If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Summertime for gamers is usually a slump. With major releases being pushed to the Fall season, developers have begun to embrace this time for Downloadable Content. Xbox Live's first Summer of Arcade game this year starts with Bastion, an action RPG with one of the most unique form of story telling I have ever played.
Bastion takes place after an event known as "The Calamity". The world has been shattered, and nearly all life has been destroyed. You play as "The Kid", waking up in your bed with no idea what has happened, making your way to the Bastion, a place where you were told to go should something bad ever happen. All the while, you hear the voice of another character whom you meet at the Bastion, the Narrator.
The Narrator is the biggest hook in this game. Just the tone of his voice gives you the idea that he has lived through it all. Everything you do in the game gets narrated by him, in real time. You fall off the edge, he warns you, you find an item, he explains it to you, find a new enemy, he gives you hints on what to do, and in no way is it annoying, in fact its quite the opposite. I found myself at times just stopping and listening to him mid battle just to hear what he has to say.
Fighting in this game plays like an action RPG, You can equip 2 weapons and 1 ability, each assigned to one of the main buttons. A great thing about the weapons is that they all play so differently, in the end, the ones you choose are ones that fit your play style. Weapons are divided into Melee and Long range classes, and can be upgraded at the Bastion. The Bastion itself can get upgraded, completing levels allows you to rebuild the Bastion with shops that lets you upgrade your weapons, customize your perks, buy items you may have missed, or even make the game harder on yourself.
Another thing that adds a twist to the gameplay is the Shrine, a place to warship the gods, but these gods don't help the player. What they do instead is make the game harder, making enemies faster, leave grenades when they die, simply make them harder to kill. The game rewards you in return with increased money drops and experience given. With the inclusion of a "New Game +", everything you upgrade will be carried on to the next playthrough.I can say for certain, you WILL play this game a second time through.
Verdict: The game is fairly linear and isn't extremely long by RPG standards, but It's been a long time since I've been impressed by an arcade game as much as this one. With so many weapons to use, upgrades, and a story that almost requires a second playthough. This game is a must for any Xbox owner.