Ah, Transistor. After playing through Bastion I was wanting to play through this game. Thanks to PlayStation+, that finally happened.
I had seen some glimpses of Transistor before playing it so I had a vague idea of what it’d be like. Playing it, however, is of course vastly different from simply watching it. You are Red – a singer who has lost her voice and has been entrusted with the Transistor. You must eliminate the Process and get to the bottom of all this, and find you why it was you.
Needless to say, the story in Transistor is absolutely amazing. Well, some parts near the end start to drag a bit, but it is overall pretty amazing. Even still thinking about the ending makes me want to tear up – you didn’t really see it coming. If there’s any reason you need to play Transistor though… play it for the story.
Now the combat system seems like a bit of a hit or miss thing. Some people absolutely loved it, while I personally wasn’t really too much of a fan. It takes awhile to figure out, often with very little telling you what you need to know. There are combos you can make, but what actually makes these combos is up to you to discover.
The way combat works is a strategy like system. You have your Turn() you can do, within which you can plan out your various moves. You can have four moves equipped at once with the ability to unlock sub-slots and passive slots. This allows for a great deal of combos, though it’ll be pretty trial and error to find out what works best for you. Even at the end I was still figuring stuff out, mainly due to my limited memory slots to actually be able to equip things.
While you’re waiting for your Turn() to recover you’re pretty vulnerable to attacks, at least I felt that way. You can reduce the time it takes with certain skills, however it still feels like too long at times. This becomes even more painful near the end when you’re dealing with stealthed enemies that you can only hit at particular times. I near wanted to cry when I was facing these things and they just kept sending out things that would take half my health when they ended up hitting me.
Should your health be depleted to 0 you will overload. This removes 1 skill from your arsenal that doesn’t recover until you visit a couple access points. This, I found, tends to just lead me to dying more. While I only actually had to hit retry a couple times on some bosses, there was definitely some points where I got really close and had lost access to some skills I really liked for a bit.
So while Transistor’s story is absolutely amazing, I found the combat to not be that great. It felt a little over complicated if anything. Perhaps if you’re a greater fan of strategy games it will appeal to you more, but I’m just a person who wants to go in and beat stuff up. However, while I do see the merits in what Transistor’s combat is trying for, it really just does feel like it’s overly complicated.
Transistor Review Score
Transistor is available now on PS4 and Steam.