Transistor - Released & Review Roundup
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May 21st, 2014, 20:28
Imho the game is quite overrated and gets a lot of sympathy because it’s from the bastion guys and because it’s quite artsy.
But as a Game I don’t think it works particularly well.
The German Magazine GameStar.de gave it a 74% and called it “too clever to be fun”.
Well, of course with the rating system which is commonly used today all games which actually run already get 60%+ upwards anyways.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend the game. Played it for 2-3 (out of the 5-7 hours needed to complete the game as it seems) and just didn’t have fun. This is what I wrote on steam:
Where Bastion scored with simplicity and threw you right in an involving albeit abstract story where you had fun with the narrator, the spark in Transistor just doesn't ignite.
The story is even more abstract, and what gave you some familiarity in bastion (like talking about the inhabitants, telling you where they lived and what they used to do) you play a singer in Transistor, who was kinda attacked…and pulled a speaking electronical sword out of a dead guy which…eats souls which are actually programs…let's say it's very abstract or "artsy" and does not provide much familiarity. You don't really know/ understand what is happening and what you are doing.
It's about the same with the combat. In Bastion you run around having fun beating on stuff, testing out weapons, destroying objects in the game world. In Transistor there are no objects in the game world which can be destroyed (besides of white blocks) the enemies (evil programs) aren't as plastic as in Bastion and the combat doesn't feel really like one big working mechanism. You hit "turn", can plan for the next couple of seconds, and then hit "turn" again where all the actions are executed. However the planning doesnt feel very good, as it's inexact and you need to issue some orders multiple times "to get them right". It requires some fiddling with the controls and the "planning tool" (holding attack button) might show that it hits enemies, which it actually isn't. And after you executed one turn…you need to either fight in unprecise, hectical action combat or flee and run like a little girl and wait till the "turn" button is ready again. This just doesn't feel fun.
And there is the skill system. The skills are souls/programs which you can combine with each other which gives a lot of options and sounds nice on paper. But it doesn't really feel like "I need to try this out!" and rather "ok…now how do I built something with it which is at lease somewhat useful?" Also the overview and Interface of the skills isn't really well done and explained well.
The game is actually doing not a great job in explaining several of the mechanics and what is happening in the game. t throws you into the game, gives a hint now and then but you don't feel like you know what you are doing. Something which simply could not happen in Bastion.
Bastion scored with simplicity. You got a bow, shot with it, tweaked it, and it just felt "right".BEsides of that Transistor is also a really short game with it's 5-7h though it has an additional mode with random enemies to bring replayability if this is really what you want.
Therefore I do not recommend this game. If you don't mind the whacky combat and find the abstract story involving, you might be interested. And if you didn't play Bastion yet - get that one instead.
I am aware that some people won't like it if I write a negative review about a game which "must be good, because these guys made bastion" (and who might not even read these lines and downrate it right away) but I think I am intitled to say that Transistor does not live up to the expectations and just doesn't feel right. Switching to a more tactical combat isn't bad. I am a big tactics fan on my own. But it's not well implemented and doesn't feel good and fun.
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