Bastion: PS4, Review

There are a great many instances in which having a disembodied voice narrating your every move would be profoundly irritating: public speaking, late-night toilet trips, assembling furniture… But as Bastion demonstrates with whiskey-soaked ease, hacking and slashing your way through an isometric apocalypse isn’t one of them.

Supergiant Games’ debut garnered plenty of deserved praise when it debuted on PC back in 2011, and what you’ll find here on PS4 is like-for-like in all but its controls. Which is great news, because even after nearly four years, Bastion remains as impressive in its mechanics as in its unique, narrator-driven storytelling.


Bast In Show
It’s the surface-level pleasures that hit you first. The way the world falls into place around you as you walk, the fever dream enemies (Mississippi Delta-influenced Gasfellas, Scumbags et al) and the way your hammer crushes them.

Above all, the mysterious Bourbon-tarnished voice who solemnly comments on your movements. “Now The Kid sees somethin’ stranger still,” he rasps. “His mind races.  Did anyone else survive?”  The narrator opens his mouth,  and atmosphere pours out.

As an action-RPG, Bastion excels by imbuing every one of its weapons with gratifying timing-based attacks and empowering you with dodges and counters in every fight.

Take out a line of Peckers with a power shot from your Breaker’s Bow, then mop up the leftovers with a Whirlwind attack from your Cael Hammer, then come back and tell me Supergiant hasn’t created something special with its combat. In later levels, the screen positively bulges with opponents, but you always have a chance to show off with a cheeky counter and some special moves.

Levels adapt to, and exceed, your expectations, while its myriad upgrade paths fuel your fire to keep engaging. There isn’t an ounce of fat in this game everything in it functions smoothly, and complements the rest. In one moment you’re captivated by the story, the next totally engaged with the combat possibilities. Never bored, never jaded, rarely frustrated. Play this, and you’ll understand why some saw the wonderful Transistor as a disappointment.

9/10

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