Oh goodness gracious me oh my oh tickle me red and green and black and gold and all the colors of the cyberpunk noir rainbow, Bastion developer Supergiant’s Transistor is looking magnificent. Sure, at first glance it doesn’t seem to have fallen far from the narration-prone, hack-‘n’-slash-heavy tree, but there’s no denying that this place feels just as uniquely alluring as Bastion’s pastel paradise. Plus, other bright spots – for instance, the entire combat system – crackle with intrigue, making this one to watch by any measure. And watch it you can, right this very moment. 18 whole minutes, in fact, just after the break.
Yes, it’s a PS4 demo. Sorry about that, but some things supersede petty (and largely overblown; videogames are great no matter what box you stick them in) platform rivalries, and Transistor easily fits the bill. Also, you get the benefit of some fairly interesting developer commentary, which a similar slice of the game captured by Total Biscuit lacked.
There’s a lot to digest here, but – having tried a demo a while back – I can say that these early chunks of Transistor feel just as good as they look. Combat, especially, surprised me, handling like a more position-focused VATS. There’s nuance to both how you strike and where you end up, as you’re quite vulnerable (though hardly helpless) when you run out of points. Also, there’s something magnificently satisfying about braining up complex tactics and then watching Red instantly carry them out with ruthless efficiency. It’s kind of like pulling a trigger, and she’s a human headshot.
There’s heaps more I could go on about – for example, the role of the sword-bound pseudo-narrator as less of a supposed authority and more of a tag-along with an agenda – but you should really just watch the whole video. Personally, I think Transistor looks just different enough from Bastion, but how are you feeling about it?