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Transistor - More Previews

by Couchpotato, 2013-06-17 01:14:07

Here are a couple of recent previews and one interview for Supergiant Games' upcoming action-RPG Transistor.


Besides launching both short and long range attacks along a prescribed axis, the Transistor grants Red the ability to stop time, move from cover to cover or around her opponents, and launch multiple attacks on multiple targets in a single ‘turn.’ Each decision drains a section of the Transistor’s stored power, and when the power bar is drained, the player must execute the chosen moves in the real world, watching as Red makes real what they had planned out beforehand.

If all of that sounds a bit more complicated than Bastion’s brawler mechanics, the game’s tutorial helps communicate the surprisingly intuitive and simplistic control scheme against a number of single enemies. But when the Process arrives en masse, the game’s true genius begins to shine through. As mentioned above, Red’s attacks are only damaging along a single line drawn directly out from her position; if the player can manage to line up the enemies like dominoes, Red’s attacks are capable of inflicting damage against everytone in that path.

Those who recall the more frenzied and frantic sections of Bastion’s endgame – or that game’s Training modes for individual weapons – don’t need to be told just how quickly a battle can become a fast-paced game of chess. Planning out repeated strikes against larger opponents and seeing the damage to be inflicted stack up on screen, or using attacks with higher splash damage to inflict widespread injury is satisfyingly calculated. The balancing comes when Red is forced to seek cover and stay mobile until the Transistor recharges, before returning to the offensive once more.


At the top of the screen is a meter that comes into play when you press R2 to immediately freeze time. At this point, you can move Red around and queue up attacks. Each of these actions takes up a portion of the meter, but you are free to move and line up attacks on rows of enemies, which is where the unique pattern of each attack comes into play. Once you're ready, pressing R2 again will unfreeze time, and Red will execute all of the selected moves and actions. Enemies are still able to move — albeit slowly — during this phase, but careful planning of attacks often allowed me to wipe out an entire room of foes. The meter recharges quickly, so the flow of combat has a unique pace, with real-time action beats alternating with meticulously executed queued combos.

The queuing mechanic also seems like it will be used in puzzle solving. One such situation included a locked door with two switches. Pressing both switches would open the door, but not long enough to pass through. By using action queuing, I was able to hit both switches and pass through the door before it closed. I was pleased to see this, because it gives me hope that the full game will feature more extensive puzzles that make creative use of your abilities.

And finally an interview with creative director Greg Kasavin.

Regarding the greatest excitement of working on Transistor, Kasavin noted that the team simply enjoys making deep and interesting worlds wherein players "give a damn." The team enjoys its games' unique identities and wants to explore the limits of their potential. When asked if he felt pressured to produce a game at the level of Bastion's success, Kasavin noted that the real pressure comes from being surrounded by so many talented people on a daily basis and wanting to contribute as effectively as his colleagues. He also remarked that debate and disagreement within the company aids in the creative process, ultimately providing a better product. Fortunately, events such as E3 present the opportunity for validation from the public, letting Supergiant Games know that they're moving in the right direction.

In terms of qualities specific to Transistor, Kasavin noted that "The Process" is a sort of force that seeks out the Transistor, a blade that the protagonist, Red, discovers at the onset. While exploring, players encounter columns jutting from the floor and monsters; Kasavin states that this is The Process. The sentient blade, Transistor, is aware of The Process, and responds in the present, differing significantly from the omniscient narration of Rucks in Bastion. I asked Kasavin if the types of powers gained from the dead bodies Red encounters had anything to do with the deceased's former lives or personalities, to which he was bemused, noting that that may be a motivation behind the types of powers gained.

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SP/MP: Unknown
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Genre: RPG
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Release: In development