Bastion's artsy design and unique style makes it one unforgettable experience

User Rating: 8 | Bastion X360
One good thing about games that you can download from the Xbox Live Arcade these days is they are braver than most retail games. By that I mean they aren't afraid to take chances and offer a new formula or a twist to an old, well-known formula. Such is the case with Super Giants Games' newest game, Bastion. This game offers a new spin on the old school action RPG while showing off a unique art style and story telling that not many games have seen before. For $15 (or 1200 microsoft points), there isn't much to hate about Bastion's style.

The game takes place in the aftermath of the "Calamity". The world has fallen apart, everyone you know and love has been turned to stone and the world is infested with hostile creatures. You (as "The Kid") wake up to find the world in ruins and so you head to "The Bastion", the place where all survivors meet up when things go wrong. Fighting your way through the town, you notice the world reforming below your feet as you walk. After fighting your way through, you reach the Bastion to see that none but one old man made it. All is not lost though, for finding the cores can power the Bastion and fix what the Calamity destroyed.

The story seems like another "end of the world" scenario, and it is, but what keeps you in the story is not so much the actual story, but the creative way the story is told; through a narrator. This guy will talk the entire time, telling the story of you and the Calamity, and he'll comment on everything you do. Whether you do something outstanding or screw up, he narrator will surely let you know about it. If you personally are annoyed by this guy, you have the option to turn him off in the options menu.

The graphics in this game are very artistic and unique. The environments are varied as no two levels or enemies look the same. The coolest part is instead of a map that lights up as you move around the world, you will walk down certain pathways and watch the ground from this shattered world reform automatically at your feet. This artstyle (and reforming world) only adds to the creativity that this game is already full of.

As for the actual gameplay, you control from a top-down perspective and are given the choice of two weapons to take with you. The game itself has you rely on your own reactions as you roll out of enemy fire or attack at the right time before the enemy can harm you. There are several levels to play through, though the goal throughout most of the game just involves finding a core to restore the Bastion. Spite this repetitive objective, each level offers new enemies, new environments and new challenges. No two levels feel the same and they're fun enough to keep you interested. In between missions, you go to the Bastion where you are safe from harm and can even build buildings when you add a new core (like a forge, weapon shop, etc.) or heal up before you head back out. Overall, the game won't last you more than 8-9 hours but it's an enjoyable 8-9 hours and beating the game will unlock "New Game +" which lets you start at the beginning with all of your weapons and upgrades.

One thing that makes the game so fresh is its diversity. You can customize just about anything; weapon, special moves, skills for leveling up, weapon upgrades, etc. First of all, you are given two weapon slots which are assigned to "Y" or "B" on your controller. As you progress and unlock more weapons, there is a large enough variety to fit your play style. You can choose from ranged weapons like guns or a bow or melee weapons like swords, hammers or spears. Don't like one or the other? You aren't limited to one of each, go all melee or all ranged. Each weapon works completely differently which gives you the freedom to experiment and see what combo works for you. With these weapons comes several upgrades to make them better as well as some rather difficult weapon challenges.

With such brave design decisions, stylish hand-painted graphics, creative story telling and diverse gameplay, there isn't much to hate about a brave game like Bastion. Although it's only 8 hours long, there is enough bang for your buck as Bastion stands as one of the few games worth the 1200mp ($15) price point along with Castle Crashers or Shadow Complex. If you're a fan of the more old school action RPG or want something a little different for your RPG collection, then Bastion is worth checking out.