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David vs Goliath, video game style

Review by Philippe – 7/12/2012


As mentioned a while ago, I managed to score Bastion on sale for really cheap. A few days later, Steam got to me again with Portal 2, selling for a measly 6.79$. Again, I'd have to be crazy to skip this. And right now, Portal 2 is going for 5 bucks. FIVE BUCKS. So I'm offering a double-bill review this time, just to reinforce how cheap I am.

Doesn't look cheap to me
Doesn't look cheap to me

Bastion and Portal 2 couldn't be more different. One is the maiden voyage of a small independent developer with very limited numbers; the other is produced by one of the most succesful and reputed companies in video gamedom. One took about 2 years to produce from scratch in a small house, the other took about twice as much time to make. One game had no advertising budget whatsoever; the other had ads on TV and every major gaming website. One has an overhead view with handpainted artwork, the other has a first person perspective in a fully realized 3D world.

I really feel like these two games illustrate the 2 directions I see video games going in: small independent entities producing original and low-cost IP that stick closer to the 8- and 16-bit eras of gaming, while still benefiting from conveniences of modern gaming; and then large well known outfits iterating existing concepts and pushing the limits of available hardware. I think both directions produce good games, though I feel that the independent way will probably help bring more original games, because of the lesser risk involved. Not that 2 years of 8 peoples' lives is a small risk, but it's still smaller than spending 4 years on a single project for a larger company like Valve. Then again, that's still probably a bigger risk than spending 1 year making a new Call of Duty game. Zing!

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