Review: Bastion (PC)

The word ‘gimmick’ gets a lot of abuse these days. It’s become shorthand in the gaming press for a feature that is being used to sell games which are otherwise utterly devoid of imagination. Bastion’s trick of constant, dynamic narration could certainly be called a gimmick. But instead of being used to cover up a lack of substance in the game, it only accentuates the sheer amount of variety and imagination on show. There are barely any cutscenes and no long, wordy exposition getting in the way of the action. Instead, gameplay hints, plot points and background information are delievered as you play, by an omnipresent narrator, giving context and colour to your actions without ever distracting you from them. This could very easily have been annoying, but thanks to some great writing, the narrator manages to remain a friendly companion, rather than a pest. And the story that he tells is definitely one you’re going to want to hear the end of.

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A Chance Would be a Fine Thing – One Chance

‘I’m here today to antagonize you.’

That’s a direct quote from the author of One Chance, a touching, strangely beautiful little flash game that flaunts convention in order to make a point, and does so with style.

One of the most exciting things about gaming as a medium (dare I say art form?) is the issue of choice. Obsidian’s ambitious but flawed Alpha Protocol made a big deal of the fact that every choice made by the player would have an impact later in the story. Yet even that game allowed you to go back, try again and see what other outcomes there were.

Once Chance gives you no such opportunity. Just like real life, there is no ‘restart’ button, no saved game to fall back on. You get exactly one go at saving the world. Chances are, you will probably fail.

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