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Transistor (Video Game Review)

Transistor is the newest release from indie developer Supergiant Games, creators of Bastion. Transistor brings back much of what worked so well in Bastion, but the new game is definitely its own title. The new action RPG packs an entertaining storyline that has players immersed in the experience from the game's intro. The game also features a mesmerizing soundtrack that rivals that of Bastion and Transistor is the best looking game the company has put out yet. Rather than choosing one over the other, gamers should immediately add both Transistor and Bastion to their gaming libraries and experience a couple of the best indie games the video games industry has ever seen.

Transistor tells the story of Red, a former singer and performer turned vigilante when an assassination attempt fails but leaves the protagonist in control of a powerful weapon. The game picks up the main narrative with some of the action already passed, and gamers must piece together clues and new information to learn what has already happened and what is yet to come. It's an interesting way to tell a storyline for this futuristic setting that will have players itching to learn more until the very end of the game.

The gameplay featured in Transistor would be classified in the action RPG genre. Red will level up and find and unlock new abilities throughout the game. The way in which the new abilities are used is what sets Transistor apart from other games in the same genre though. Red can equip up to four different primary attacks with abilities such as a homing projectile or quick dash that can be used offensively as well as defensively. Each ability has a secondary effect that can be equipped as well that gives bonuses such as greater area of effect or additional ricochet. These can be combined tactically however the player chooses, and the game doesn't force players to use any combination of abilities at any point during the game.

There are tons of secrets scattered around Transistor to add more hours of gameplay to a campaign that will already last most gamers 6 hours or longer. Hidden areas can be located to fight hordes of enemies and attain bonus loot. There are also hidden terminals scattered around levels that give further insight into the game's world and its inhabitants. Most players will likely choose to play through Transistor more than once for different reasons, whether its climbing the leaderboards, looking for secrets or finding additional storyline elements that may have been overlooked the first time through the game.

Like Bastion before it, Transistor features a fantastic soundtrack that may be the game's strongest quality. Most of the themes in the game are instrumentals and really go a long way in setting the tone of the game. The game's main protagonist has lost her voice at the beginning of the game, so the words that would be sung in songs are hummed along with the beat instead. The music featured in Transistor is dynamic and will change with how players progress in combat for a really nice effect as well. Fans will no doubt have a fondness for the Bastion soundtrack so far after the game's release, but Transistor should prove to be just as addictive and enjoyable when enough time has passed.

One major improvement Supergiant's newest release makes is in the graphics department. Transistor is currently available on PlayStation 4 and PC. Both versions of the game look fantastic with colorful and highly detailed graphics that easily trump the visuals of the developer's previous releases. One flaw in the visual style of the game is the isometric camera angle the game is stuck at throughout the campaign. Transistor takes place in a massive, futuristic city, and the skyscrapers that surround the player can sometimes obstruct players view and cause some issues in combat or simply figuring out where to go next.

There aren't any real differences in the two versions of Transistor. The PlayStation 4 version of the game includes an ability to have the game's main narrator come through the speaker on the console's controller, while the Steam version comes with Steam Trading Card support. Gamers will likely choose to play the title on whichever platform they prefer over the other, but Transistor is an excellent title that most gamers will love and should download right now.

Transistor is now available for PlayStation Network and Steam and can be purchased for $19.99. Transistor is rated T by the ESRB for Mild Language & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Transistor website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • From the Creators of Bastion
  • Dynamic, Original Soundtrack
  • Steam Trading Card Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer & Publisher: Supergiant Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & PC (reviewed)
Release Date: May 20, 2014

Score: 9.5 out of 10
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