I remember PAX East 2011 fondly, sitting down with the team behind Supergiant Games and getting to play Bastion. I am still unable to fully describe how in awe I was after I stood up from playing the first 20 minutes of that game and, as many of you know, Bastion went on to become my game of the year and I absolutely loved it.
Wednesday, before the start of PAX East 2013, Supergiant Games chose to announce their latest title, Transistor. Not only announce its existence mind you, but announce that it would be playable at PAX East. Since Jeff and I didn’t get there until Saturday, Jen was scouting things out for us and she let us know that the wait to play was over 4 hours long. With that in mind, we weren’t sure whether or not we’d get the chance to play it as we approached their booth on Saturday, but I wouldn’t be writing this preview right now if we hadn’t.
Transistor gave me something that I haven’t experience in a video game in quite some time. I was once again in complete awe. I was speechless, completely enamored and beyond amazed that another title being released under the Supergiant Games name could have this effect. There were a few “Oh S***!” moments that I am still having a hard time putting into words.
During the first combat I was a little shocked because it felt slow and sluggish. It wasn’t until the second combat that everything made sense. The shift into this alternate “turn based strategy” mode was jaw dropping, and the first of the “Oh S***!” moments. Adding on this new layer of combat was more than impressive, it was awe inspiring and most importantly fun. It was extremely accessible as well, which is very important for those that generally don’t enjoy the turn based idea.
They are doing the “Bastion Thing” by having a narrator, though it’s very different. Rather than telling a story to those gathered round, he is talking directly to you. He’s a guiding voice in the darkness of this very strange and excited world. You don’t know why you are here, but you are. You don’t know why they are coming after you, but you have this strange voice to guide you, it makes it a little comforting to know that you aren’t going at it alone.
The art style is beautiful to say the least. Jen Zee’s vision for this world is something to behold, and if your breath isn’t taken away then you simply aren’t human. Cloudbank looks like something from a movie, a place you would like to live. The mix between the gritty almost 1920s dystopian style of Cloudbank and the clean sterile look of The Process really heightens the conflict between these two worlds.
All I can really say is that I can’t wait for 2014 to be able to get my hands on the full game. I also hope they allow Darren to release the sound track, because it already sets the tone, mood, and atmosphere of the game perfectly. I also can’t wait for the next time we have them on the show to talk their ears off about it.
Below is a play through by Total Biscuit. We are very thankful that he posted it up without the commentary, so that you could have a chance to experience Transistor the way Jeff did… What? He doesn’t like playing in front of people where as I do! Also, be sure to kick it up to HD – you’ll thank me for that almost immediately for having done so.