Game Review: Bastion

 

We’re going to start this article off a little different. Let’s start with the fact that this game is absolutely fucking awesome!

The first thing you will notice when you jump into this game is the amazing art going on, and it is amazing. It’s vibrant, and the way the levels pull up into the gameplay as you progress really sets it off.

The second thing you are going to notice with this feature is the comical narration of the gameplay actions as well as the storyline. I was immediately sure I wanted to keep playing this game after the first quirky comment. The commentary carries through the entirety of the gameplay, sometimes relating to your character’s direct actions such as falling of the map, and sometimes pointing out bad guys when they populate. The commentary is the only voice you will hear in game, with the exception of one time near the end of the game.

The storyline is rather simple, but fun to follow. Learning how the Calamity comes about, and the reasoning behind it are the prime points of the storyline. It’s not exactly a happy story, and considering modern and historical times the story feels very applicable and relatable – unfortunately… You also get the opportunity to learn a little but about the main character’s background, as well as one other character’s life story, filling in some deep details.

The gameplay is very easy to get used to, and there are a plethora of weapons to suit just about every playstyle. I personally rocked the dueling pistols and the machete the second I got them. Every time a new weapon would show up, I would immediately switch back, regardless of the foes in front of me.

The game comes reasonably priced at $14.99 on Steam. I got a full 8 hours on my first playthrough, and I did not complete all of the weapon challenges available. The gameplay was also fun enough that I plan to playthrough this one again, besides there are alternate endings, and I want to see the other one. The game does give you a start option called “New Game Plus” after the first completion. This lets you play through with all of your weapons. The game also has features to beef up aspects of your foes to change the level of challenge, which you may want as your level your character and modify your weapons to hit harder/faster. I would show more pictures of the game, but this one is best experienced first hand.

What I thought


 

  • System Played On: PC
  • Available On: PC, Mac, IPhone, Playstion, and XBox (Steam,  Mac Store, App Store, PS Store, XBox Store
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Visuals: 9/10
  • Audio: 10/10
  • Storyline: 9/10
  • Additional Content: N/A
  • Overall: 9/10

 

Let’s get one thing clear: Just because Next Up Hero has an amazingly adorable art style, does NOT make this game easy. It does, however, soften the blow of death. Get used to that because it’ll happen. A LOT.

Next Up Hero is part dungeon crawler, part isometric shooter and ALL action. Developed by indie devs Digital Continue and published by Aspyr, the two bring to us a force not to be messed with. A stunning visual and over the top antics, Next Up Hero provides a ton of entertainment.

You play as one of the many Heroes in the game to fight against the too-cute-to-be-mad-at monsters known as the Ceaseless Dirge. They range from “meh these guys are easy” to “OH MY GOD WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE HIM?!” types of difficulties. This is what makes the game so addictive: Knowing you’re good enough to get past a level or enemy type but they best you anyways and send you packing to the last checkpoint (or in some cases, the start of the Venture).

The anger you feel is quickly swept away when you check out all the loot you gained from scratching, clawing, boomeranging and rocket jumping your way through the vast amounts of user created levels.

Leveling up is as easy as completing stages, killing enemies, collecting tokens and beating bosses. The dungeon grind is here but it doesn’t feel too cheesy as the main objective is basically to see how far you can get before pulling your hair out.

Combat is FUN. There are quite a few characters to learn so you have sort of a variety to pick your style. You’ve got some melee, you’ve got some rocket launchers and you even have a pair of drums that will send your attackers flying! You can find other player’s “echoes” laying on the ground in the dungeons and use them for you benefit. Revive these echoes and they assist you in battle or can be used to summon Ancients to buff you or attack the baddies. You’ll have to really spend time with each and everyone and upgrade them to full to see who you are the best with and I highly reccommend trying them all for a great experience.

Actual players in real life create most of the levels or “Ventures” for you to play and they reset every few days. The ventures spread out from sort of simple (easy mode does not mean it’s a breeze) to “this is impossible. Where is my game Genie.” It’s actually great to see people creating these dungeons and adding in modifiers like One Shot Kills or the room is completely dark. No dungeons are really the same and it really brings to life a whole sense of never ending possibilites.

There is a Co-Op mode and you’ll be happy to know that the game IS Cross Platform between Steam, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. While the game is on the Playstation 4, Sony has not enabled cross-play with other platforms.

Co-Op works in the way that you and a buddy will enter the stage together and they can choose to stay back and heal you once and join in on the fight later or you can both struggle together at the same time. Once a level is clear, they have the option to leave, heal/join again. It’s a pretty good system if you need helping defeating some of these enemies on Insane…And trust me, you’ll need that help.
There are also Twitch/Mixer integrations built right in to the game so if you’re a streamer, you can call upoin your audience to either help you or hurt you while you journey. Most will hurt you. And why not? It’s fun!

There are a few bugs and that’s honestly expected. Sometimes you’ll get locked out of a level’s boundaries or the quests your completing will just simply not show up. It is a bit disappointing progress pretty far and then have the game force you to exit, but in my experience that happening was very rare. It looks like they devs are working really hard to correct the bugs people are reporting and we can only hope that it comes sooner than later.

Overall I would say that Next Up Hero has a ton of potential to be one of those games you keep coming back to regardless of how long it’s been since your last session. Hopping in with a buddy and having you both fail miserably is TRULY an enjoyable experience. Pick this game up for a visually pleasing and ultimately satisfying time. I’d give the game a 8/10

The game is available right now on Steam for $19.99USD and on the Xbox One for the same price. You can also try it out for FREE on the Xbox Game Pass.

What I thought


 

  • System Played On: Xbox
  • Available On: Steam, Xbox, PS4, Switch
  • Visuals: 10/10
  • Audio: 8/10
  • Storyline: 4/10
  • Additional Content 7/10
  • Overall 8/10

Game Review: Dying Light

 

In a game that makes me think of mashing together Assassin’s Creed, Farcry 4, and any Zombie game ever – you play Kyle Crane. As an undercover operative for the GRE your goal is retrieve stolen information that could be dangerous to the world in the wrong hands. The game takes you in a solid story through the streets of Harran, where the Harran Virus has hit with devastating effect. While the virus can be suppressed with medications, no known cure exists. And of course, as with anytime people are in a crisis, someone is taking advantage of the entire scenario to run their own show. Watch out for thugs and infected as you apply your talents to help the survivor’s grasp hope, while keeping the Government at bay.

The game starts out good. The infected are all completely OP compared to you at first, and the difficulty takes a slight decline quick. Gameplay speed increases as you get more familiar with your abilities and those of the infected. Dynamic gameplay gives you different gameplay at night vs. day. With loads of side missions and over 100 customizable weapons, brush up your skills to survive. Incorporating stamina into running and fighting helps keep the player from becoming too OP against the infected, and gives the infected a defined advantage that sticks through almost the entire game. Even the weakest of infected don’t get tired. While the game plays and feels like a FPS, the main focus is melee weapons. The environment and the threat of infected gear the player to treat every step as a puzzle-trying to maintain the high ground to reach the goal.
The graphics were top notch, as they should be. Good effects and no issues with rendering the environment or buffering problems.

I have to say the gameplay reminded me of any FPS style game. But the multiplayer Co-op was what really made this game top-notch to me. Unlike other games there were no limitations on other players such as weapons/experience/distance. You and your friends can play the game, thats it. The only missions that were different were the beginning missions and the end mission. Having 4 players doesn’t ruin the gameplay experience either. I found that while we were obviously harder to kill as a group, we were more liable to get a little ballsy during gameplay. Not to mention, some missions still killed the entire team more than a couple times before we were able to complete them.

There has been plenty of add-on gameplay and expansion material due to the success of the game. I keep telling myself I need to get people together and replay the game through to include these additions, and eventually (maybe) it will happen.

What I thought


 

  • System Played On: PS
  • Available On: PC, XBox, PS
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer Coop (4), Invasion
  • Visuals: 9/10
  • Audio: 10/10
  • Storyline: 9/10
  • Additional Content 10/10
  • Overall 10/10