      Yeah, felt the same. The gameplay was not great IMO, and i would probably not have finished if it was just that, but the nice graphics, story, and awesome narator (Logan Cunningham is brilliant, he should be hired by others games studios) make me love this game. Damn, others games i played this year were better, but its a game that in a few year i will still remember fondly.

  5. Morph says:

    Well it’s game of the year for me. I found it absolutely compelling and beautifully designed.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Game of the year for me too. Skyrim and Portal 2 jostling neck and neck for second place.

  6. Juan Carlo says:

    Up and coming indie developers take note!

    Mediocre approximation of gameplay from a retro genre + gimmick = super success. This formula has worked countless times before and it wil work for you too.

    So if you are bad at things like interesting gameplay, fluid animations, etc, etc, never fear, just add a cheap voice over gimmick to your game and it will be hailed as the second coming of (video game) Jesus!


    (snarkiness aside, though, “Bastion” has my vote for the most overrated game of the year. Strip it of its voice over gimmick and it’s nothing more than a cheap, “Spiral Knights”-esque, web browser game)

    • ThTa says:

      I cannot grasp why people insist on calling it a gimmick, it’s only a gimmick in the same way sound in movies is a gimmick. It’s a unique way of conveying the story, and one that’s executed tremendously well at that. It’s not just something they threw on as an afterthought. And reducing it to its gameplay alone is somewhat silly, isn’t it? You could reduce literally any game to “oh, it’s just another [genre-trope]” that way, completely ignoring story, pacing, aesthetic and atmosphere.

      (Am I right to assume you gained/validated your critical opinion through Jim Sterling’s blabbering on Destructoid?)

    • Craig Stern says:

      A game doesn’t have to be revolutionary to be good; it just has to do what it does really, really well.

    • mickygor says:

      ThTa, perhaps another perspective to look at is why a gimmick is such a bad thing in the gaming world. Gimmick means a selling point, and the narration is definitely a selling point for Bastion (though the art style is what sold it for me initially). Why is it so bad for a game to have gimmicks?

    • Wulf says:

      Bah, can’t be bothered to run this through the word-splitter to fool the none-too-bright spambot, instead I’ll just provide my reply to this this way:

      link to

    • Morph says:

      So take away the thing that makes it great and it’s not great. Well, yeah, obviously. But if the ‘gimmick’ is making a brilliant game then all hail the gimmick.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Wulf can has guest column? That was one of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen in comments yet.

    • ThTa says:

      Terrific comment, Wulf. Much better than I could’ve worded it.

      Also, mickygor: “Gimmick means a selling point”
      I honestly did not know this. I’m not even joking; English isn’t my first language, so I deduced its meaning to be some sort of meaningless addition to draw people away from otherwise poor elements, judging by its use on the internet and criticism in general.
      So, thanks for educating me, I guess. He.

    • mickygor says:

      At the rate we’re going, gimmick could quite rapidly come to mean what you deduced it to mean. Particularly with current antipathy to capitalism.

    • Urthman says:

      Oh man, Wulf. Now I want to play a game like Skyrim with a narrator/companion like Bastion SO BAD.

      Is Dragon Age at all like that? I’m not a fan of Bioware’s writing in general, but people say that game has pretty good contextual comments from companions.

    • Jad says:

      If there was absolutely no narration in Bastion, I would still love it. For me the narration was a nice bonus, the meat was the absolutely gorgeous art style and the brilliant soundtrack.

      Take out the graphics and the sound and I would probably still enjoy it, as the combat was entertaining enough, and the varied and balanced weapon and ability progression was well done, although I would not like it as much.

      Of course, there’s a ton of games that would become less fun with mediocre graphics and sound, I don’t think those can be considered “gimmicks” in any way.

      (Also, am I misunderstanding you, or are you complaining about Bastion’s animations? Because the animation is quite fluid and quite good. Maybe nothing mind-blowing, but I can’t understand how anyone could find particular fault with them.)

    • Lambchops says:

      @ Urthman

      “Is Dragon Age at all like that? I’m not a fan of Bioware’s writing in general, but people say that game has pretty good contextual comments from companions.

      They have a pretty decent stab at it in my opinion. The vast majority of it is inter character “banter” rather than comments on the environment (although if I recall correctly there was a little of this too). Some of it’s a bit cringy other bits are excellently done and can be quite funny. I particularly liked it when a character you wouldn’t have expected to began teasing one of the other characters about their relationship with the player.

    • InternetBatman says:

      What retro genre was it approximating? It was an ARPG, they’ve come out every year since Diablo. The narrator wasn’t that great, but the art was, gameplay was fun for what it was, and story was good enough. Seriously, it was a cheap little game that stands up well to its peers.

    • scoopsy says:

      Wow. In my Advent Calendar of RPS comments, Wulf is definitely a thing.

      (all the others are Tei)

    • New Player says:

      I don’t know what you people`s problem is. The gameplay is definitely a potential weakness and others have said the same. I’m also interested in what way the game might be worthwile apart from its voice-over.

      The same as with Minecraft. Nobody can say what’s good about it. They just turn quiet once they said it’s great and that they’ve spent a lot of time in it. It’s just a “hop-around-MSPaint-simulator”. It’s obviously a waste of time, and yet people complain when you dare to ask for some better argument.

      But Bastion is still above this as I might just believe it has “soul”.

  7. povu says:

    The graphics, the story presentation, THE SOUNDTRACK. Amazing game.

    Going to replay soon and try that free DLC.

  8. Drake Sigar says:

    I don’t recall anyone being able to speak positively about Bastion in the forums without being jumped. Let’s see how you do!

    • Wulf says:

      Really? Huh. I suppose it’s because I wasn’t browsing the forums much at the time, but most of what I’ve seen about Bastion has been positive around RPS.

      And I know I like it.

      Hrmn. Oh well.

  9. Lambchops says:

    I can’t bring myself to buy Bastion. You see I’m afraid i just wont like it and that I’ll not like myself for not liking it.

    The art looks lovely, the concept of the narrator sounds like one I’d love, I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack.

    Then I hear the word Diablo. I hated the demo of Diablo as a kid. After the praise for Torchlight last year I thought I’d reappraise the genre through what sounded like a much more charming background and after all tastes hange ofter time. I didn’t like it. Which is an improvement on hate certainly but not enough.

    So one year later there’s Bastion, it looks like something I’d want to love but I’m not sure whether I’m capable of it. So should I buy thiis game? Convince me one way or the other RPS folks!

    • Faldrath says:

      You know there’s a demo on Steam, right?

    • thegooseking says:

      I bought it on XBLA at first, but got bored of it quickly.

      I, as you are afraid of, didn’t like myself for not liking it, though, so I picked it up in a Steam sale and loved it a lot more second time around, though I’m not entirely sure why.

      I don’t know whether that translates into a recommendation to buy, a recommendation not to buy, or a recommendation to buy it twice…

    • Cooper says:

      No pissing around with inventories that you get in Diablo like games. The action-RPG mechanics are just that, mechanics that you can take as seriously or not as you like. I hated the number clicking of Diablo and Torchlight. Here you can just get ahead and play the damned thing, which I appreciated.

      And it’s the -perfect- length. About 8-10 hours from start to end (which includes some time messing around in the side bits). So none of that god awful long slog that these games are often like.

      I’m not a fan of action-rpgs or diablo-likes. Hence it took me a while before I decided to get this. I am so glad I did. It’s been the only game that I’ve played from start to end in a handful of sittings whilst touching no game inbetween those sittings all year.

      And when it was done, I was sated. Not wanting more, not having had to much. It’s just so incredibly well judged.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Yes, do try the demo. It was that cutesypoo anime art style on the Steam store that absolutely turned me off of the game, but for whatever reason I decided to give the demo a try.

      There are incredibly few games out there where I’ll try the demo and immediately buy the game at full price. Bastion is one of those games.

      Don’t read about this game. Just try the demo.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I’ve never been a huge fan of Diablo or Diablo clones either, and given that “Bastion” is basically a lesser Diablo clone (i.e. as a Diablo clone it’s not very great), if you don’t like Diablo I say don’t bother with it.

      I will admit that its voice over gimmick is kind of clever for the first half hour or so, but once the novelty of it wears off all you are left with is the gameplay–which is really nothing great. In terms of gameplay, if you want a solid Diablo clone get “Torchlight.” If you want a Diablo clone that does something new and interesting with the formula get “Depths of Peril” or “Din’s Curse.” But unless you are really impressed by the idea of a voice over narrating all of your actions, I don’t think “Bastion” is really necessary.

    • psyk says:

      I was going to buy that movie ticket but I was afriad i wasen’t going to like it pfffft ;p

    • DPB says:

      I didn’t think Bastion was that much like Diablo. Played with a controller, it felt much more like old console action/adventures like Secret of Mana and Zelda, minus the puzzles. I must be alone in liking it for the gameplay and not just the story and narration. I especially liked how each weapon felt completely different, rather than just Sword +1, +2 etc. Plus, it was great being able to fine tune every aspect of the difficulty to your own liking.

    • Lambchops says:

      Thank you very much for your thoughts folks.

      I don’t know quite what made me assume there’d be no demo! Silly Lamb! I’ll definitely give it a try later today.

    • neutralstate says:

      i’d like to chip in and say that Bastion’s really quite far away from Diablo in terms of the action mechanics. Its not really fair to say that its a pale imitation of Diablo, because imo its not even trying to imitate Diablo. I played this with a controller and there was alot more dodging and reflexes involved, its alot more arcade-y, whereas for me Diablo was all about click click click click click to kill endless waves of enemies. Considering all the rolling about I was doing to dodge attacks, it felt more like a 2D Batman Arkham Asylum than Diablo to me.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, the Diablo correlations aren’t right. There’s none of that ‘phat loot’ in this, really.

      It’s more Secret of Mana than it is Diablo.

      (And that’s praise. I liked Secret of Mana more than I did Diablo. Take that as you will.)

    • MikoSquiz says:

      It’s more unlike Diablo than HL2 is unlike CoD, if that helps.

      And, really, it’s worth the money just for that bit with the song.

    • Lambchops says:

      Played the demo and it’ll probably be one of my only purchases of the Steam sale.

      The gameplay seems enjoyable enough and it seems like there’s oh so much more to it than clicking on things to get more stuff with higher numbers. So yeah, good call RPS Hivemind and commenters, this is the sort of thing these lists are for encouraging poeple to get games they may otherwise have assume weren’t for them and finding something else to enjoy.


    • Jad says:

      Diablo? Just because it’s isometric-y and not X-Com, it must be Diablo?

      Diablo is an RPG out of the old turn-based Rogue school that’s been turned real-time and simplified. Major focus on loot collection with a giant assortment of items that randomly drops off of enemies. In-depth skill trees, and character attribute stat sheets. Procedurally generated worlds and inventory management. Click on an enemy and your character whacks on it until it dies.

      Bastion is an action game with a focus on melee combat, like Batman or God of War or Secret of Mana or Double Dragon, etc. No real inventory, at least no more than, say, Half-Life. A couple of varied, balanced weapons that are doled out at specific times during the game (like Half-Life!). Hand-crafted levels. A little bit of unlocking and upgrading of skills, but no more than recent Call of Duties. A hub world, like Mario Galaxy. Rolling and dodging of attacks, slashing away at lots of enemies, minor amounts of comboing, like Zelda or any number of other action-melee games.

      Bastion is not a Diablo clone.

  10. djbriandamage says:

    The kid can’t help but read John’s section in the narrator’s gravelly whiskeynerd voice.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      This dude done the same. I mean, KID. This kid done the same

      (I get confused with the Big Lebowski narrator)

    • Saldek says:

      The dude can’t help but read “John’s section” in a gravelly whiskeynerd voice he calls “The Narrator’s”. Doesn’t understand “The Narrator” is a meta-concept he can’t know about.

      Whole worlds fall apart.

      Dude only discovers the breach after. Finds his whole life gone.

      The calamity.

      Suspicions arise. Dude plays along for a really long time, to diffuse them, but doesn’t end the breach. Wants to see an end to the beginning of the blame game.

      Dude just rages for a while.

      Dude returns to the breach. He has a timing-maze, evolving every moment. Then he wants to see his wife before the beginning of the blame, to replay it from the start. But the dude’s stupid, thinks if he returns to that position within the same time-line he’ll be able to save “all-that-is-mine”. Doesn’t even notice the option for other time-lines, figures it’s the only life-line he has.

      So many hours of replay, too many other things happening. He finds himself unable to turn away. Time goes by, and the same’s still unplayed.

      Dude just ages for a while.

      Schism is coming – there’s time!
      Dude plans to replay it to the end then, hoping to get his wife to join him, to finally replay a day the same. He isn’t optimistic, but there’s always hope.

      Dude plans to replay it to the end then, hoping to get his wife to join him, to finally replay a day the same. He is optimistic, there’s always hope.

      Dragon breaks for a while.

      But there will always have been hope.

  11. LTK says:

    I dig my hole, you build a wall…

  12. Buttless Boy says:

    I really didn’t like the demo, I hated the narrator and thought the controls were awful (I remember reading that they fixed the controls), but it’s a damn pretty game and I suppose I can see why someone would like it if they had a high tolerance for cliche. It seems weird that the excellent writers of RPS would be so enamored with terrible writing, though.

    • AmateurScience says:

      RPS writers and Buttless Boy in difference of opinion shock! More details inside…

      But seriously, wouldn’t it be weirder if your opinions were identical all the time? And indeed, wouldn’t RPS be worse if all of those excellent writers agreed all the time?

    • Wulf says:

      It’s not objectively bad writing though, and I can tell you that for a fact. It’s just writing that you didn’t like and take to for whatever reason, subjectively. That’s fine.

      Bastion isn’t going to be for everyone.

      It was never meant to be.

      Kid’s eyes open up a bit, sees the world for the first time. Realises there’s more’n one way of lookin’ at things.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      Maybe it’s because I come from a place where people actually talk the way the narrator’s trying to, and it makes the whole thing seem incredibly condescending. I can’t think of a good analogy for British types since I’m, well, not British; but it may be like watching Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

      But no, of course it’s not objectively terrible. In my opinion it’s the second worst writing of any game I’ve played this year (Skyrim comes first, naturally), but that’s only my opinion.

    • Mark Schaal says:

      I enjoyed the game but the storytelling….I don’t get the praise. It was a story of genocide where you are on the evil side, and I just don’t think the writing does anything close to a good job of making you feel that. Plus the cognitive dissonance between the incredibly dark story and the colorful cheery graphics seemed very weird.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    This is a rare case of outstanding graphics and audio genuinely adding greatly to the final product. Its use of sound in particular is extraordinary and hopefully will inspire others.

    So yeah, it’s a great game. I didn’t make it to the end, owing to the crazy jump in difficulty about halfway through which I never found the patience to grind past, but still… easily one of my games of the year.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I agree with this completely, although I will say that the jump in difficulty just means you need to change weapons and stick to upgrading two or three. The Mortar, Crossbow, and Shotgun actually make the game easier than the beginning when fully upgraded.

  14. fauxC says:

    This one is my GotY. The most touching and beautiful game I’ve played this year.

    (n.b. I’m saving To The Moon for post-Christmas)

  15. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Oh, and if we’re still guessing what will make the last three days:

    Certainly: Skyrim, Bastion
    Possibly: Frozen Synapse, Human Revolution, Magicka, SpaceChem, Trine 2
    If the planets align: The Stanley Parable, Gemini Rue, Rock Of Ages, Limbo

    • Wizlah says:

      did the sums in me head today. since skyrim and human revolution are almost certain to be there, I feel disappointed that frozen synapse won’t make it. I’m presuming spacechem will beat it out. Shame. I would have traded the lego game for frozen synapse.

      Ho hum.

    • d00d3n says:

      It would be utterly ridiculous if Human Revolution did not make the list. I can imagine the theoretical possibility of snubbing Skyrim with reference to its few original ideas, its focus on quantity of quality and supplementary information such as the state of the pc port, bad animation and so on (I would include it, though).
      Human Revolution is a landmark release which seems to disprove the widely held belief that the immersive sim can not coexist with satisfying core gameplay. The economical and critical success of the game has huge implications for the future of the games industry, which may now start to develop the future AAA immersive sim games that we all know will be needed to seal the role of video games as one of the main pillars of culture.

    • Wulf says:

      I’d love to see Gemini Rue in there, really. Wadjet Eye could really use more advertising. I’ve loved the heck out of every single game they’ve developed, and I do own them all. I’m eagerly awaiting whatever they’ve got on the way, next.

      I honestly have to say that Blackwell: Deception was really, really great too. Really great. And that I’ve seen that mentioned so rarely saddens me. It might not have been Gemini Rue levels of great, but it was pretty close, and I loved the whole conspiracy-laden angle of it.

      But yeah, they could really use more eyes on their products.

    • Urthman says:

      Magicka really deserves to be in this list. It’s so much more innovative, original, and interesting. It’s not a perfect game, but when it’s fun, it’s a different kind of fun than we usually get.

  16. Zankmam says:


    Now just do Magicka.
    Do it.

  17. Blackcompany says:

    If you at all enjoy Action RPG’s, or a good story, or good music or excellent narrative in a game, you owe it to yourself to play Bastion.
    This is easily one of the most atmospheric games I have ever played. Top notch voice work; appealing art style and fun, deep combat. Lots of weapons, potions and upgrades to let you play your version of the Kid, the way you want to play it. A Warhammer-toting Gunslinger? Swordsman with a Rifle? Its there.
    Play this game. Enjoy this tale. I truly do not think you will regret it.

  18. Meat Circus says:

    I dig a hole, you build a wall.

  19. sarge5160 says:

    Awesome, thoroughly enjoyed this game. Hooked from “Kid just raged for awhile.”

    • udat says:

      I’m with Sarge. I really liked Bastion, and I purchased it the moment I hit the end of the demo. “Kid just rages for a while” was a stand-out moment for me too.

  20. Gaytard Fondue says:

    I must be a truly awful person for not liking the game nor the soundtrack.

  21. Navagon says:

    Bastion is a wonderful game. Good choice!

  22. Keirley says:

    I really, really didn’t get this game. I played it all the way through twice hoping for it to click for me, but it never did click. The music is fantastic, clearly, and though I personally don’t think they do anything particularly inventive with the voice-over narration I think that WAS a nice touch. The story, as well, impressed me, but I don’t think it added up to much overall.

    The combat mechanics were petty lacklustre, and none of the enemies were particularly interesting to fight. Sure, you had to switch up your tactics every so often, but most of the time I felt like I was going through the motions to get to the next bit of story (and I did try to use all the different weapons and skills as much as I could). I kind of feel like they had some really interesting ideas regarding the story, the music, and the overall presentation, but they weren’t brave enough to make a game around them without relying on some standard kind of game mechanics. I love it when a game makes its mechanics (what you actually do as the player) fit into the story and presentation, but Bastion really just gave you something to occupy your thumbs while you appreciated the story and the presentation.

    I didn’t hate it by any means, but I’m just massively confused by all the effusive praise it’s been getting.

  23. mrpier says:

    I bought it for the soundtrack, but stayed for its charm.

  24. Prime says:

    Enjoyable enough, but a touch over-rated I thought. The vocals are great, the game plays well, but I can’t say I can even recall the music. This happens on RPS from time to time – games get put on pedestals then turn out to be a bit of a let-down a la Kings Bounty or Spelunky.

    • fauxC says:

      “This happens on RPS from time to time – people have a different opinion to me.”

      lol inorite!

    • Prime says:

      If it were simply ‘people having different opinions from me’ do you really think I’d have commented? To my mind there’s an observable, significant phenomenon occurring.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      It’s called “you have bad taste in games”.

  25. Fiwer says:

    Aesthetically the game is very nice, but the gameplay is barely there at all. There were way too many great games this year to waste a spot on this.

    • Wulf says:

      At the same time, we shouldn’t praise gameplay mechanics as the only important element of a game, or sometimes even not the most important. Gameplay just brings interactivity, and sometimes it can step aside to other elements – like an interactive story.

      I thought it was worth a slot, but it’s just going to be one of those games where your mileage will vary. Like every game ever, I suppose. Games, some of them you get, some of them you don’t. Applies to everyone.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Except many people thought the gameplay was quite good. Or at the very, very least, good enough as part of the larger whole.

      And, man, that whole was astonishing.

  26. Chard6 says:

    huge fan of the game and the creators, really nice review too :)
    this game is definitely worth a slot for any fan of Action RPGs like Diablo, i went out of my way to pick this game up and played it through twice, other triple A titles like assassins creed, batman and gears of war just slid by the wayside this year.

  27. 89thIncarnation says:

    The Kid now hears the Narrator’s voice everywhere, echoing inside his head. It’s beautiful.

    Also, sorry for your loss.

  28. InternetBatman says:

    Its really silly, but I was kind of annoyed when they updated the game because I had beaten it 100%. But I’m ridiculous.

  29. Vartarok says:

    I don’t know if it has been said already but I’d like to bring some light on the topic of which genre this Bastion belongs to. People tend to compare it to Diablo, but as some people have replied here, that comparison is not good because is action what predominates here. Well, what I’d say is Bastion is a great unofficial sequel to the Secret Of Mana saga from Squaresoft-Squareshitenix and I think that’s the true inspiration behind this Bastion here: action-RPG with the RPG brought to the bare minimum, color and joyful designs, isometric view, etc. etc.

  30. Apples says:

    This game was like the equivalent of those Japanese digital novels (or whatever they’re called) to me. Repetitive clicking while somebody reads a story to you – that’s good integration between narrative and gameplay, is it? That’s a primary example of how to use the medium well? I think it can be praised for its integration of narrative and audio more than narrative and gameplay.

  31. juliya says:

    see 8 Former child stars in kids plays that stuck with their child faces link to