The Storyteller

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I could write a book full of words on Bastion and still not convey just how cool the game is. Heck, even if I was able to sum up the experience in words, you would probably question just why I think the game is cool since, by most accounts, the game’s signature feature sounds incredibly annoying – but it isn’t!

Bastion starts out like any other Action RPG. You’re simply known as “The Kid,” and wake up one day to find the world in ruins. Your only option is to leave your home and find Bastion, which holds the key to rebuilding the world. Bastion also features a diverse weapon set, made up of hammers, bows and a giant spear. There’s also a simple, yet incredibly deep skill and upgrade system.

So what’s the big deal? I mean, how is Bastion so different from everything else out there? The answer is apparent the moment you take control of the “The Kid” and a narrator begins to narrate your every move. He doesn’t just fill in the story gaps between levels or offer story hints; he weaves a story based on your moment-to-moment actions throughout the game. Grab a skill book and he mentions that it “…contains the wisdom of the sages,” and that The Kid is “…a quick study.” Fall off the side of the level and he says, “He falls to his death. Just kidding.”

I know, I know… it sounds incredibly annoying and something you wouldn’t want to listen to for hours on end, but it is so incredibly cool that you’ll want to do what I did and mess around with the narrator just to see how he’ll react. Not everything will get a reaction, though it is a lot of fun when he does pipe up.

The rest of the game is easy to get into. I was able to spend a solid ten minutes with the demo. Combat is a little confusing at first, especially when other weapons come into play, though I was able to get into the flow of things in no time flat. Controls are incredibly tight. The Kid can stop on a dime, which is important since the world literally grows under your feet as you charge through levels.

Bastion serves as the game’s hub. Here, The Kid can build new buildings, which play into the crafting system. You can brew potions or upgrade your weapon abilities. Bastion also features a dynamic difficulty system, so you can change the difficulty whenever you want. Setting a harder difficulty will reward you with better prizes.

I was completely enthralled by Bastion, and think most of you will really dig it once you hear it for yourself. For an idea of what to expect, check out the official trailer below.

Bastion is part of XBLA’s “Summer of Arcade” promotion, so expect to see it soon. A PC version is also in the works.