Friday, 13 April 2012
Bastion (2011, RPG) - 20 Sep 11
Neat little platform-like game.
First impressions. Nice graphics. The tiles appearing from below and above is quite visually exciting at first, but starts to get a bit hard on the eyes after a while. The narration is an excellent way of hiding the tutorial; e.g. when you see a fountain, the narrator hints that you might want to drink from it (and you’ve just learnt something without realising it, which you can use alter) -- very well done. Falling looses a little of your health and brings you back immediately (flat on your face, ha); very nice feature.
Levels. It appeared that the user is given multiple levels to complete in case one area is too hard, which can stop the user from getting bored with the game -- however, it seems that the alternative levels were just practice areas, which was a bit of an anti-climax. When you fail an area, it gives you the option of going back to the main level, or retrying that area -- on the first failure, the user is likely to attempt the area again, and further fails would cause them to try alternative routes.
Controls. So intuitive; the bow and arrow (as explained by the narrator) is used by holding X and aiming. That said, I keep pressing Y (heal) in a key mashing frenzy, so it’s easy to accidentally use up your heath when you don’t need to.
Stuff to kill. This game has mob spawners! Great feature, as it requires a little intelligence to solve the problem, which is always great -- it’s what you want; not just a mindless hack and slash. All objects lying around are destructible, and you’re rewarded for smashing stuff up (you randomly get items, etc). Some of the levels are very cleverly designed; e.g. a mob guy with a hammer to crush you if you stay still; some big blue ooze shooting mobs that make you stand still; and some annoying little mobs to distract you, and when the big mob hits the floor, bits of it drop away making it more difficult as time progresses. You can trick enemies into killing other enemies. You can befriend enemies, a bit like casting helper spells in Diablo.
Tutorial. The tutorial is so well done in this game; instead of forcing information down your throat with paragraph on paragraph of padded waffle, it gently whispers small fragments of very useful info into your ear (figuratively and literally!). When presented with text, somehow you always want to read it, as it seems valuable (since there’s so little of it) -- and when text is introduced, you’re far enough into the game to give a crap. Bravo!
Save. It’s not really clear whether you can quit safely as there is no save (only auto save) -- actually this has kept me playing as I’m too scared to loose my progress. When you do continue, it just brings you back to the start of the level, and actually reminds you what you need to do; very nice touch.
Conclusion. Smooth and intuitive gameplay; really fun to play. The graphics are very very busy, but I don’t mind. It’s hard to go to bed, I need just a little more. Great game. Re-visiting after a few days is ok, as the objective was not too unclear, but I got a little bored after not being able to complete a level twice, and having no real alternative route. I think had I not had a break the level would have been possible, but I get out of practice quickly. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to provide an easy alternative route (like Fallout 3 for example) for players who get bored more easily.