A Long Overdue Romp with a Great RPG, and Another with the Most Heartbreaking Game in the History of Gaming.

bastion

Hey guys, long time no post! I’ve been pretty busy writing for What’s Your Tag? lately and haven’t had much to update about over here, but I’ve recently played through a few games in my backlog that aren’t new enough to warrant reviews over there.

The Xbox 360 Ultimate Game Sale Day 6 should start later today, and so far I’ve picked up Bastion, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Dust: An Elysian Tail.

Bastion has been on my radar since its release, but I never found time to play it over anything else. I started playing last night and finished it earlier this evening after a rabid gaming session. I really liked the hand-drawn art style, the level design, weapons, narration and soundtrack, and I felt the game was short enough to warrant a second playthrough.

The Kid had a pretty cool character design, but you can completely miss his entire back story if you don’t jump in to an entirely optional side-question. I guess that’s why it pays to explore, right? New Game+ is always a big selling point to me with an RPG as well. I’d like to do a full review here at some point, but for now I’ll just keep it short and say that I’d give it an A- overall.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons completely caught me off guard. I knew enough about the game’s mechanics to have a general idea of what to expect, but those expectations were dropped on their asses once I picked up the controller.

If you’re not familiar with the game, you control the little brother with the right analog stick, and the big brother with the left analog stick, while interacting with each brother using the corresponding trigger button. Sounds simple, right?

Brothers could best be compared to Ico on the PS2, featuring non-stop environmental puzzles, but has no combat for the most part. Generally you’ll use the big brother to pull heavy levers or carry the little brother across water due to his excessive fear of swimming, while using the little brother to slip through bars or taunt enemies away from the big brother.

Interesting gameplay aside, the story of Brothers is told entirely in a made-up language, similar to The Sims. However, you’ll grasp the entire concept of the story just by watching the cutscenes and paying attention to body language. You’ll escape wolves and free captive giants, but the sheer amount of tragedy and bloodshed in this game is astounding.

Once I picked up the controller, I couldn’t put it down until the game was over. And when the game was over, I felt like my heart had be stabbed with a unicorn horn and kicked in to a pit of lava with The One Ring. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is not only the most depressing game I’ve ever played in my entire life, but is easily one of the best games I’ve played from last year.

I ended up being so impressed with Brothers that I feel the need to alter my Top 5 of 2013 list. Well that, and I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on 2013’s games where my list at the end of last year isn’t really that accurate anymore. I still haven’t gotten around to The Last of Us or Super Mario 3D, but they’re still on my to-do list.

I think my current Top 5 from last year would look something like..

  1. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  3. Bioshock Infinite
  4. Crimson Dragon
  5. Dead Rising 3

..which is definitely a change from my previous list. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Killer Instinct were also close contenders.

Have any of you played Brothers or Bastion before? What did you think? I’m going to work through Dust here soon I’m sure, but in the meantime I’m really enjoying the hell out of the Strider reboot.

 

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5 thoughts on “A Long Overdue Romp with a Great RPG, and Another with the Most Heartbreaking Game in the History of Gaming.

  1. Dang, Brothers is THAT good? Interesting. I’ll have to give that one a closer look one of these days. Then again, my brother and I have started cracking open Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, so I guess we’ll be having our own super-depressing adventures soon enough.

    In any case, here’ hoping that you get a lot out of The Last of Us and Mario 3D World. Both of them were on a lot of GOTY lists, so you MIGHT want to be ready to revise your list sometime in the near future. Just a hunch.

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  2. Bastion’s always been on my “evocative games” list, and the fact that it’s an indie game that I can play in bite-sized sessions really drives it home. Everything about the game just makes it memorable – from the gravelly narrator, to the environment, to the amazing soundtrack. It can create a deep and impressive story without being too drawn out, and I think that’s something that it should be commended for.

    Always good to know that people are still giving this game a look. It makes me want to go back and replay it just one more time.

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    • I really enjoyed Bastion my first time through, but I think I appreciated it a lot more during my New Game + run. The soundtrack is probably one of the best in the industry, and I’m super hyped that Supergiant Games is using Zia’s voice actor/singer Ashley Barrett for their upcoming action RPG Transistor.

      The world of Bastion and the four characters inside of it will always live on with me, but the soundtrack is what really cemented the entire experience.

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