Review: Transformers: Devastation
Quite busy lately, PlatinumGames is a studio that knows how to pick its battles. Shaking hands with Sega, Nintendo, Microsoft and even Konami, the Osaka based mercenaries have always distinguished themselves from the competition, even if they are not immune to missteps like the awful Anarchy Reigns or The Legend of Korra. As we wait to see what Star Fox Zero is going to be like, and the newly announced Scalebound with Microsoft Studios, they launch an adaptation of the Transformers license to quench our thirst for more. The result is not perfect but rest assured, it is perfect fan service, full of explosion and brawl.
If movies directed by Michael Bay make you angry with each new theatrical release, Transformers: Devastation reconcile you much more easily with the good ol’ days of the cybertron universe closer to Hasbro and Takara heritage Tomy. Inspired by the animated series of the first generation while allowing some newcomers for the purpose of an original storyline, the game takes the form of a 3D beat’em, laced, with cell-shading graphics, a layer of customization, experience and weapons to collect; Imagine a cross between Bayonetta and Ape Escape. Transformers Devastation repeats almost all the gameplay system we love from PlatinumGames, in both the combo system and slow motion action activated by a well-timed dodge, without forgetting arenas prepared for those clashes, side missions to be discovered by exploring the city or the numerous chases on the ground and in the air.
Imagine a cross between Bayonetta and Ape Escape
Initially, only Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Sideswipe and youngster ancestor can be controlled as characters in the game, until you unlock the ingenious Wheeljack and lovable Grimlock. Even if their grip is fairly close and they metamorphose all at lightning speed by pressing down the right bumper, each with its special moves, combo chains and own base stats that can make a difference during clashes with certain opponents. Sideswipe for example can do a very fast dash forward or Optimus has a powerful circular attack. Then you have the Ultimate attack, which can be activated once you chain enough combos and perfect dodges, which varies from each character. There are obviously other subtleties to discover or unlock in the Story mode, especially if you put you study weapons and mergers stats, whether melee or ranged.
Between each mission and checkpoint, you can access your hub to see your level progression, where you can alternate character at will, depending on the approaches. It is also the only place to change your weapons (four maximum, associated to each direction of your d-pad), apply points to strengthen and add special Autobots properties, spend currency to boost stats or buy various items, ranging from repair kit and much more. There are as many combinations of things to do to ensure you finish the main story mission, which can be completed in 4-8 hours depending on your talent and determination. For those looking for a longer challenge, there’s over fifty challenges you can tackle in the Challenge Mode, and two additional levels of difficulty to try in the Story mode.
PlatinumGames with all its might and glory has also an iconic vice: one of recycling the environments and playful parts to inflate the life of their game. Without real manual camera lock, fights against big or agile opponents can be annoying due to this semiautomatic camera. Particularly durable boss become more of a chore than anything else once you’ve got used to the strategy, while smaller opponents will be able to counteract freely and sometimes repeatedly, including attacks intended to break their defense. Fortunately, we never get tired of the punchy animations and iconic sound effects during transformations, genuinely pleasurable for fans.
Transformers: Devastation was reviewed using an Xbox One redeemable code of the game provided by Activision. The game is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC in both retail and online store releases. The review was done after the release of the day one patch. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• Good old school Cell-shading graphics
• So much of the original cartoon nostalgia
• PlatinumGames famous combo systems
• That camera will make you dizzy
• A bit too short of a story mode
• Recycled elements throughout the game