Initial Thoughts on Bastion

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Before I went on a bit of a break, Steam was having a sale (a fact that pretty much everyone on Twitter kept reminding me about so against my better judgement I checked it out). One of the many games I picked up during the sale was Bastion. A game I’d watched many people play through parts of it, read and watched reviews of, and had always been kind of interested in but never gotten around to actually buying and playing. My question going in was whether the game would live up to the hype around it.

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The answer is yes and no.

One of the things that was emphasised about this game in a lot of the reviews was the narration and how clever it was, how it responded to what the player was doing, how funny it was, etc. While I will admit I’ve enjoyed the narration, given the story is fairly linear, in even levels don’t offer a lot of choice about where to go or what to do, the narration hasn’t really matched expectations of great game narration set by games like The Stanley Parable that truly managed to make the narrator feel like someone watching the game. At times the narrator in Bastion prompts your actions by telling you what you need to do and this sometimes happens when I’m in the process of wondering what would happen if I did something else (usually something stupid but I like trying things in games just to see what happens). It is like the narrator is drawing me out of the game I want to play and leading me along a prescribed path. Though there are other times where the narrator clearly responded to my actions like when it mocked me for attacking every single plant on the screen like I was going to win a prize (who knows, I might have).

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Outside of the narration, Bastion is a pretty straight forward set up for a game. You wake up (an unnamed kid) in a world that has suffered some sort of calamity. As you start to walk, a path appears. Once you get to the end of the first area you go to a hub world where you slowly rebuild the world as you collect various bits and pieces. This sounds like you’d have some freedom of travel but there are seldom many choices of where to travel from the hub world with only one or two new areas opening at any one time.

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You also collect a range of weapons and skills which you can try out different combinations on but pretty much once you find a combo that works for your playing style you kind of stick with it for most the levels. Then the game decides it doesn’t want you doing that and some levels you will find new weapons which are then automatically fitted and you can’t change your weapon selection without visiting a specific building either in the hub world or if you are lucky enough to find one in the level. Sometimes this serves a practical purpose as you need that new weapon for an enemy coming up, but other times it leaves you playing awkwardly and stumbling along until you can switch out to your usual gear.

The game is also incredibly easy. Deaths are few and far between and the consequences for death pretty non-existent other than level progress being lost but the levels are so short that isn’t a drama. And it acknowledges that the game is easy by offering the chance to pray to various gods which might make the enemies stronger or more resistant to physical attacks or whatever in exchange for more experience. If you die while the idols are making the game harder, when you restart the level it offers to turn this off or allows you to start with the penalties still in place.

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For all that though, the story being woven by the narrator about the world before the calamity is kind of compelling and while the narration may not be mind blowing, it is really easy on the ears while playing and you can kind of get caught up in just listening to the story and forget what you are actually doing. It is also a really pretty game to look at although at times it is difficult to see which direction the path is going (leading to the occasional plummet into thin air – though the consequences of plummeting are pretty low so have at it).

Basically, I’m having a lot of fun working my way through the story and while I might like it to be a bit more challenging and the narration is not as good as my expectations would have led me to believe it should be, I’m really glad I picked this up. Hopefully I’ll finish the story and review the whole game eventually.


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Karandi James.

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Final Fantasy X Remastered Impressions

Yep, it’s impressions on a game because March Comes in Like a Lion didn’t have an episode this week. And what a game it is. This is Final Fantasy X. My favourite Final Fantasy ever.

I first played this on the playstation 2 quite a long time ago so I was kind of excited to see it available on Steam apparently remastered. I’m not very far into my play through at this point but there are a few things that I’m really enjoying about revisiting this game.

01. The characters are still as fun as ever. I always loved the cast of this game and the banter between the characters. Okay, some moments are pretty dreadful such as the Macarena joke (and I’m really hoping that the joke was something added to the dub and never appeared in the original script) but for the most part the exchanges between the characters are really entertaining.

02. I can actually turn off the random encounters. Normally you wouldn’t want to do this as you really need those encounters to get stronger but as you can’t save unless you reach a save sphere and sometimes those encounters really make the time you are stuck playing drag out, when you are ready to call it quits (or have to go somewhere) turning off the encounters and sprinting to the next save point is a fantastic feeling.

I remember how many times I had to replay sections of the game on the playstation because I couldn’t save and had to stop.



03. I really just love the story in this game. It isn’t a pretty straight forward quest where we get a twist toward the end that fits perfectly with what you’ve been told about the world.

04. Given my last Final Fantasy game was XIII, I actually am enjoying this return to true turn based combat. Okay, the characters look silly as they stand and bob on the spot and wait for their turn but it at least let’s you think through your sequence of attacks and as you can see the order of attacks you can think through when to defend and when to strike and it becomes more tactical than button mash which I kind of enjoy.

I will review this game when I finish this play through (so a long time from now given I’m moving very slowly through it) and I also go X-2 with this which I’ve never played so I’m kind of looking forward to that. Probably the biggest issue I have is that visually some of the character faces and animations have not aged well. The cut scenes are gorgeous but the in-game stuff is not so crash hot these days. Basically, if you haven’t played a final fantasy game and you are interested, this one is pretty cheap and really fun.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


The Stanley Parable Review

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Right, so this is another one of my very rare non-anime related posts and yes it is on a game. If you don’t know about this game stick around and maybe I’ll convince you to check it out (even non-gamers can find something to love here).

The Stanley Parable Overview:

This is more of an interactive story where you play as the unseen Stanley and begin when he is in his office waiting for instructions that never come. At that point you have to start making choices. The thing is, the narrator will tell you what Stanley should be doing as you walk around and then you determine whether or not you follow that path or veer off. The narration then addresses your choice and leads you to the next fork in the road.

That’s really all there is to this story. You walk, look, and listen, and come to one of several end points, all of which force you to question the choices you have made.

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The Stanley Parable Review:

I’m going to address the negative first and that way we’ll get it out of the way for when I start telling you why this game is amazing.

The biggest issue is the run time and how little replay value there is. When I played it, I completed every story path that I could find on my own (and then I googled to make sure I hadn’t missed any – even after finding the room that has all the story paths mapped out) and I’ve let friends walk a path or two on my Steam account just so they could experience it and I’ve still only got 5 hours sunk into this game.

Compared with most games I buy (where I tend to sink 100 hours minimum into them) this is pretty short entertainment. With that said it probably means the asking price on Steam of $15 is something you need to seriously consider. Though I did get more time out of it than a movie and the price of going to the movies is comparative so maybe it’s all worked out.

The second issue I have with this game is that some of the endings kind of don’t let you know that you’ve reached the end of the road. You have but it isn’t clear and your left wondering if you need to restart or if there is another twist coming if you just wait and stare at the sparkling lights for a bit longer. Clarity that you had in fact reached the end would be a good thing.

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Onto the positives.

There is some really clever writing in the narration of The Stanley Parable. Okay, it’s snide and snarky, but the script is beautifully adapted to the different choices you make and it always gives you just enough information to know what you ‘should’ be doing as well as give you some sort of hint about what other possibilities might exist.

The choices are always clear and you are instantly rewarded for making a different choice by getting a very new bit of narration. The only issue with this is that some choices are further down the line so you have to replay previous choices to get to them so some of those earlier bits of narration get replayed a few too many times.

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There’s surprising depth to this story. It’s a story about free will but exercising free will in the game doesn’t necessarily lead you to any better conclusion.The very nature of who or what the narrator is, who Stanley is, what the company is; all of these are explored but never defined leaving you thinking long after playing. Despite saying there is surprising depth, there isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before. It’s just that they’ve managed to pack a lot of thought provoking ideas into a game that an average run through of one storyline will only take a few minutes. It’s impressive, really.

And still on the storylines, the endings are incredibly diverse. Everything from the morbid, the hopeful, the thought provoking, to the just plain strange. Each ending gives you something new to think about while pointing you in a new direction to go next time you play.

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It’s a game that works best when you know someone else who has played it or is playing it. The question of ‘did you try to save the baby’ and the why and why not argument could go on for a long time and asking someone if they ever just tried not answering the phone can lead to that frozen expression of someone who has just realised that there is a whole other possibility that they never even considered.

I thoroughly recommend this game and even the non-gamers out there can find something to love in the amusing script and strange journeys that The Stanley Parable will take you on.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James