Basics of Combat
The combat in Transistor is designed for strategy and the
ability to frequently chop and change your loadout allows for a huge amount of
freedom and experimentation, keeping it fun and frenzied. Sure you could run
around mashing the attack buttons if you like, but we’d all be secretly judging
The Turn system is very similar to Fallout’s V.A.T.S in that
you can plan your moves, noting the cost of each action and the damage it will
cause to your targets. The cost in this case is memory. You can undo actions
and take as long as you like trying out different scenarios to view the various
possible outcomes before committing to a course of action.
After the Turn is finished, there’s a cooldown period while
the Turn bar regenerates and you’re unable to use the Transistor sword during
this time, although there are exceptions if you’ve been wily enough to tweak
your loadout accordingly. You can read more about that in the recommended loadout section.
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The Transistor sword is best thought of as a conduit of
sorts that deploys the various functions you acquire as opposed to a weapon in
and of itself.
There are a total of 16 functions each with an associated
cost in the form of memory. As you level
up, you can upgrade your memory capacity and equip more functions at a time. Functions
can be allocated to one of three available types of slots and the effect will
change depending on how they’re used.
The active slots basically map the function to one of the
four attack buttons. So the Cull function for example, will damage nearby
enemies and send them soaring into the sky when mapped to one of the four active
The upgrade slots need to be unlocked as you progress and there
are two per active slot. It’s best to unlock one upgrade per active slot
initially because everything sucks up memory and in the field, you don’t want
to rely on one or two high cost attacks for a number of reasons that I’ll
explain momentarily, after you’re up to speed with all of this new jargon, so
just hang in there.
Using the example of Cull again, if you map this to an
upgrade slot, it would increase the impact or effect duration of the function
in the active slot, so if you used Cull to upgrade Tap (siphons HP from targets
around you), Tap would deal more damage and also send enemies flying up into
The last slot is the passive slot and popping a function
into one of these will give you a buff of some kind. There are four passive
slots in total and you’ll have to unlock them as you level up. Using Cull as a
passive function would enable you to damage enemies on contact during your Turn
as you move around the field.
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So you tried your best but things are looking dire. Dying
isn’t as straightforward as squeezing out a dramatic death rattle before a very
final collapse eclipsed by a line of text reading ‘Retry? Y/N’. As expected,
your health bar will deplete as Red takes a pummelling but when it empties
completely, rather than getting front row seats to the story of your life, you’ll
be notified of an ‘overload’ and have your health bar magically replenished.
Each function essentially gives you a life bar and when it’s
empty, it will overload and become dormant in exchange for giving you a new
lease on life. In theory you could be completely reckless and have Red ‘die’ 3
times without ever glimpsing a game over screen. Here’s why that’s a bloody
Overload will take out your highest cost function first, and
then continue in descending order of cost if you continue to run around like a
headless, masochistic chicken. So any fancy loadouts you set up for maximum
carnage will disappear in descending order of brilliance. It gets worse.
You'll be unable to use any overloaded functions for a certain period
of time, which differs between functions. What makes this risky is that actual time has sod all to do with it.
You can only access the loadout screen at aptly named ‘access points’ throughout
the map. An overloaded function will only be repaired when the requirements are
met and they’re measured in access points. A function might state that it will
be repaired in 2 access points but there may not be any around for some time
and who knows what’s lying in wait between here and there.
On a related note, that’s why focusing on unlocking a single
upgrade slot per active slot is recommended as you begin levelling up; if a
function overloads through carelessness or sheer bad luck, you can bolster existing functions through upgrades to make up for the loss of the more powerfulm higher cost functions.
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With that being said, we want you to stay alive and unharmed
for as long as possible. That’s where combos and backstabbing come into play as
utilising both of these tactics increases the damage of your attacks.
You can find a full list of which functions can be used to
backstab and combo and which can’t in the functions section, but you can only
begin a combo with the Crash function as it leaves enemies vulnerable, allowing
you to begin the combo chain. Any function that has the facility for a combo
attack can then be chained to it for extra damage.
Backstab is pretty self-explanatory, as you’ll need to manoeuvre
yourself behind an enemy to pull it off. If you backstab with Crash first, you
can chain combos, but you’ll notice even more added damage as any subsequent
attacks will count as both a combo and a backstab.
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