By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun action RPG has mild violence and a memorable narrator.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Bastion wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
The narrative focuses on the courage and determination of a young boy working to restore and rebuild a world that has suffered an unexplained "calamity." Combat plays a central role, but the violence -- though designed to be entertaining -- is mild, not glorified.
Positive Role Models
The game’s protagonist is a brave boy exploring his decimated world. He engages in combat, but only when attacked. He seems more interested in learning the cause of his world’s destruction, what has happened to its inhabitants, and how to restore the realm.
Ease of Play
Navigation and combat are both very straightforward, but it takes a while to learn the ins and outs of the fighting and upgrade systems. Still, the action rarely becomes overly challenging. The most difficult parts of the game come in the optional “proving ground” levels, where players have to figure out how to quickly and efficiently dispatch groups of targets with specific weapons in order to unlock rewards.
Violence & Scariness
Players attack seemingly unintelligent non-humans (strange fantasy creatures that float, fly, and lumber about) with swords, hammers, bows, and other weapons. These beasts simply disappear when defeated, sometimes with a smoke effect. The main hero can fall in battle or tumble off ledges. Though frequent, the action is without blood or gore. The player’s perspective is raised and distant, which mitigates the intensity of combat.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The player’s character drinks "spirits" from a distillery to incur passive ability upgrades. While these words call to mind alcohol, it’s not clear whether the magical fluids he imbibes are indeed alcoholic beverages. There is also one scene in which he inhales smoke from a pipe.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bastion is a downloadable action game for the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade that includes frequent but fairly mild combat. Players face down imaginative fantasy creatures with swords and bows as they work to explore and restore the hero’s destroyed world. While combat plays a large role, it never feels glorified and is not accompanied by any blood or gore. What’s more, the action often has an almost puzzle-like feel, with players forced to recognize patterns, make their way through mazes of platforms that can disappear under their feet, and figure out how to navigate through tricky sections of dungeon. Parents should note, though, that the game’s young hero occasionally imbibes "spirits" -- which may or may not be alcoholic in nature -- that grant him passive upgrades.
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Based on 2 parent reviews
Imagine Fallout, except cartoon.
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You know Common Sense Media is messed up when you see that they didn't know it was for the PC...
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What’s It About?
A downloadable game for Xbox 360, Bastion is an action RPG that puts players in the shoes of a boy who wakes up to find his world destroyed by an unknown calamity. Accompanied by a raspy narrator who succinctly describes his activities at every juncture, the boy navigates a seemingly never-ending series of winding, gap-filled platforms suspended in midair, battling enemies and picking up collectibles along the way. His goals are to discover what happened to the world and also to slowly restore it, using discoverable \"cores\" to rebuild essential buildings, including an armory and a distillery. Along the way, players find better weapons and abilities, as well as items that can be used to upgrade their equipment.
Is It Any Good?
The heart of Bastion is its constant, soulful, and occasionally witty narrator, who never fails to comment on even the smallest of our hero’s actions. Defeat a tough enemy? He’ll sing your praises. Find a new path? He’ll describe it. Fall off a ledge? He’ll step in with a funny little explanation. His calm commentary and reliable presence give the proceedings an almost storybook-like atmosphere that’s wholly original to the world of games.
The action is fun, too. Colorful, magical platforms spring into existence in front of our hero with each step forward, and the enemies he faces force players to constantly shift tactics, switching between ranged and melee weapons, using a shield when necessary, and remaining wary of the often shifting, dynamic environments. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, light, and inventive interactive entertainment, Bastion is a good bet.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the use of alcohol as a booster or restorative in games. What sort of message does this send to younger gamers? Do players view potions labeled as tonics, elixirs, or poultices differently?
Families can also discuss violence in games. How do you determine whether a game is too violent for your kids? Does it matter if the game’s enemies are human or fantastical? Whether players use guns and grenades or swords and magic? What do your kids think?
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, self-reflection, work to achieve goals, Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, logic, solving puzzles
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: July 19, 2011
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco
- Last updated: August 29, 2016
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