I wasn’t a fan of Supergiant’s Bastion, but Transistor’s featured game mechanic of pausing time to chain together attacks was very similar to Dragon Age: Origins, and I hoped that perhaps the company might move away from the “always on” narration that drove me nuts in Bastion. To a certain extent, they did, because the eponymous sword Transistor does not actually narrate. However, he rarely shuts up, and so a frequent mantra for me while playing this was, “Will you please shut the fuck up?”
My feelings for the game aren’t helped by the fact that beyond the one nifty feature the game has, there’s very little to keep it interesting to me. The many locking arenas fill up with enemies that all look pretty much the same, and to up the challenge merely means facing the same evil robots with new upgrades. Toward the end, the game introduces an enemy called Man, and after fighting two of these, the games simply clones the same Man and makes me fight three and four of them in the same arena. It’s all very bland, and I never really felt engaged.
The story is pretty thin weaksauce. You play Red, a pop singer in the future who is attacked and somehow has her voice stolen. Her biggest fan steps in front of the Transistor sword, and he’s sucked into it and becomes the smooth, dull, droning voice that follows you through the game. What makes this premise such weaksauce is that seconds after picking up this sword, Red is wacking enemies with superpowers like she’s Corbin Dallas, and we just never got told about her extensive history as a wandering knight before she started her music career. And yeah, I know the game world could use a few more women characters, but Red’s about as bland as a glass of skim milk. Her weak story and lack of personality makes it hard enough to connect with her, but having her be the voiceless avatar makes her even less interesting. Really, the game could have been made with a man and the sword as an inanimate object, and the game would still be the same. Continue reading