Transistor Review

Put simply, the Supergiant Games PlayStation 4 exclusive “Transistor” is one part Bastion, one part XCOM.


 

“Look, whatever you’re thinking, do me a favor; don’t let go.”

The Transistor, Transistor

The story follows the fiery protagonist, Red, who finds a weapon named the Transistor; a fluorescent Great Sword which, ironically, was originally going to be used in an assassination attempt against Red. She finds the weapon buried deep inside the torso of an unidentified man who appears to be connected to Red in some way.

Just like in Supergiant’s other game, “Bastion”, Transistor is home to a silent protagonist, and while Bastion featured the narration of a quaint old man to help guide the story, Transistor’s narrative is provided by the aforementioned unidentified dead man (whose soul was absorbed into the Transistor weapon, along with Red’s voice), and I think having this ethereal guide really adds an extra layer to the storytelling elements in the game.

As the details of Red’s past activities are revealed throughout the game, we are given snippets of information regarding the bigger picture, similar to how worldly information is hidden inside games like Dark Souls and Resident Evil through the use of secret books and hidden audio logs.
Another source of information is the City News System, an ever present feature in Cloudbank that gives the player updates as to how the city became the dystopia that it is; you can also interact with public information terminals which provide both insight as to the political goings-on in the world as well as the latest scientific achievements that are being discovered in-game.

T2

The Transistor weapon is not only our gateway into Red’s feelings, but also those of the mystery soul, and thanks to the exceptional voice acting of Logan Cunningham we are treated to a wide and expressive portrayal of his feelings and emotions. One of Transistor’s strongest aspects is the deep and complex combat system found within the game; it adds together equal parts Hack and Slash with equal parts Turn-based strategy, meaning each battle feels exciting and fresh.

Like most action RPGs, Transistor uses a levelling system in the form of a Skill Tree, inspiring the player to experiment with hundreds of different combinations; each individual battle-focused attribute can be fixed to one of the four directional buttons found on the D-pad and then each attack can also have added upgrades and buffs, giving you access to unique and personalised playstyles.

The brilliant hand drawn art style that is present throughout the game helps to immerse the player into its cyberpunk setting, and the ever present jazz melodies composed by Darren Korb give the city of Cloudbank one of the most engrossing and stylistic settings found in third gen console gaming.

The main stand out feature to come out of Supergiant Games is the superb use of sound throughout their titles; from the surprisingly effective use of the PlayStation 4’s controller speaker (through which the narrator’s voice is projected), to the games’ title songs. Below, you can listen to “We All Become”, the incredible opening track used in the cinematic introduction for Transistor.

All in all, if you are a fan of Turn-Based Combat systems or a lover of the Cyberpunk genre, Transistor is definitely worthy of your attention and is a true hidden gem amongst the PlayStation 4’s library.


Genre: Action / RPG / Cyberpunk

Age Rating: N/A

Developer: Supergiant Games

Publisher: Supergiant Games

Platforms: PC / Mac / PS4 / iOS

Player Modes: Single Player

So what do you think? Have a think and let us know in the comments section below.


– Aaron

 

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