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Hands-on with Transistor on PS4

Justin Massongill's Avatar + Posted by Justin Massongill on Sep 04, 2013 // SCEA Social Media Specialist

Transistor on PS4

One of the most striking trailers to come out of E3 this year was that of Transistor, Supergiant‘s upcoming PS4 action RPG. After watching it a few hundred times, I made it my personal mission to go hands-on with it at this year’s PAX Prime — and after waiting in one of the longest lines at the show, I did just that.

Transistor on PS4

Transistor adopts a top-down, isometric view during gameplay, not unlike Supergiant’s previous title, Bastion. The overall art style is similar as well, with vibrant colors just aching to burst through the screen. Transistor takes on a more modern aesthetic, though, with a neo-watercolor tone permeating the scenery we’ve been shown so far. This style really shines — both in cutscenes encountered in-game, and in real-world prints that you can get from Supergiant’s website (like the one to the right).

A moody, melodic score complements Supergiant’s luscious visuals — I’m looping the E3 trailer nonstop as I’m writing this — seamlessly weaving between exploration, combat sequences, and cutscenes, and highlighted by Ashley Barrett‘s mesmerizing vocals. In case you’re as entranced as I am, Supergiant has confirmed that a soundtrack for Transistor will be made available at launch, or shortly thereafter.

Combat in Transistor initially plays like a standard action RPG: attack enemies to gain experience points and level up your character. Things get interesting, though, when the “Turn” system is introduced. At any point during a battle, you can pull the R2 trigger to stop time around Red, Transistor’s protagonist. While her foes are frozen, Red can reposition herself and plan a series of attacks, all of which will be executed in quick succession when you press R2 again.

Each movement and attack depletes a meter at the top of the screen, so you need to think your assault through carefully — wiping out a field of monsters (The Process, as they’re called here) in one meticulously-planned onslaught is intensely satisfying. After time resumes and your attack is finished, your Turn meter takes a few seconds to recharge, leaving you vulnerable while your enemies seek to retaliate. This prevents battles from becoming too one-sided, which is quite a feat in a game where you can freeze time.

Four attacks were available in the demo I played: Crash, a standard, close-range attack; Breach, which is especially effective for enemies lined up in front of Red; Jaunt, a quick dash that will get her out of harm’s way quickly; and Spark, a cluster of bombs that will make short work of a crowd of smaller enemies. Mix these different attacks up after activating a Turn, and The Process will know not to mess with Red.

Transistor on PS4

Transistor’s story is driven forward by dynamic narration, provided by the titular blue sword Red carries. As the Transistor speaks, a blue light pulses from its more transparent areas, matching the metre and accents of its speech. In my favorite use of DualShock 4′s new technology so far, the light bar on the controller matches the pulsing light on screen. It’s a small addition that some might not even notice, but it’s clever touches like this that have earned Supergiant my confidence.

Supergiant says we can expect Transistor in early 2014. Until then, I’m going to go watch that E3 trailer another hundred times.

//Add Your Own

36 Comments   6 Replies

1

+ TenshiOni on September 4th, 2013 at 10:05 am said:

Love the guys and gals over at Supergiant. Bastion was easily one of the best games of 2011, and I couldn’t be more excited for Transistor!

Keep on doing what you’re doing, Amir, Greg, Jen, and co.


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    + Justin Massongill on September 4th, 2013 at 11:07 am said:

    Yeah, playing this demo actually inspired me to go back and finish Bastion (never wrapped it up the first time around). I loved it, but I think Transistor is going to be even better.


2

+ Barence on September 4th, 2013 at 10:07 am said:

I’m really excited to get my hands on it. It may be a while but it will happen. Thanks for the read.


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    + Justin Massongill on September 4th, 2013 at 11:06 am said:

    It’ll be worth the wait.


3

+ IzoGray on September 4th, 2013 at 10:48 am said:

Please bring Bastion to Vita


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    + Justin Massongill on September 4th, 2013 at 11:06 am said:

    I’d LOVE to see this happen! Haven’t heard any news though.


4

+ paulogy on September 4th, 2013 at 11:03 am said:

Ah ha, a use for the light in non-camera games! :-)

Also, great preview


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    + Justin Massongill on September 4th, 2013 at 11:05 am said:

    Thanks! The pulsing light is *so cool*. It’s a really small touch, but it just makes such perfect sense. Supergiant really gets it.


5

+ firebranded on September 4th, 2013 at 11:21 am said:

Second for Bastion Vita (Maybe even PS4/Vita?) here, I have it on PC and love it and would play thru it on the go in a heart beat. I’m gonna buy that art that’s for sale too, Jan lee does such a good job.

Would love for this to be Q1 2014


6

+ Katriona on September 4th, 2013 at 11:29 am said:

This was a title that caught my attention from the get-go. I really look forward to playing this one next year. Now, I need to find a copy of Bastion…


7

+ Malik4Play on September 4th, 2013 at 11:30 am said:

Great inside look! Can’t wait for this!!!


8

+ xClayMeow on September 4th, 2013 at 11:34 am said:

Would have been sweet on the Vita!

Guess I’ll just have to get it on PC instead. Please go create the Steam store page so it can tease me in my wishlist!


9

+ hdx514 on September 4th, 2013 at 11:38 am said:

Haha they look so nervous on stage, cool game though.


10

+ DeathGazer on September 4th, 2013 at 11:47 am said:

One of the many reasons I have a PS4 pre-ordered right now. Day 1 whenever it hits PSN!


11

+ US_ARMY on September 4th, 2013 at 11:57 am said:

This game looks absolutely stunning! I cannot wait for this.
Justin, Can you find out the name of the song that was shown in the E3 trailer? Thank you!


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    + Justin Massongill on September 4th, 2013 at 12:55 pm said:

    “We All Become” by Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett. There’s an audio-only version of it here (though you can just loop the E3 trailer to achieve the same effect): http://youtu.be/RC0zlUm2_Iw


12

+ Kodax_ShC on September 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm said:

Most anticipated PS4 game so far!


13

+ JusteMilieu on September 4th, 2013 at 12:46 pm said:

This looks wonderful. Gameplay looks excellent.


14

+ AliciaDarky on September 4th, 2013 at 1:16 pm said:

Off-topic but I’m desperate: When is Final Fantasy XIV gonna be back on the Store!? I REALLY WANT IT! Sorry, but I’m extremly desperate because I can’t buy it somewhere else since I transfered my money to the wallet! At leat give me an estimated date, please!


15

+ TwinDad on September 4th, 2013 at 1:44 pm said:

This game was worth the wait. I really like Bastion, and can’t wait to play this.

It’s in my top PAX 10 games.


16

+ AliciaDarky on September 4th, 2013 at 2:34 pm said:

Oh, don’t worry… I just spent the money I had in the wallet.


17

+ gold_og_roger on September 4th, 2013 at 3:01 pm said:

Looks great, hopefully this is priced right for the content it provides. Love the art style and music.


18

+ Elvick_ on September 4th, 2013 at 3:05 pm said:

Really hope Sony help them bring Bastion to PlayStation at some point.

I know their focus is on this game, but I really want Bastion on my PS Vita or PS3/PS4.

Can’t wait to play this game.


19

+ U_NO_HOO on September 4th, 2013 at 3:14 pm said:

This game sounds really cool, can’t wait till I get to try it!


20

+ deafwing on September 4th, 2013 at 3:48 pm said:

Finally a new type of RPG (sort of) … i hate to say it though but it reminds me of Vagrant Story a little (but with much much much more options) … now if you spells and story end up being just as good (if not better) then I don’t see why this game won’t do well :D


21

+ tusunami on September 4th, 2013 at 4:24 pm said:

This seems like a good game can’t wait to here more about it.


22

+ sedirox on September 4th, 2013 at 7:14 pm said:

The more I read about Transistor, the more excited I get. 2014 WHERE ARE YOU???


23

+ Darkmoose84 on September 4th, 2013 at 7:40 pm said:

My wife and I can’t wait to play this. Thankfully, I’ve already got my PS4 reserved.


24

+ CommandingTiger on September 4th, 2013 at 7:52 pm said:

I know a lot of people are existed about the PS4.
But there’s a lot of PS4 fans that aren’t thrilled about the idea of Paying for Online Multiplayer.
And the people that do pay for that are a Minority.

Check Xbox, There’s 77 Million sold consoles, but only 20 Million are paying for Xbox Gold Live.

Now, thinking that some of them might switched over to PS4, given the total of people that currently has PS+, how many do you think would still want this console?

Yeah, for some, they can’t afford that 50$ per users, even with the free games.

I think, in the end, you would end up with 3 times more PS+ subscribers by letting Online Multi-player Free.
Not only will you sell the most console and dominate this Gen tremendously, but people who wouldn’t buy a PS4 because you had to pay to play for Online, might acutally get interested and end up paying for it.

Just saying, I’ve gotten a lot of negativity on the streets and they don’t come to forums to talk about it.


25

+ Koruee-bushi on September 4th, 2013 at 8:15 pm said:

I personally am not a big fan of indie games and Im actually quite disappointed with the video game market being flooded with these games over AAA titles. However, after watching this video, I must admit, it has truly spiked my interest and actually has me excited for more indie games. Only thing I would say is, instead of this and all those other indie games being forefront launch titles for the ps4, I see this more fitting for the vita.
(Yes, I know the ps4 is meant for 3rdparty developers to create games.)


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    + Justin Massongill on September 4th, 2013 at 8:29 pm said:

    I’m glad the gameplay video got you more interested in Transistor! I’ve been a diehard videogame aficionado for over 20 years now (wow), and I’ve never been more giddy about the industry’s prospects. There’s still a slew of huge AAA titles in the pipeline, but on top of that we’ve got all these ultra-creative, risky ventures that often end up being the games on everyone’s Game of the Year lists! I can’t wait for Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son and Driveclub, but I also can’t wait for Transistor, Octodad and Resogun.

    It’s a good time to be a gamer. :)


26

+ Azman007 on September 5th, 2013 at 4:59 am said:

Im very upset how i cannot play ps4 on my sub account. You have to have playstation plus to play online on ps4 and sub accounts can’t. will there be a way to upgrade to a master account for ps4? or atleast be allowed psplus? im 18 now and want to play ps4 online!


27

+ shrimpdude on September 5th, 2013 at 6:42 am said:

Would absolutely love to see this come to Vita!


28

+ Sum-Mischief on September 5th, 2013 at 7:06 am said:

Man you guys already have my money … I cant wait to get this.


29

+ realgone79 on September 5th, 2013 at 7:29 am said:

I love the bright, vivid colors which are characteristic of the forthcoming games for the PS4, so different to many of the first games that came out for the current generation which were criticized for being “brown and grey”. I can’t wait to pick up a PS4 in about 18 months, there are just too many awesome games on PS3 I have yet to play/finish!


30

+ plaztiksyke on September 5th, 2013 at 1:37 pm said:

Saw this game in action at PAX and it was visually stunning on the high contrast HD displays they were demoing on. It would be AMAZING to play this in 3D, I hope that’s a possibility given the relatively “simple” graphics load relative to the PS4 capabilities.

Here’s another vote for bringing Bastion to Vita/PS4.

The music in both these games is amazing, I hope the audio is 24-bit/lossless on PS4 and max bitrate Ogg on Vita.


31

+ Kchow23 on September 5th, 2013 at 1:43 pm said:

Definitely getting this day one and I also am hopeful for Bastion on Vita!


32

+ Seluhir on September 6th, 2013 at 4:29 pm said:

<— vote in favour of Bastion on Vita.


33

+ EggySong85 on September 7th, 2013 at 12:49 am said:

I’ve never even heard of Bastion, but Transistor looks right up my alley in gameplay. This looks awesome! I’ll have to look up Bastion now and see what it’s all about.


34

+ EggySong85 on September 7th, 2013 at 12:57 am said:

Just checked out the Bastion trailer, and I have to agree with the others, it looks like an epic experience for Vita!


35

+ TheOldGamer39 on September 7th, 2013 at 8:43 am said:

The more I see of this game the more I want it. Transistor and Contrast are my two top Indie pics for the PS4. I can’t wait for all the gaming goodness that the PS4 is going to deliver.


36

+ Noctisnox on September 24th, 2013 at 3:39 pm said:

Wow! this game is awesome! Can’t wait to play this one! I love the ability to stop time and plan your attacks. Cool!


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