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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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Bastion of Storytelling

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The Kid wrote an article...

It's a long-accepted fact that I have a thinly-spread attention span when it comes to gaming. I'm constantly bouncing between four or five games at any one time, so when you can actually lock me down with one game for more than an hour or two, you've accomplished a feat that few can actually lay claim to. In 2011, two games did this: one was the open-world opus known as 'Skyrim,' and number two was a little indie number called 'Bastion.'

Easily one of the most beautiful games I've ever had the privilege to play, 'Bastion' has a bright, light palette that disguises one of the most deeply-narrated stories you will ever be involved in. You're dropped into a world that has literally fallen out of the sky, with no backstory or driving force other than to move forward and seek out shelter and supplies.

Well, no backstory that you know of. However, one of the greatest hooks in gaming history awaits to explain the effects of the Calamity on the land of Caelondia.Almost every single action you do is narrated. I'm not talking narration in an annoying tutorial-laced hand-holding sense. From the first moment you hear Rucks' voice, you immediately latch on to his grandfatherly character. And again, this isn't some kind of Big Brother figure monotonously congratulating your ability to hold a sword without decapitating yourself; this is a storyteller weaving a tale that revolves around your actions.

I'm not trying to insinuate that 'Bastion' has a 'Mass Effect' level of choices that turn the entire story one way or another. No, 'Bastion's' strength lies in its ability to subtly weave some of your tiniest mishaps into an interesting detail in this story. For example, very early in the game you obtain your trusty hammer. Obviously, you can continue your charge through the level with nary a second thought. However, if you're a completionist, you're more than likely going to engage in the time-honored gaming tradition of busting up the crates around the hammer. As you're going to town on the boxes, your narrator mentions that the Kid needed to let off some steam, connecting your smashing impulse with the character you're controlling on a personal level.

This probably doesn't sound like a huge deal, but the entire game is filled with tiny moments like this. As a result, you don't feel like you're playing a story already written, but one that's being inked by your playstyle. Compared to some of its contemporary brethren, 'Bastion' is not very long, with my first playthrough clocking in at 10 hours. But in all honesty, I felt as if I'd gotten as much out of the 10 hours in 'Bastion' as I've gotten with the 110 hours I've invested in 'Skyrim'. As much as the narration feature could have fallen flat on its face and dragged the game through the mud, it brought the ages-old storytelling method of oral tradition into the burgeoning world of gaming.If 'Bastion' is leading the industry into the future of storytelling in gaming, then we have so very much to be excited about.Aaron Waite would like to thank the fine folks of Reddit for crushing his spirit into the form of a better writer.

Last modified on Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:43


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