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    dkirschner's Transistor (PC)

    [August 8, 2016 09:11:17 PM]
    Well, I didn't anticipate Transistor taking only an afternoon to complete. As a follow up to Bastion, this is excellent. It didn't immediately grip me in the same way, probably because it uses several of the same elements that Bastion did; the narrator and the difficulty system, for example. But after I figured out the combat and got into the flow of the game, it had its teeth in me. Like I said, I played the whole thing this afternoon.

    The biggest departure from Bastion is the combat. It's in real-time, but also has a turn-based mode that you can trigger to set up combos and whip around the arenas, gaining backstabby rear positions on enemies or sprinting to safety while the enemies stand there. I very much enjoyed it. You unlock a ton of "functions" (which are like attacks) and place them into various slots. You can have four functions equipped at any given time, one in each "active slot," but each active slot also has two "upgrade slots," and you also get four "passive slots." Now, each function can go into ANY of these slots, and the functions do different things depending on the slot AND depending on which other function you equip it alongside. There are a whole lot of possible combinations, and it's a lot of fun experimenting and learning which combinations are good for which types of enemies and environments.

    Take the function Crash for example. Crash is a basic melee attack. If you equip it in an active slot, then you can run up to an enemy and swing at it. If you put Crash in an upgrade slot with another function, it will usually add some sort of stun effect. If you put it in a passive slot, you take 25% less damage and are immune to stun. One big combination I used a lot at the end of the game was Ping (fires a bolt of energy) in an active slot with Mask in one of its upgrade slots. Mask most upgrade slots raises damage from backstabbing, so my Ping did 125% damage from behind. Then I put Tap (life steal) in Ping's other upgrade slot, so I stole 2% HP every time I shot an enemy. Then I put a massive attack in another active slot, called Cull. I upgraded that one with Purge, which adds damage over time. In my passive slots, I usually had Load, which drops a mine every 10 seconds that you or enemies can blow up, and Spark, which spawns a copy of myself every time I get hit, and Bounce, which gives me a passive damage reduction shield. Note that if you place these functions in other types of slots, the bonuses change! So if you want to automatically drop a mine, Load has to go in the passive slot. If you want your Ping or any other attack to shoot more bullets, you must equip Spark in its upgrade slot. And you can only put a function in one spot (you can rearrange at save points), so every choice eliminates many other uses for the function.

    Finally, I made sure to have Jaunt (a dash) in an active slot because only in an active slot can you use Jaunt during Turn() recovery. What is Turn() recovery, you say? Well, Turn() is your strategic planning mode that you can enter when the Turn() meter fills up, which it does naturally and fairly quickly. When it fills up, you can press RT and then cue up as many actions as will fit in the Turn() bar, where some actions cost more than others. When you press RT again, your character does whatever you told her to do. It's risky though because the more of your Turn() bar you use, the longer it takes to recharge, and you can't use your abilities at all unless the Turn() bar is full, either in the real-time or turn-based mode. This is why Jaunt is so amazing in an active slot, because you can take your Turn() actions and then get away while the bar recharges. And if you put Jaunt in an upgrade slot with most other abilities, it makes that ability usable even if the Turn() bar isn't full.

    Wow, long explanation. The combat system is pretty great, and I wish there were more! You can play the game again on New Game + and keep your levels and functions, which is nice.

    If you played Bastion, honestly the feel of the game is familiar despite it being in a different place with a different story. It's still a world destroyed and you're trying to stop its destruction and bring it back to life. And there's also a sort of twist on that idea, the titular Transistor. There's a narrator, like the old guy in Bastion but not as good, although he's a lot more of a character here, which was good, since Red (the main character) carries him around with her. (The narrator is a guy trapped in the sword, the Transistor). It's got the same sort of difficulty system, which is still brilliant. It rewards you making the game harder with bonus XP. I was running 3-5 of the difficulty upgrades the whole game to make it more challenging. I'm sure the game is simple without any of them turned on. There are also some time trials and other challenges, and I beat all that are available on the first play through (yay!).

    The ONE thing I disliked was the ending, which is weird, because I usually am very accepting of endings, even those that other people hate. It was very abrupt and I feel it weakened the Red character. I can't say much without spoiling, but I think it was an easy and quick way to wrap it up. I don't buy it, and have questions! Nonetheless, the game is worth playing for sure, and I recommend it.
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    dkirschner's Transistor (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 8 August, 2016

    GameLog closed on: Monday 8 August, 2016

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Great gameplay, art, and story. Abrupt and unsatisfying ending though. Want more.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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