Publisher: Supergiant Games
Developer: Supergiant Games
Release Date: 5/20/2014
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Bastion was a fantastic game with a memorable narrative and fast-paced combat. Transistor slows it down a bit with more strategic combat and a slightly less memorable story. The story is about love. The whole story never really makes sense, you’re just thrown in the middle of some battle between a woman named Red, a man named Grant, and a sect called the Camerada. I had no idea who this rebellious sect was, who Red was, or who Grant was. I guess that’s kind of the point. You’re in some sort of computer world and the Transistor is your weapon. A horde called the Process is trying to kill you.
The combat can be done in real-time or you can stop time and plan out your moves. These moves eat away at a meter so you need to plan carefully. Each enemy has a different play style so you really need to adjust and learn each one. Your combat moves are completely customizable which is a nice touch. At Access Points you can load a main type of weapon onto each face button. There are two add-ons for each button and these will add characteristics to that weapon. Of course, you can make any weapon you have the main weapon. This is great because it allows for many combinations of weapon types. However, you have a limited amount of add-ons you can use until you upgrade your maxed-out stats. I found a very frustrating feature to be your weapons are your health. Once you lose health a weapon will break until you get two access points again. If all four weapons break it’s game over.
I honestly felt the game never really came together in any way except maybe the art and audio. The music is fantastic and the game is wonderful to look at. There are some boss fights thrown in but they’re extremely tough and will frustrate most players. I also found the game to be way too short; coming in at about 5 hours. With that said the main focus is combat here. The game is intense and the added element of strategy and the combination of weapons is all up to you. There’s a small test area you access to hone your skills (kind of like Bastion) but in the end, this game isn’t something I’m going to remember a year from now. It’s a nice attempt at a spiritual successor but doesn’t really come close.
The game also lacks replay value. It felt so frustrating that the last thing I wanted to do was play again. For serious masochists, there are limiters you can add to make the game even harder. Once you kill an enemy a cell will bust out. You get so many seconds before that enemy respawns unless you absorb the cell. A limiter can put a shield around this requiring you to break it before absorbing it to gain more XP. But remember, once you have used your time stopping the ability to plan out your combat you can’t fight in real-time until it recharges. You can literally lose a whole health bar in that 5 seconds.
With that said, if you loved Bastion you’re not really missing much here except some eye and ear candy. The story makes no sense despite having a touching ending, and I never really connected with any characters. It’s a fun weekend play through not much more than that.