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April 28, 2017

Bastion


Entry number: Who cares, really? The number doesn’t matter. All I know is that I’ll keep on telling this story until it’s over. The Bastion, our floating mass in a sea of emptiness and floating masses, will keep us safe as long as it can. Or rather, it shouldn’t endure more than it already has.

A kid’s bizarre voyage is coming to a conclusion. Soon we’ll know the end of it. Or, well, I hope so. That’s if he comes back. But… until then, I would say it’s time to go over what happened. A proper story’s supposed to start at the beginning. My name’s Rucks. I’m a Caelondian – not that it matters, Caelondia is in tatters. I could say I was a Caelondian. I woke up one day to see our world had been reduced to bits and pieces idling in a great nothing. The Calamity had happened.


You'd think the destruction of the world would have
awoken him. And yet, nope.
That day, a Kid rose from bed, his bedroom the only remaining part of his home. Not even a fridge nearby for a breakfast. He took a few steps, and the ground formed before him, and stayed as he walked further. Monsters on the way: Squirts and Windbags. I’ve never stopped to marvel at the odd names we’ve given these critters. Scumbag, Anklegator, Lunkhead, Rattletail, Pecker… These names feel like they could be a part of some fantasy world where animals are collected for battle. Although perhaps such a world would have chosen a different name for Pecker. Then the Kid stumbled onto the Bastion, where he found me. Perhaps I should have asked his name. With everything he’s done for the Bastion, I really should have. Veda perhaps? Nah, that sounds stupid. Plus he’s gotten used to being called the Kid.

I always thought rolling on the ground was impractical.
But if it makes the Kid faster...
Here’s the deal with the Bastion. This piece of land has a panel to let anyone ride the wind towards any location we can access. Look out at landing, though; even the Kid falls headfirst. I do remember that moment he told me about where he saw a perfectly fine and comfy pile of wheat to land on, and he fell right next to it. This universe has a wicked sense of humor, doesn’t it? The Bastion was created long ago, as a way to save us. In case of Calamity, break glass. There’s one problem though; its batteries are empty. The only way to refill them is to get Cores and Shards, scattered across the vast emptiness. Oh, certainly, I can send the Kid anywhere, but he’ll have to do some fighting on his own when he gets there. Good thing the weapons were left behind, ready for the Kid to use on his way.


As the Kid collects Cores, the Bastion regains strength, and the Kid can set up six buildings around it.
Need a boost? Have some booze.
-The Distillery, where the Kid can gulp down up to 10 drinks to help him out there. Effects of all kinds. It still baffles me how simple drinks can make the Kid, say, sprout spikes when he gets hit, or critically injure any opponent when he’s gotten weaker. Bizarre booze, no?
-The Shrine, where one can summon the Gods. Caelondia, Ura, we all worship the same ten gods. We kept our pantheon to a minimum. Much less of a headache that way. Only ten and they’re already trouble. The Kid’s summons will provide greater challenge when he’s out there, whatever he’s gone to do.
-The Memorial, where the Kid can remember the greatest things he achieved. Everybody needs something like this, for self-esteem. I’m glad no one got to see my Memorial. There are things in it I’m not proud of.
If I thought up a witty comment for every weapon
combination, it's because I had a lot of free time alone
while the Kid was out. Don't blame me.
-The Arsenal, also known as where the Kid can equip any set of two weapons for use on his quest. As a witty commentator of his adventure, I’ve got something to say for every weapon combination. There ain’t much else I can do at the moment anyway.
-The Forge, in which he can improve every weapon he finds. That comes at a price, but then again, in our situation, everything comes at a price. Each weapon's got up to five upgrades, and the Kid can change these upgrades around freely. Get the weapon just the way he likes it.
-And finally, the Lost and Found, a realm of objects lost in time, lost by whomever, lost by any folks who are probably dead now. It’s not like they’re gonna use it again, so why not take it, hm? A lot of it just happens to be material to upgrade the weapons found by the Kid on his way.

It's finally starting to look like a place I'd be proud of
calling "home". Until we find a home, at least.

Only one of each can be built with each Core that the Kid finds. Would be too easy otherwise. Come on now, stopping a Calamity isn’t like taking a walk in the park. You've got to put work into it.

On his quest, the Kid retrieves eggs of creatures that could still be saved, and will bring them back. You can get Squirts to help him this way, but that’s about it; the other animals stay at the Bastion. Their other purpose is to help repopulate their kind… but, that’s none of the Kid’s business.

"Want to forget it all around a bottle of werewhiskey?"
...Nah, Zulf was probably a teetotaler.
The other discovery the Kid made on his trip were two other folks. The Survivor and the Singer, as we called them, until we learned their names: Zulf and Zia. The world does funny things sometimes, of all coincidences, who would have thought that two rescued characters would have a Z as their initial. First Zulf is met as he was about to meet his makers, after he lost the few things that still mattered to him. The Calamity? It happened on his wedding day.

Later, the Kid also finds the Singer, Zia. She’s alone and playing a song. She played it for me, numerous times. How did it go again?


I comment on every trinket the Kid brings back.
Even if it's useless.
Ah, yes, I recall. It appears I memorized the lyrics to perfection. Zulf and Zia are from the Ura, the neighbors of Caelondia. They used to live underground, so they’re whiter-skinned than we outgoing, outside-living Caelondians are. We were always at war with them… over different ideologies, different looks. It’s crazy how much hate can come alive from a difference in skin color. They had a battering ram to break our fortifications, we had classes of weapon users of all kinds to strike back.

Zia, the poor girl, her world went bad in thirteen different ways. I learned her story, and I wanted to hug her. People can be monsters… I’d rather hang out with a crowd of Stinkeyes than with the jerk who insulted her kind, or with her father. And this folkloric Ura song… so peaceful, yet the lyrics celebrate their impending victory on Caelondia. Well, that ain’t happening now, is it? We’ve both lost, and if we keep up this confrontation, it’s just gonna get worse.

Should have kept that away from Zulf...
...Had we known what the darn book contained.
One day, the Kid comes back with a diary. A diary of secrets, of horrid tales… a diary in the Ura language, about Caelondia. About our machine to be used as a last resort in the Ura-Caelondian War. A machine powerful enough to shatter the land into a billion-piece puzzle. A machine whose creation I may have been involved in. I told ya, there are things in my past I ain’t proud of. With this new invention, we had become Death, the destroyer of worlds. It backfired on us, even if it’s an Ura who activated it in the end. Zia couldn’t read it, but Zulf could, and he left afterwards. I tell you, that’s one book I have no intention of narrating anytime soon.

I don’t know how he went away, but I know that around that point, the Kid had found the last Core. All we needed now was Shards. Like in some vague fantasy adventure world where the good guys need to collect items around to win… whatever it is that they win. We collect a few Shards...

I'll say it again, it's a shame that these misunderstandings
amd long-held grudges lead to us fighting instead of
helping each other in these times of need.
...And then, the tragedy. The Kid comes back to the Bastion while the Ura are attacking it. Their remaining forces, all together to ruin us some more. They kidnap Zia and leave. And the Bastion is all in disrepair. And so, from that point, the Kid collects Shards, restores the Bastion, and is out to look for the Ura to save Zia. With this, the Ura have become aware of the Kid’s quest, so they get in his way more often. Why? Because we Caelondians had the deadly machine, we don’t deserve to also have the machine to save everyone – even if it would also save them. Even in this situation, we focus more on past grudges than on solutions that would help us all.

Gotta destroy everything with the hammer.
The Kid's doing work for free.
From the start of his adventure, the Kid could go to the Training Grounds. There’s one of those for every weapon he finds on his way. Like a little game to see if he masters the weapon he’s got. It can give him money and items to upgrade these weapons, so that’s welcome. Some of them are difficult; some can only be completed if the corresponding weapon has been upgraded. It also doesn’t help that the Kid can’t go back to the places he’s already visited. On the second-to-last adventure, the Kid saves Zia from her Ura guardians and brings her back. But it’s not over, the last Shard is in the Ura’s base of operations, the Tazal Terminals. That place used to be underground, but it got flung high up… so it’s covered in snow.

These guys aren't used to seeing snow.

I don’t know what happens after this point. The Kid’s still out there, in the Terminals, fighting. I could tell the whole story to Zia. Every single detail, whether the Kid fell in one part or another, or if he went all-out against the closest items in his surroundings, or if he struggled to fight some enemies… I could tell her everything. The Kid told me in minute detail everything he did on his trip, even the sillier things. And I added those to my narration – if it can bring a smile to the poor girl…

The Monument - the Heart of the Bastion.
The option to go back time or move forward.
It's now the Kid's time to decide.
Speaking of Zia, some reveals were… difficult for her to accept. Still, she was better off listening to my smooth, suave, deep narrator voice as we were away from all the action, than be a part of it. I don’t know what will happen when the Kid meets Zulf. Will they fight, will they make peace? Someone knows, but it ain’t me. And when the Kid comes back with the last Shard… and with or without Zulf… We’ll let him choose. The Bastion will have its last Shard then, and we’ll be able to use its grand mechanism. I want to use the center of the Bastion to turn back time, go back to before the Calamity, so that we can prevent it. But that’s the problem with a reset button machine. You don’t know how it’ll work until you try it. And then your memory could be kept, or erased. And in the latter case… well, you might not remember what you wanted to prevent. Zia has another idea: Evacuation. We do not rewind time, we just… leave. On a search for a better place to live, away from the Calamity. In a giant ecosystem machine. The choice will lie in the Kid’s hands.

How could I describe this whole thing, really? As an adventure, I would say it’s great. We live in a damn pretty world, and I can imagine how impressive it must be for the Kid to see the world forming as he walks. The music? Stunning. Then again, I only have Zia’s songs as proof.

Battling enemies must be tricky. I can't imagine being
restricted to a single weapon in some sections.
I’m not out there in the field, so I can’t really say how it goes. I must imagine how much of a pain it must be to fight some enemies… Especially if the Kid’s equipped with the wrong weapons. Some weapons are impractical, troublesome even, at least till he upgrades them. The weapon-based challenges? Yeah, some are impossible till he upgrades the weapon for that challenge. At the end though, he can become a machine of pure destruction.

I don’t know where he goes when he reaches his bed, Zia’s cauldron of soup, my history books or the pipe. Who knows where is located the dream world he finds himself in. All I can imagine, however, is that he battles wave after wave of enemy, and wins, despite whatever story he hears there. The other worlds? They’re colorful.

It feels as though, even when he sleeps, all the Kid can
ever think about is fighting. And fighting. What?
Doesn't matter, as long as he fights.
I could say that the Kid’s slow walking speed is a problem. He would be faster if he just kept on dodge-rolling instead of walking. It’s a shame, too, that he doesn’t acquire the ability to jump – that could have come in handy. I can imagine the Kid wanting to revisit every place he knows, with some Shrines activated, to try to win despite the challenge - but it's impossible as every place visited cannot be viewed again when completed. If I was in the position of whatever controls him to do these things, I’d make him do that too. Sometimes it feels as though the Kid’s power improves, as if his "level" of strength increased; that seems like a long and tedious process, barely connected to his adventure. All it really does is allow the Kid one more drink at the Distillery

Speaking of, the Distillery is an interesting concept, and its drinks can make things a lot easier – or harder perhaps... I also quite enjoy the presence of our mythology in this story. It’s good to remember where we came from. And we have good morals to learn from this entire plot around the Bastion… even if we may forget them again.

A final reflection on the Kid's good friend...
who chose to become my enemy.
That’s an adventure. If I was its hero, I’d be happy to live it again. I would like to share it with others someday. Maybe there’s someone, out there, who finds these entries or who understands me as I’m telling this tale… and who decides they want to know more. I can’t blame them… It is a good story. It all depends on what the Kid does when he’s back, but this entry may or may not have to be rewritten again. We’ll see what he decides to do; going backwards, or moving forwards.

Some music, once more. Not much else we can do while waiting for the Kid.



(Out-of-character now, seriously, it’s an amazing game. Get it ASAP. Bastion: 14.99$ on Steam.)