Retrospective – Bastion

Feature

Retrospective – Bastion
Storied
[Editor's Note - For atmospheric effect, I am totally putting on an accent. I am not, however, promising it'll be good]

Near release, there could be heard a murmuring, a whispered anticipation, bout a game by the namea Bastion.
Was this the little indie game that could? Could be.

Nineteen months on, Bastion done risen the ranks to Poster Boy for Indie or Arcade gaming. Agreed, aint no shortage of posters in that outfit. But Bastion’s is not a one easily mistaken.

There’s a story here. I’m going tell it.


Short version - It’s great. Real great. Powerful great.

If you’re in the mood for the unabridged account though, settle that keister...
Supergiant Games announced themselves something spectacular back in June of 2011. Showcased at Penny Arcade’s Expo nine months prior, folks expected something special.

And what they got was Bastion.


Six months pass and Supergiant shift moret’n 500,000 copies of this isometric hand drawn tapestry. December 2011 rolls up, alongside it the Google Chrome Browser Shop. Bastion feels right at home. Sales soar. Awards rain down.
But why the fuss?

Most games’re handsome. But few draw themselves ‘round you, dropping chunks of lush greenery, and neon slate right underfoot as you canter ‘bout, six-shooters circling your digits.


Plenty games holster some firepower. Hell, trick is finding one that don’t! Sure, Bastion drip feeds scatterguns and machetes, repeating pistols and warhammers, hand grenades and deflecting shields. And sure there’s little unique about that. It’s varied. It’s basic. But with fourteen weapons, a score of vitalizing tonics and ten twisted deities to contort gameplay into a mighty challenging venture, Bastion makes a solid meal of it.

How and ever, Bastion’s true beauty won’t be found through the thumbs, nor even the eyes.
Naw, you gotta listen for it.

With a soundtrack composed by one Darren Korb, tunes evoke a recollection of the frontier. Though a splash of the fantastical leaves a mark, and maybe just a whiff of the psychotropic... “Build That Wall” sung out the pipes of Ashley Barrett, even found its way to an award or two.
Hell, so did Bastion’s wider melodic metre.


Narrative’s a term ferried about some with Video Games. ‘Specially this weather. Most’ll settle for a cut-scene. Sometimes a scrolla text, of the explanatory flavour.
Supergiant had the wit to add a narrator.
Frames the narrative.
Southern drawl of Logan Cunningham sets more than the mood.
Pace and tension see a seeing-to too.

Cant step for two minutes without a line of dialogue (witty, and of three thousand) tickling yer intrigue, yer funny-bone or hurrying you along.

Bastion’s a tale ‘bout a kid, waking up in a calamity. Who’s the architect? Whassa kid’s deal? Where’re the other survivors? And why does the road literally rise to meet this kid’s footfall? You got questions. Bastion got answers.

Bastion aint no one thing. A game of role playing. A scrap of slung guns, brawl o’ blunted swords. A tapestry (said it twice, reason for it) of colour, of sound, woven about your head. Bastion aint no one thing. But if it were, it’d be a story, gently told and of a scope both epic and intimate.

Bastion ain’t a tale worth hearing.
Other types trade on that. Bastion is a video game.
Arguably, the arcade’s best.
It’s an art most interactive.
A puzzle awaiting its solution.
Bastain ain’t a tale worth hearing.


Naw.
It’s a tale worth telling.


Retrospective – Bastion on ClickOnline.com


About this author

jack@clickonline.com
Staff Reporter
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