Brandon Myers @BrandoCalrysian

Transistor is a stylish and smart action-RPG for PS4 and PC from Supergiant Games. In its sophomore effort, Supergiant takes everything that was great about Bastion and makes it better. I was spellbound by the beautiful cyberpunk atmosphere, the amazing soundtrack, and deep combat that left me wanting more.

Transistor’s visuals are really in a class of their own. The beautiful hand-drawn style of Bastion is transported to a more sci-fi setting and feels like something straight out of an anime. It really must be experienced to appreciate. The hero of the tale, Red, is a beautiful lounge singer who has had her voice stolen. Your sidekick is a talking sword who acts as your mouthpiece. He helps move the plot along and also has a few humorous quips to keep the mood light. I especially enjoyed the use of the light bar that flashes in sync with the swords dialogue.

Transistor does not hold your hand through the telling of the story. You start right in the thick of things and it’s really up to you to fill in the gaps and figure out just what has unfolded around you. Defeated enemies also have back stories and motivations that help flesh things out as well. Rest assured you are in for one great ride.

The combat is as unique and rewarding as any game I have ever played. You can fight in real time or freeze the action to plan out your attack. This is where the game really leaves itsmark. It really is a great feeling watching a series of attacks you planned out successfully vanquish your foes. It is the perfect mix of action and strategy masterfully executed by Supergiant. The skills you acquire by defeating certain foes varies from defensive to offensive, but can also be used passively to complement or strengthen other skills. There are also various checkpoints throughout the game that allow you to completely reset your skills if you want to change it up a bit.

Transistor also has mysterious doors that transport you to a beachside cabana area where you can hone your skills through numerous challenges, listen to music, and even play with your dog. The challenges start easy and increase in difficulty as you progress. Think of it as a break from the craziness unfolding around you.

As great as Transistor is, the music makes it even better. Red is a former singer, and music is as essential to this game as the combat. I have never been so engrossed in a game as I was when I put my headphones on and lost myself in the dark jazz fueled atmosphere of Transistor.

If I had one complaint with this game, it would be the camera. The fixed perspective can, at times, be frustrating. Every once in a while some objects will get in the way of the action. This would lead to Red getting lost behind buildings and other objects in the foreground. It didn’t happen very often, and wasn’t enough to really take me out of the action.

This game is an absolute must buy for any gamer that enjoys a dark atmospheric tale. The gameplay and music shine throughout, and while a little on the short side, the $19.99 price tag is more than worth the price of admission. Go out and play this game today.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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