Transistor

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Transistor

Postby Adul » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:21 am

Transistor_28-aug-2013_01.jpg

Transistor is the next game from Bastion developer Supergiant Games, and it's scheduled for release on May 20. Like Bastion, Transistor is a sci-fi action RPG. You play Red, a diva of sorts who comes into possession of an artifact called the Transistor and ends up fighting for her life in an art nouveauesque city.

There seems to be turn-based combat in the game, but as of now I have no idea how it'll work. That's deliberate ignorance on my part, however, because I've been trying to keep myself in the dark in order to experience the game as freshly as possible without spoiling it for myself.

Here, have a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTik6sYT_BE

I didn't embed the trailer because I recommend watching it in full screen mode. It's pretty much the magnum opus among teaser trailers as far as I'm concerned. Gives me chills every time.
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Re: Transistor

Postby soap » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:31 am

Love the art style, and the trailer is great. It is just a tease, but it's got me curious.
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Re: Transistor

Postby Adul » Tue May 20, 2014 7:22 am

Transistor is to be released today, and there's a new trailer. This time I got a Kill Bill vibe from it:



I'll be sure to share my opinion of the game when I got to play it for a bit.
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Re: Transistor

Postby Adul » Thu May 22, 2014 12:20 pm

Warning: Giant wall of praise coming up!



According to Steam, my first playthrough of Transistor took almost 11 hours. Since I found the game absolutely brilliant, and because there is a "New Game +" option, I will keep on playing, but first I'll share my impressions with you guys. I apologize in advance, because I will mention Bastion quite often. Since Transistor is quite similar in many ways to the developers' previous title, it serves as a great reference point for comparison.

First off, the music, the voice acting, and the art style are the three of the many areas where Transistor excels. Music is an integral part of the story and compliments the gorgeous visuals perfectly, creating a truly haunting atmosphere. Like that of Bastion, the Transistor soundtrack was composed by Darren Korb and sang by Ashley Barrett, and the duo have outdone themselves once again. Logan Cunningham returns as the narrator, and even though he plays quite a different character from what he did in Bastion, he is just as good in this. Humor is not a terribly important part of the game, but there are some pretty funny cutscenes and narration once in a while which I thought were also worth mentioning.

Gameplay-wise Transistor is more of an RPG than Bastion is - you get an abundance of skills and skill slots, you level up, you combine different abilities together, etc. The skill system itself is fairly innovative. Red's weapon, the Transistor, has the ability to slot different "functions" (a.k.a. skills), and depending on what type of slot you're using with a function it can server either as an active attack/ability, as an upgrade to a different function, or as a passive bonus that always applies. There is a "memory" threshold that limits how many and what kinds of skills you are able to slot at a time and as you level up you get more memory as well as new slots and functions. You get to re-slot your skills as many times as you want at save points, and since there are literally thousands of viable combinations the game does a great job of making you feel like your build is your own. All in all this system has a lot of flexibility and depth, and keeps you thinking about new skill combinations throughout the game.

While combat in Bastion is light and sort of generic, in Transistor it seems to be one of the focal points of the game and is quite exciting. You get a mashup of real-time and turn-based combat, with Red being able to use her skills freely as well as in a planning mode called "turn". In turn mode, time freezes and you get to plan your actions in advance, and once you accept the changes Red carries them out in almost an instant. Thereafter turn mode recharges, during which time you cannot use any of your skills unless you specifically made arrangements in your character build to be able to do so. (And if you don't, surviving between turns will become increasingly difficult as you progress through the game.)

Like Bastion, Transistor uses a dynamic difficulty system, letting you choose from a set of different "limits" that make your opponents more powerful in exchange for increased rewards. I find this is much more interesting than a simple easy-medium-hard slider in the options.

If there is one area that I found lacking (and I found only one), it's the lack of player choice. I feel bad pointing this out because I understand why they did it this way narrative-wise, but Transistor is quite linear. You don't get to choose where you go or what you do, you basically only get to move forward on a set path, participate in fights, partake in different optional challenges, and interact with optional objects that trigger cutscenes and/or provide some reading or dialog. I found the approach Supergiant used in Bastion much more satisfying, where you got to select missions out of a central hub and progress through the game in the direction you chose. I suspect that this perceived step backwards was taken due to budgetary restrains, since the character progression and combat systems are much more sophisticated than they were in their first game and those must have taken up a lot of resources during development.

The story and writing are once again exemplary, and they do an excellent job of turning adult men into sniffling little children. :unsure: Uh... *ahem* ...so. The setting is very interesting and sort of difficult to comprehend. Ambiguity is the name of the game and pretty much everything is a metaphor, and although I'm still not sure my tiny pee brain has got everything there was to get about the world and the characters, this at least gives me a good enough reason to play through the game a second time. (Not that I needed more reasons, mind you.)

I have only encountered one bug in the game: mouse controls started behaving a bit funny after a couple of hours and didn't quite do what I wanted them to, but a quick game restart sorted it out so it didn't bother me too much. Additionally, running Transistor caused my GPU to overheat, although I don't think that's the game's fault. My hardware is acting real strange nowadays and I haven't yet managed to muster the mental strength to delve into what's causing it. Oh, I hate my computer so much. :frustrated:

So, yeah. Another excellent title from a developer with a spotless track record, and another one that I'm sure is going to be remembered as a landmark game. Thoroughly recommended for everyone. Scratch that, playing this should be mandatory as far as I'm concerned. Should be integrated into the high-school curriculum or something. :biggrin:



PS: If you want a more detailed look into the game (because let's be honest: despite my best efforts there's a limit on what giant walls of text can do), take a look at TotalBiscuit's first impressions video:

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Re: Transistor

Postby fable2 » Sat May 24, 2014 11:32 pm

This really sounds pretty damn good, Adul. I just might invest in it. Thanks for the mini review!
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Re: Transistor

Postby Adul » Sun May 25, 2014 9:16 am

It's my pleasure! I do think this developer deserve all the good things coming to them, and everyone should play their games in order to experience the sheer artistry involved.
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Re: Transistor

Postby Adul » Mon May 26, 2014 8:29 am

The RPS review of Transistor is out. Seems like they found more flaws with the game than I did, although they do a much better job of pinpointing the things that are the source of excellence behind Transistor. Huh. Turns out journalistic professionalism is worth a damn, who knew? :biggrin:

Fortunately, the weight was lifted off my shoulder when I got to the part of the review where the writer made a strong recommendation towards playing the game. Whew. :happy:

P.S. Re: Control issues. It helped me a lot when I figured out that I could drag-and-drop functions into your skill bar at the bottom. Saved me the trouble of going through that somewhat irksome skill-equip menu.
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Re: Transistor

Postby soap » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:36 am

Need to be careful with reviewers, some are good, some are bad. ... some find problems where there are none.

My friend showed me a Game Trailer review, and they made a complaint there was to much story.... ... so having a story is a flaw...
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Re: Transistor

Postby Praemus » Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:57 am

I've been interested in this, but after seeing a few responses like this, I think I'd really enjoy it.

Looks like I'll be picking it up on Payday!
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Re: Transistor

Postby fable2 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:44 pm

soap wrote:Need to be careful with reviewers, some are good, some are bad. ... some find problems where there are none.

My friend showed me a Game Trailer review, and they made a complaint there was to much story.... ... so having a story is a flaw...


No truer words ever written. The worst reviews are from all the people whose history of gaming genres comes back oh, 6 months, so everything is great. But others insist that a game fit in the neat bracket they've created, and woe betide any game that insists on being an imaginative hybrid or something new.

Right now I'm playing Reus, and Siralim. Neither fits comfortably into a preexisting category. And that's just as well. Sounds like Transistor is an interesting mix of RPG and strategy.
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