Bastion review (vita)

Late last year, it was announced that Supergiant’s Bastion would be coming to PS4 and Vita. The PS4 version arrived, but the Vita version’s fate seemed shrouded in mystery for a while. Now that it’s finally out, it seems that the delay was due to the game originally being coded in a language (C#) that the Vita doesn’t quite understand. Luckily, that hitch has been overcome and the game is available for Vita users just in time for Christmas.

Since the game first came out in 2011, we won’t talk too much about the gameplay itself. Bastion is a Diablo-like action rpg played from an isometric perspective. The game has a very distinct visual style as well, which borders on a hard drawn cartoon style – vibrant with color. What really sets Bastion apart from other games, however, is the audio style. As you’re playing, the game is constantly being narrated – pushing you in the right direction and commenting on whatever it is that you’re doing. There’s no outsmarting the narrator either, because when you run around in circles or intentionally head the wrong way… that will be commented on as well.

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Bastion is a wonderful example of interactive storytelling and deserves all the acclaim it got back in 2011 (and then again when it came out for PS4). The action RPG dynamics are rock solid, but the storytelling experience is what elevated the package beyond similar games in the genre. And we’re happy to report…. all of that survived the transition to the Vita.

The high definition visuals that the Vita can offer really make Bastion shine, making it one of the better looking Vita games this year. The controls are very responsive, and the nature of the game lends itself very well to the shorter gameplay sessions that handheld gamers tend to prefer. Supergiant (along with partner BlitzWorks) has also managed to keep loading times down to a minimum, eliminating an often-heard complaint about Vita games.

Bastion on the Vita is still a great game – but that’s no surprise, really. A game that never relied on next-gen 3D graphics or elaborate control schemes was always a great candidate for a handheld version, and the real news here is that the conversion was masterfully done. If you never played Bastion on another platform then you owe it to yourself to pick this up – the Vita feels like a perfect home for the game. If you already have it on your PS4 then there’s an extra reason to do so as well: it’s completely free as it supports cross-buy and cross-save functionalities.

Score: 9.1/10

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