Bastion - Game Review
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
By Onion Knight
Cost - £10.99 eStore
Bastion is not a new game, it was released in 2011 so is getting on for almost a decade old! (I have children younger than this game) so why should you consider purchasing it for the Nintendo Switch…?
For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the last 8 years and are not familiar with the game, Bastion is a 3rd person, top-down isometric action RPG that has been developed by SuperGiant Games and published by Warner Bros Interactive. The main bulk of the story states that a calamity has happened (some sort of worldly catastrophe) and you as the main character must venture forth to different areas collecting shards of crystal which, in turn, help rebuild “Bastion” which is the last surviving place of solitude.
As you progress through the environments, you will learn more about the area and what happened via the narration from a character called Rucks. This “dynamic narration” is done in real-time and is set off via trigger points, such as going into a new area, picking up an item or fighting an enemy.
There was quite a big deal made of this before the games original release and I have to say I was a little apprehensive as to how it would work, with my biggest fear being that it would be repetitive or disjointed. I am pleased to say though that the narration flows freely and is not seamless with the gameplay. It is not in the least distracting and it is entertaining to see what actions actually trigger part of the story being told. If I had one criticism, it would be that you can sometimes not wholly concentrate on the narration because you are too involved in a boss battle.
There are numerous weapons to pick up along the way, but you are limited to only carrying two of these at a time, usually one melee and one ranged, this in itself lends an air of tactical combat to the gameplay. This helps separate Bastion from standard button mashing RPG’s available on the EShop. Not only can you collect different weapons, but you can also upgrade these at the forge or swap in and out various passive abilities at the Distillery which take the form of different alcoholic cocktails. There is also a Temple to unlock which enables you to adjust certain aspects of the game’s difficulty for extra challenge and reward.
Like many action RPG’s before it, Bastion has multiple endings which add to the replay value and there is also a NEW GAME+ mode that has been added to the Nintendo Switch version. Couple this with upgrades, collectables and weapons to search for and you have a healthy dose of longevity that will keep you going for roughly 8-10hrs in an initial playthrough with a NG+ run taking an additional 5hrs or so.
It is not the most difficult game to play through, but the combat is extremely fun and very addictive, and I have found the game very hard to put down once I started playing. Another aspect of this game is the lack of grinding that is needed. This is extremely refreshing for an action RPG and helps continue to move the story forward at a decent pace without having to re-tread over old ground too much or putting the story on hold for a good hour whilst you power level in preparation for that next boss fight. Bastion is a gorgeous game to look at with its stunning hand-drawn visuals that are colourful and full of detail. The game holds up extremely well on the Switch in handheld mode as well as docked mode, with little to no frame rate drops in either. This though, you would most likely come to expect from a game that was released so long ago.
In summary, Bastion is a game that has been released on literally every platform that you can think of since its original release back in 2011. I have now owned this game on Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and now the Nintendo Switch, and I have to say that I only really delved into it with the Switch offering. It looks great on the screen undocked and being able to have the game portable (Bastion is also available on iOS and the Playstation Vita so this is not unique to the Switch) has made a huge difference as I can play on my daily commute.
Each individual area that you get to visit has a very much “pick up and play” feel to it, without being too taxing or feeling like you need to spend a huge amount of time there. Because of this, the Nintendo Switch version feels like its natural home and I would wholeheartedly recommend this game to anyone.