Released: September 30th 2011
Take another step forward and prepare yourself mortal, for you are now entering the Dark Deity’s Bastion. Descend from the waterfall and make way to the room in which your trials await. If you are able to solve them and survive, the path to freedom shall be granted.
Bastion is one of those maps which appear to be bigger than they really are, not nearly as daunting as it may seem at first, instead using this size as a general focal point for design. The architecture is constructed using a lot of large, bold shapes and clean texturing to bring out this old school style of character similar to the classic levels, which stays strong throughout a majority of the map, using detailed lighting to bring out the remaining depth. This is done well not only by having a nice gradient effect, but also through the way in which it creates and atmospheric touch to its surroundings. Other methods to bring out depth is also done through contrast, while not used prominently, it can be found in small doses to break up a large area, for example, the longer corridor with the red stone floor. The author does tend to rely a bit too much on detailing through the method of square niches into walls with a texture placed there. It may break up some of the bareness with decoration, but at times it comes across as disjointed and an unnecessary addition.
There’s no holding back during the beginning through its choice of enemies, already having some mid-tier beasts waiting for you in the distance and throwing fireballs, axes and magical projectiles your way after dropping down from the waterfall. However, a good amount of breathing space is provided to get feared up and the choice to enter the nearby building or explore the surroundings first, to yield some goodies and quick access to weapons. After dealing with some pesky imps first of course. The experience is pretty standard for the most part, finding keys, switches and dealing with enemies, which is not too tough to accomplish here with the amount of open space for mobility. Enemies are scattered about in small doses, rarely in large groups and usually hidden away in effective out of reach positions. Where Bastion does have a unique edge on is toward the end with its puzzle based trials, offering a refreshing change of pace. From here on, the combat does get slightly tougher. The map is then rounded off with a simple boss finale, a little similar to the one found in Curse of D’sparil, except each rider this time has a separate colour to help distinguish between which one you have damaged the most. Very handy for this particular fight.
Bastion remains a strong level throughout from its design and gameplay, offering solid aspects in both areas. This comes from its bold architecture, detailed lighting and enjoyable combat. The puzzle based trials toward the end provide a breath of fresh air to avoid things getting stale and work well to give a distinctive edge to the map.
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