Transistor - Analysis
Transistor is different from almost everything from its first seconds, in which it stops treating the player as a useless functional incapable of interpreting the mechanics, forcing us to discover and experience for ourselves every detail of this production. In this way, we begin by playing an unknown redhead, with a talking sword and a couple of attacks. Little more. No gimmicky introductions or lengthy introductory sequences. From here, a couple of tutorials are proposed, but organically integrated into the story and gameplay. Everything else we are learning on the go , which is tremendously confusing at first, but incredibly satisfying once we start to dive into the universe that arises.
In a way, it's like starting to read a book from scratch. From the outset there are no fancy characters or presentations, but rather more or less defined interactions and chapters in which there are some objectives that succeed others and unravel a plot that we experience in the first person. Perhaps that is the key, that in Transistor we are Red , a young woman that we will soon discover was a successful singer but who has had her voice taken away. What does a talking sword paint in all this? That we will discover little by little in a story that takes us by the hand, without moral choices or complications, but whose narrative is extremely enveloping and attractive .
All this, framed in a world of cyberpunk style of futuristic cut as unique as it is minimalist. A unique setting that combines with music to form a completely suggestive audiovisual experience. It is precisely this sound section one of the keys of the production, which is glimpsed by the profession of the protagonist and the possibility of humming. The battles will almost look like choreography and the pieces will be happening to frame each stage, which although always kept within the same visual style, knows how to differentiate between sections in a unique and distinctive way. The feeling of facing something completely different from this Transistor plane is powerful. And it is that few games will remind us visually or sonorically of the work of Supergiant Games , except perhaps Bastion , the previous and first title of the developer.
Of course, this effort to distinguish itself from the increasing competition (especially in the case of the PC, since PS4 is still quite short of RPGs) would not help if the game was played according to the standards of the genre. . Luckily, the aces in the Supergiant manga continue in this aspect to present us with an action rpg that has an affair with the most typical turns of other times. How do you eat this? In essence, in Transistor each main button of the remote will be assigned to a skill that we can previously choose among the available ones. We will use them in real time if it is what we want, as if it were a Devil, for example. Short or long distance attacks, possession attacks, summoning allies ... The range of possibilities is wide and ever increasing.
So far, nothing new on the horizon, but then Red's ability to stop time and plan the movements and attacks that follow according to a time bar at the top comes into play. Thus, we can calmly establish its movement, the direction of attacks, the number of blows ... And then activate it and see if we have succeeded with our combination to maximize damage. It is almost a bullet time that gives rise to planning and a thousand different strategies, managing to give depth to combat as we have rarely seen, thanks to the great variety of situations, enemies and attack possibilities. It never tires for time in Transistor.
The next layer of sophistication would come from the skill system . Each one of the abilities that we will collect can be assigned to the main buttons, equip as a secondary one, adding effects to the main ones or passively, which will make it possible to acquire certain abilities. The combinations are counted in dozens and we will have to experiment with them to find the style of play that best suits us. It is with all these pieces that Transistor manages to be clearly different , since during the six hours that the adventure lasts we will continuously change our attacks and abilities, continually testing. In addition, there is the fact that the back story is coming apart with the use of these different combinations, which will make us vary even more than we expected, making us feel continuously outside our comfort zone, but reasonably comfortable. We will be able to modify the abilities equipped in each control point and we will gain new abilities both through the story and when leveling up (at which point we will often have to choose between two possibilities).
Actually, there's not much more to add to Transistor's success formula , as it bases much of its success on this combat system and the infinite possibilities of its skill system. We will not see ourselves participating in absurd mini-games or trying other genres, nor suffering continuous interruptions in the purest quick time event style. The only concession that is granted in this regard is the 'island' of Red , a place where we can rest and listen to the soundtrack, play with our pet or participate in a series of challenges to our ability in which we must meet a series of predetermined goals -that is, typical in these cases-.
Despite this, when we finish the adventure for the first time, we will want to re-experience the benefits of Transistor in the New Game + mode, which will allow us to continue evolving to Red while we face enemies much more difficult than those found in the first lap and we explored everything we left behind. It cannot be said that this is a precisely complicated game, since death in combat only implies that one of our abilities is temporarily deactivated. In five to six hours we will have finished the game , something scarce if we do not intend to replay it, since its price is not exactly low (€ 18.99). Even with those, the experience is worth it .
Perhaps that is its great little mole (although some will say that it has just enough time to promote replayability and not tire the player or repeat itself), but it is not the only one. For example, we have not been very convinced by the fact that the camera is fixed , which occasionally makes buildings get in the way of our vision, making it difficult to fight or navigate the maps. Beyond this, we could have expected some difference between the PC and PS4 versions, reducing these only to the use made here of the Dualshock 4, which allows you to activate the speaker so that the sword speaks to us (in English, but with subtitles in Castilian) through command.