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The gameplay in Bastion is a bit of a mess.

Content of the article: "The gameplay in Bastion is a bit of a mess."

Bastion is an isometric ARPG by developed Supergiant Games. As The Kid, you must travel through a floating world that has been affected by the Calamity overnight, an event that has claimed thousands of lives and destroyed great sections of it. Before I get to the main point of the review, I have to mention that I have enjoyed Bastion a lot because of its gorgeous art style, soundtrack, narrator and unique yet familiar world, and it's an experience I recommend without a doubt. Not because of the gameplay, though: it often feels like the opposite of what it should be.

Bastion gives you a max of two weapons from several melee and ranged options, a special ability (which can be a generic one like a trap, a pet, and invisibility or one that depends on the weapons you are carrying) a dodge move, and shield which you can just block with or, if timed properly, parry an attack, which can briefly stun or send back projectiles. As the game progresses, you can customize the weapons, adding attack speed, crit chance, stuns, poison, burn, weakening effects, and your character, throught the use of various drinks

So far theres nothing wrong in here, but then you discover how difficulty works in the game. You don't pick between easy, medium and hard, instead once you unlock the temple you pray to the gods to increase the both the difficulty and the rewards. There's the obvious "enemies are faster" and "enemies hit harder". Then you see two in particular that make you take damage from simply touching an enemy and run and dodge slower for a couple of seconds when damaged, and you raise your eyebrow, wondering how you are going to escape. And THEN you get to Olak, which makes enemies invulnerable for a while, and Garmuth, which makes them deflect you attacks, and you stare at te screen in disbelief, asking yourself: "How did we get to this level of bullshit?"

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It's true that you can complete the game with 0 idols active and enjoy the game, but if you are a completionist you will want the Who Knows Where achievements, which require surviving 20 waves of enemies in an arena with all idols active. And how do you do that? Fighting fire with fire: cheese tactics.

The problem with dealing with ghost-like superfast parrying enemies is obvious: rapid fire weapons trigger their ghost form, then they regen whatever scrath of damage you managed to inflict while their brothers rips you to pieces, and then join the fun again. Heavier weapons are harder to aim and too slow to hit them before they hit you, and light weapons just lack the strength needed to take them down. At this point, anything that isn't a long range AOE nuke gets outclassed. Luckily, bastion has that: the Galleon Mortar can be upgraded to gain crit chance, blast radius and, would you look at that, immunity to your own explosions. So if you are surrounded, you just kaboom and the problem disappears.

The guides for WKW make clear that we are as far from an ARPG as it gets: melee weapons are forgotten and you are now playing Battlefield

: find cover, fire your mortar until the area is clear, and report to your commanding officer. The whole tactic goes against both the fantasy setting and the gameplay you have learned up to that point, which has you alternating between styles depending on the enemies instead of bombing everything until nothing but burnt bodies is on sight.

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I guess it's easier to understand as an arms race in which you adopt brutal tactics in response to a brutal threat, but from a "fun" factor perspective it's still bad.

(Overall the game is still fun, though. Go play it).


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