Published 26 June, 2014 | by Sam Hewitt0
Playstation 4 review: Transistor
Transistor is an isometric sci-fi action role playing game created by Supergiant Games – the team behind Bastion. Does this Transistor live up to its hype that got brought on by their fabulous work on Bastion? In one word. Yes!
One thing I do want to see before I get into the meat of the review is that I am not going to go too much indepth about the story, as that is one of the biggest selling points for the game. In short, you play as a singer that goes by the name of Red. Someone attempted to stab her with a sword called transistor, but some heroic male jumps in the way and not only loses his life, but also gets absorbed into the transistor.
You soon find out that the transistor has to ability to absorb the consciousness and voice of its victims. However, Red manages to lose her voice in the midst of it all. The game starts with you picking up the transistor, and your savior plays the narrator throughout the game.
The game starts of quite simplistic, almost looking a bit too bare boned. However, the deeper you get into the game, you then start to realise just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
As you progress the game, you will have to take on enemies that go by the name of ‘process’. You fight against them using abilities you pick up as you level up. You level in a very traditional EPG fashion – you enter a battle sequence and at the end of it you gain experience.
What makes this game different to others is that the battle system has two elements to it. You can either use the skills you have learnt thoughout the game as much as you want in real time. While this method can make for quick kills, it can also lead to your death just as quick, as you are very likely to get ripped apart by various enemies.
This allows me to introduce the other element to the battle system that goes by the name of “Turn()”. You active “Turn” by press R2, which then stops time and allows you to strategically battle it out. Here is a quick example of it below
At the top of the picture above, the bar you can see at the top shows you how much more room for maneuvering or using your abilities is remaining in that particular turn. Once you are happy with what you have chosen, you simply press R2 and Red will carry out the actions you gave her.
However, once the actions have finished, you will have to wait for the turn() bar to replenish, during this period you are not able to use your abilities (unless you assign a certain ability to cancel out this out) and you will be left vulnerable to attacks.
Each of the abilities you pick up throughout the game can be used in three ways: active, upgrade and passive, which allows for a ton of experimentation. I could go on for ages talking about how deep the battle system to this game is. You also have an area in the game which works at the games challenge mode. There are about 20-odd challenges overall.
Seeing as there not much more to this game than the battle system and its story, there is no exploring and going off on alternate routes as the game is very linear. That said, the linear nature suits this game down to the ground.
The aesthetics of Cloudbank – the city in which this game resides – and its inhabitants are absolutely stunning. If you player or seen Bastion before, you know the standard of visuals you are going to get in Transistor. There is not really much I else I can say about the visuals of the game. Just take a goosey at the image below, and think to yourself “what would this look like in motion?”
We now arrive to the section of the review where I am personally 50/50. The game’s soundtrack has been composed to perfection. Every single song in the game works in harmony with what is going on on the screen. The composer Darren Korb described the soundtrack as being “Old-world Electronic Post-rock”.
Red also gets the ability to hum near the start of the song, and her humming plays along with the song that is playing at that moment in time. A really nice touch added by Supergiant games. Check out the video below for an example.
I am not a big fan of Transistor when it comes to the voice acting. The narrator played by Logan Cunningham (the same person who was the narrator for Bastion) started to get on my nerves by continuously talking in such a mundane tone.
This goes for the other characters in the game who speak, they all sound like they have no personality whatsoever. Maybe this could be intentional to go along with the tone of the game, but it is something I didn’t like nevertheless.
The game will take you along the lines of about 5-10 hours to complete, depending on how thorough you go into the game’s story, as well as whether you complete all of the challenges or not. Once you have finished the game, you can start over with the game’s new game+ mode.
In typical new game+ fashion, you get to carry over your abilities and level over to the new game and carry on progressing from there.
For those trophy lovers out there, the game has a platinum trophy which is quite simple to get.
+ Phenomenal battle system
+ Gorgeous visuals
+ Top-notch soundtrack
+ Easy platinum trophy
- Boring voice acting
- Game is a bit on the short side.
Have you played Transistor? Please let us know what your thoughts on the game were by leaving a comment below. However, please refrain from writing any spoilers.