When I was younger you were guaranteed to find 3 things in my bedroom, computer games, books and Transformers figures.
As I have gotten older not much has changed, you can still find Transformers figures, in fact as I write this review I am under the watchful gaze of two Masterpiece Optimus Prime figures and a small army of characters from various series and continuities.
So it was with great pleasure that I received the newest entry into the Transformers game series to review- Transformers: Devastation. Will this live up to the high expectations that old school Transformers fans will have?
Transformers: Devastation is developed by Platinum Games, the development team behind MadWorld, Bayonetta 1 & 2, Vanquish, The Wonderful 101, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Published by Activision. Released on PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One. Today I am looking at the PC release.
Transformers: Devastation is a third-person, action game, similar in style to Vanquish and even the Bayonetta series, if there is one thing that Platinum Games can do well; it is the third person brawler. And Transformers: Devastation is no exception.
The story of Transformers: Devastation is a fairly simple yet enjoyable one, Megatron (the leader of the Decepticons, the bad guys for those not in the know) has discovered an ancient Cybertronian ship beneath the city, and with it plans to terraform, or Cyberform the planet, to create the new Cybertron (the Transformers homeworld). It is up to Optimus Prime (leader of the Autobots, the good guys) to stop this from happening.
You are given the choice of 5 Autobot warriors to play through during the story.
Optimus Prime- Leader of the Autobots, high stats all round and can use all weapons. He transforms into the cab of a truck.
Bumblebee- Scout, smallest of the Autobots, also the weakest. He transforms into a little yellow sports car.
Sideswipe- Warrior, low defence, high speed. Can jump the furthest. He transforms into a red Lamborghini-style sports car
Wheeljack- Engineer, Low HP but has an energy shield. He transforms into a Lancia-like sports car
Grimlock- Commander, high strength, high defence, but bad with most weapons. The odd one out of the group, he transforms into a T-Rex
You can change your character at any of the Ark access points, green Autobot symbols, found in the game and after each death so if you are finding a section a bit difficult with your chosen Autobot, you can attempt it again with a different character and weapons load out.
If you have played any of Platinum Games previous games you should have a good idea of how Transformers: Devastation plays out, at the start of each chapter you will select your character, after which you will enter the game.
Your objective will tell you what needs to be done: Kill X, Locate X, Get X, Stop X from getting away… you get the idea.
Combat is simple; you have your light, heavy and ranged attacks. Each attack depends on the items you have equipped, and equipment drops pretty regularly from most fights.
Of course having all this equipment dropping quickly adds up to lots of low-level gear. Handily back at the Ark you can synthesize the equipment you don’t want to use, this is done by selecting the weapon you wish to use as the base, this will be the weapon you want to upgrade, then select the items you wish to synthesize into it, doing this will level up the base weapon making it stronger, faster, and just all round improved in general.
Weapons are not the only things that can be customized, the credits you bring back to the Ark in between each mission can be used to buy new moves for your characters, and can be spent on creating T.E.C.H, these are little upgrades to that can be used to increase health regeneration, item collection, guard strength, ultimate attack damage… and so on.
It is not all third person action though, there are the occasional jumping puzzles, a section involving your chosen hero racing along a road in Alt mode (they are Transformers after all) shooting down enemies and jumping holes, and a spot where the camera switches to an overhead view where you have to find red Energon (explosives).
The cell shaded graphics suit the game perfectly. The characters look stunning, and the semi-open world looks brilliant, and for critics of the Michael Bay movies who said the films focused too much on the humans, good news! There is not a single human to be found in the game, only abandoned vehicles which can be picked up and thrown around.
The soundtrack for Transformers: Devastation has tracks contributed by Transformers stalwart Vince DiCola, and features the vocal talents of Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Frank Welker (Megatron/Soundwave), Gregg Berger (Grimlock), Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee) & Michael Bell (Sideswipe) Who all reprise their original 1984 cartoon voice roles.
Transformers: Devastation is a fantastic nostalgia trip while the Fall of/War For Cybertron games helped bring the series to newer fans, Devastation wears its old school heart on its sleeve, from the Spike & Sparkplug shop signs to the Kreemzeek collectibles, Devastation knows who its target audience is.
So yes, the game is good, damn good. But it is not without its flaws.
Occasionally the camera suffers the same fate as most Third Person Action games… losing track of what’s happening and getting stuck facing the wrong way at the worst possible moment; for me it was the fight against the Constructicons Gestalt (combined) form Devastator and the Stunticons Gestalt Menasor, these giants filled the screen and after one particularly brutal attack, all I could see were explosions and the camera got stuck… I died pretty quickly after this.
The campaign length is another disappointment, clocking in at 5 hours 40 minutes on normal difficulty to complete a casual play through, and no searching for pickups or collectibles, just focusing on the story.
If you are a completionist and make it your goal to hunt down all the collectibles I would guess at another 1-2 hours.
If you get a bit frustrated with the campaign there is also the challenge mode, this allows you to play through the side mission challenges you can find in each chapter straight from the main menu. These range from clearing the area of enemies, racing to checkpoints while collecting Energon, and finding all the hidden loot caches within an allotted time.
Fan’s of the original 1984 cartoon will more than likely play this and fondly reminisce about the times they were sat on the floor watching the TV show, and while it is primarily based at the Generation One fans, there are some very nice nods to the current toy line, The Combiner Wars… (If the name didn’t give it away, there are a lot of Gestalts in the toyline)
A fun filled nostalgia trip
Probably the best use of Cell Shading in a game
A little short