PAX13 – Transistor Impressions


Bastion was one of the biggest surprises in my gaming life. I bought it upon a friend’s urgent demand that “I need to play it.” So I took his word for it, and the game that I had passed off as “that one with the narrator or something” became one of the biggest gaming highlights that the XBLA service had to offer at the time.

Fast forward to today and Super Giant Games is working on their next title Transistor. Having played Bastion, I am now fully prepared to expect that I won’t know what to expect when Transistor launches sometimes next year.

That said, I played the PAX Prime demo and I’ve got a few things to say: One, the game looks fantastic. The painted art deco feel really just makes the whole thing a joy to look at. Two, gameplay is much tighter than Bastion. I guess I just assumed both games would play similarly, but Transistor has this added functionality that can turn it into more of a strategy game, allowing you to plan your moves ahead of time and execute them, if you feel like it. Three, the sound design is absolutely phenomenal. I hate to keep bringing up Bastion, but if there’s one thing anybody who has played that game can agree on, it’s that the music and voice acting were top-notch.

The entire demo acted as an extended tutorial for the mechanics of the game. With a sword in hand, you hack your way through multiple enemies along with some special skills you acquire along the way such as teleportation and an electric based melee attack. However with a press of a single button, combat freezes and allows you to plan your next move by acting out a plan of attack, then once you allow time to resume Red will automatically enact the course laid out to her by you. It’s all very tactical and can be used as much or as little as you want to.

Transistor looks to continue that tradition with the returning voice cast and composer, and just the 15-minute demo showcased the full auditory splendor the game will offer. I’ll probably be picking up a physical soundtrack the moment I get the chance.

If you’re curious, then I will tell you that Transistor was basically my game of PAX 2013 and I hope you go and check it out if you get the chance. You won’t regret it.

The game will be out sometime 2014 for PS4, PC, and Mac.

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