TRAN­SIS­TOR

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES - JOE GRIF­FIN

12 cert, Su­per­giant Games, PS4 (also PC) Tran­sis­tor’s tone and in­ten­tions could be sum­marised in two words: “come closer”. The player is fre­quently asked to come closer to ex­am­ine odd­i­ties, por­tals and con­soles, as Tran­sis­tor makes a point of gen­tly en­cour­ag­ing cu­rios­ity and a sense of ad­ven­ture.

You play Red, a pop­star and re­luc­tant rev­o­lu­tion­ary on a strange fact-find­ing odyssey. Your trav­el­ling com­pan­ion is a talk­ing ma­chine that looks like a cross be­tween a broadsword and am­pli­fier. He is a voice with­out a body; you are a singer who’s lost her voice.

On this jour­ney through a de­serted, fu­tur­is­tic me­trop­o­lis, you un­cover a bizarre con­spir­acy and en­counter hos­tile, or­ganic-look­ing ma­chines and mys­te­ri­ous mon­sters.

Not sur­pris­ingly com­ing from the mak­ers of Bas­tion, Tran­sis­tor is so­phis­ti­cated and el­e­gant. The city looks like a cross be­tween Blade Run­ner, cy­ber­punk, anime and pop art, with glow­ing em­bers of neon, hazy colours and light refracted in lens flares. The sound de­sign is lovely, with vel­vety voice act­ing and a sin­gu­lar score that mixes harps and ac­cor­dions with synths and trip-hop beats.

For a third-per­son ac­tion game, Tran­sis­tor has an al­most leisurely pace. This will alien­ate some, but many gamers (in­clud­ing this one) will be happy to roam the city, piece to­gether the jig­saw story (part Or­well, part Chan­dler) and be­come be­witched by its odd-cou­ple char­ac­ters and strange sights and sounds. Even the di­a­logue is en­joy­ably stylised: “You’ve reached the hope­fully not per­ma­nent ab­sence of Mr No­body,” says a voice­mail.

The game­play is dis­tinc­tive, a mix of tra­di­tional third­per­son com­bat (us­ing both melees and pro­jec­tiles) and a real-time strat­egy game. Freeze time, plan your move and then watch the at­tack un­fold. Tran­sis­tor is a sub­tle, cap­ti­vat­ing neo-noir. su­per gi­antgames.com

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