Let’s face it – the narrator is the real hero here.
Bastion is an action RPG that was released seven years ago, but with its latest release on the Nintendo Switch it feels as fresh as ever. Once you open it up, you will find it hard to put down, as there is always something new to explore and addicting combat around every corner.
This isn’t the most difficult game to play through, but that didn’t matter to me in the slightest. Bastion is an experience through and through. The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful art style, which is seemingly hand-drawn and includes a plethora of detail. The roads you walk on unfurl beneath your toes, leaving you wondering what you’re going to see next. Before you know it, you’re facing a horde of enemies and you have to figure out what weapon you need to use to defeat as many as you can, or find a way to run. You get two weapons that you can upgrade and swap out for whatever you desire, leaving an array of possibilities in combat style. Completionists will appreciate the wide range of weapons available to unlock, as well as a New Game Plus mode to start a new adventure while keeping your weapons.
With all the talk of Bastion revolving around the dynamic narrator, I was actually quite skeptical that it would work. Not only does it work, but it adds a whole new layer to the gameplay experience. In other action RPG’s, I’ll constantly be switching from mashing the A button through story scenes and actually participating in combat. In Bastion, however, the narrator provides you the story while you play. How much you want to pay attention to it is up to you. My main point of skepticism around this feature was that he would be annoying or repeat himself, but that’s never the case. This narrator only talks when vital to the plot, which I appreciate. It’s actually quite neat how he responds to your movements, from how much you’re jumping to what area you’ve just wandered into.
Because of the way the narration ties the story together, I didn’t ignore and loathe it as much as I would in other RPG’s. Basically, your unnamed character wanders through a post-apocalyptic world discovering new secrets about the “calamity” which was recently inflicted on it. There is nothing too memorable about the story, but I appreciate that it has its own unique place within the gameplay. Since the story is interwoven into the gameplay here, I would actually pay attention to it at times because I was interested in how it affected the gameplay. It’s a perfect balance that I wish was present in other games.
The Switch release plays just as smoothly as any modern game. No frame drops are present and it works beautifully in handheld mode. While there is no new content with this release, it still feels right at home on the Switch. If you’ve played Bastion in the past or if you’ve missed out on the previous releases, I wholeheartedly recommend Bastion for anyone looking for a fantastic action RPG.