Its been a long time since I’ve picked up and game and been drawn in instantly.  Its been even longer since a game has casued me to sit literally all day, and then into the early hours as night turned to morning, with that thought of ‘just one more level’.  And I can’t even remember the last time i was truly, and totally, blown away by a game after playing it.

Well yesterday, all those things happened in the space of a few hours (well, quite a few actually – did you not pay attention to the comment about sitting up late into the night) .

That game was the new XBLA title Bastion. And what a game!

After a tough week of motion capturing the narrative parts of my own game in sweden, playing Bastion was the perfect recovery.  And it also highlighted just how far the bar of XBLA is being raised, something me and my fellow Bloodforge creators are striving to do also.

Many games strive to be an interactive story.  Bastion is one that achieves this, and more.  From the moment the deep emotive drawl of the narrator kicks in you know this is something different and special.  And as you stand up in the very first move of the game and the narration adds this to his story you suddenly become aware this story will be created by.

Its an amazing thing to be working through a level with our narrator feeding your actions into his tale, his wonderful voice mirroring every fight and jump and move, drawing our hero (and you) deeper into the events.

And its this unfolding story that makes you want to keep playing, even when your wife, or your partner, or even your stomach, is telling you to stop and do something else.  You need to know where you’re going to take this story next, who you’rre going to meet, and to find out what and how the strange events your involved in are going to play out.

I was yanked in from the 1st chapter and wasn’t let go until the final scene played out.

And all this is accompanied by a seriously wonderful art style, that looks very simple but is like a constantly moving and changing piece of artwork.  Wandering through the different levels, the world building in front of your eyes as you move forward, you can’t help but be drawn into the beauty of a world destroyed by the Calamity.

Oh and the combat system and roleplaying elements are pretty good to – so simple and intuitive that your never distracted from the all important story your making.  You can simply run around having fun without even realising you are – only after you’ve stopped and assessed the last 7 hours do you discover just how much you’ve been enjoying hacking and slashing and shooting  and destroying the vast range of adversarys who block your way.

Bastion is one of those special games that will stay with me for ever.  Its like having Alan Moore, Salvadore Dali, and Shigeru Miyamoto all rolled into one sublime piece of computer game-cum-story-cum-artwork.

And for £12 you really need to get on the download.  Because if you don’t you might as well chuck that xbox in the bin since you’ve no right to own one.

If you don’t play this it would be a mistake – no -it would be much more than that.  It would be a ‘Calamity’!

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