So perhaps this keeps happening to me because I only play a level of Bastion every two weeks or so, or perhaps it is because I’m normally a console gamer (although there was once a time in my life when I was die-hard PC and thought I’d never own a console… ha!), or maybe I’m just really terrible at keyboard controls (although I don’t think that’s the case, since I’m a pretty bad-ass Team Fortress 2 player on PC, if I do say so myself), but I just can’t stop falling off the world. And in the last section I played, the floor was falling out from under me, so let me tell you, THAT was fun (no, no it wasn’t). There’s nothing quite like falling off the world only to be dropped back on a tile that is no longer there and falling off again.
I’ve also almost entirely lost interest in the plot. What I’ve managed to keep track of at this point is that the world is falling apart (literally), because reasons. I’m also getting really sick of the Stranger’s mediocre voice acting, mostly because he sounds like he’s trying far too hard to be a hard-boiled Old Timer from a milque-toast Western (and I don’t generally like Westerns, although – totally random side-note – I saw The Dark Valley, which is a German Western, last night on Netflix and it was incredible).
I did have a moment of appreciation for the fact that the last level I played had no Core for me to pick up, if only because that makes the game just a little less predictable. I got some “Burnt Stuff” (for a weapon I apparently don’t have yet) and grenades, so at least it wasn’t a pointless level. Who doesn’t love grenades?
But since the lack of a Core apparently “isn’t going to stop us,” according to the Stranger, I keep going on to the Hanging Gardens, where “the dead welcome him with open arms.” That’s not at all creepy or foreboding. The Stranger tells me that “the Calamity took everybody after all.” Last Kid Standing. Or, in my case, falling. Especially when I discover that parts of this level that look solid aren’t. At all. (But, hey, I must be getting better at this game, because I managed not to fall off more than once this time! And that one wasn’t entirely my fault.)
There are statues in this level, statues which I have the strong suspicion aren’t actually statues at all, but the dead, people frozen in grey ash like a floating digital Pompeii. I can hit them, according to the red reticule on my mouse cursor. I’m not going to… at least not unless the game makes it clear I should be. But for now, I’m going to err on the side of respect for the dead, mostly because I want to see what the game does with that, but also because ghosts tend to get angry and hurt you in games when you destroy their bodies.
And apparently I’ve been alt-tabbing too much to write this, because the game just crashed. Okay, fine, no alt-tabbing.
I lied. I’m alt-tabbing again. It’s just too hard to do this without keeping track of who says what as I’m going.
According to the Stranger, someone knew the Calamity was coming. Someone, apparently, like this mime-looking fellow on the little floaty island next to me. So I fight my way around the island, and, as I go, the Stranger tells me about each group of frozen Pompeii-people I pass—who they are, and the fact that they “didn’t make it.” On my way I pick up some sort of object called an Ura Sigil, take the core out from the center of a circle of Pompeii-people, and then walk up to the mime.
I’m expecting a boss fight. I don’t get one. In fact, I take him—Zulf—back to the bastion with me. Turns out he’s an Ura (whatever that is, although I get that he’s from far away, sent here to make peace between our peoples) and a gentleman, unlike myself and the Stranger, whose name (I now learn) is actually Rucks.
Okay. So now we have names. Except for me. I’m still the Kid, I guess.
This time, when I put the Core in the Monument, more land appears and the Stranger—sorry, Rucks—says that the Cores remember: “That’s why things are comin’ together.” That seems like a nice note to end on. For now.