Full disclosure: I finished Transistor around noon on the 18th. I took a bit of time to gather my thoughts, then went to work. After returning, I took a bit more time to actually start the write-up, and wrote about half of it then. I really do like the game, but I found it difficult to write about said game, which accounts for the delay in the write-up.
Hey, I finished Transistor!
As opposed to last year and my Bastion write-up, I won’t be doing some silly stylistic choice attempting to mimic the game. That was a bad idea and I should feel bad about it. And also learn. Failures are great learning experiences, and I should learn not to write these at 3 AM local time.
Hey, focus here! There’s a write-up to write!
...Aaaand now I’m getting off-track. Transistor. Supergiant Games’ second game, released in 2014, offers a more turn-based focus to the isometric beat-em-up formula that served as Bastion’s core. Transistor’s core mechanic is the titular Transistor, an electric sword that pauses the action so you can plan out your moves and enact them at high-speed. You can add functions (attacks) to your sword, modify existing functions with other functions, or even have functions act passively in the background to provide some sort of buff. Inversely, the sword has the ability to turn on limiters which make the game harder in order to earn some extra EXP.
The story is a much more personal tale than that of Bastion’s. The plot centers itself almost solely on Red and her relationship with the man killed and trapped inside the Transistor, with the Process (this game’s version of Bastion’s Calamity) acting as background noise caused by the game’s villains. She goes to one of the antagonist’s hideouts to face them for what they did to the man, only to find that they had already taken their own lives. She then goes to the ringleader’s place to try to get the man out of the Transistor, with the added benefit of maybe stopping the Process, only to find that there’s one way in, and only one way out.
The one way out is to fight Royce, the ringleader of the antagonists, in a one-on-one duel in which you both have Transistors. This boss fight is easily one of the best I’ve played in recent memory, as you’re fighting an enemy on roughly an even playing field, who has all the same abilities as you.
Other things that were great about Transistor:
- The combat system lets you know if you are putting too much damage into an enemy so you can kill everything as efficiently as possible
- If you dump way too much overkill damage into a guy, the game will ask you “DO YOU EVEN READ” (I saw this in the final fight, I wasn’t sure if the boss was going to reactively Jaunt away or turn around in the middle of the attack, negating my backstab bonus. I chuckled.)
- Since Red lost her voice, the Transistor talks to her, and she talks back by typing in her thoughts at various single-use terminals spread out across the city. It’s great incentive to visit the terminals.
- If you lose all your health in combat, the game will initiate an “Emergency Turn” to get you out of trouble if you have your Turn() charged all the way up. If it was still charging, you lose your most used function for the next two-ish areas.
Finally, we’re at the end
So Transistor was a lot of fun. I may come back and visit it again for the NG+/Recursion, as I kinda want to start using the limiters, but I didn’t want to make my current run unnecessarily hard.
To wrap up Feburary, I’ve got some Nazis and some Nazi Zombies and some more supernatural stuff I need to kill with pipes and pistols. It’s time for Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, the stand-alone expansion/DLC to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. I should have more than enough time to charge through the game on Normal and collect all collectibles, then do another run on Uber and grab the rest of the cheevos. If I find myself a little tight on time, I’ll just do the write-up on my Normal playthrough, but I’m hoping to also have input on Uber. I’ll see you for the last game and then the recap finale by the end of the month!