Transformers Devastation – Review
PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Back when I was a boy I loved the Transformers. Optimus and Bumblebee were my toys of choice and I spent many hours perfecting the transform noise. I cried in the movie when Optimus died and I cheered loudly when he was brought back in the cartoon series a year later. Sadly though in recent times my beloved Autobots have been treated rather badly. With ok-but-not-great games from High Moon Studios and terrible movies from Michael Bay my love for these robots in disguise had been waning. That was until Platinum, creators of a plethora of excellent action titles, got a hold of the franchise. Thanks to their timely intervention I am flying the fan flag higher than ever before.
Transformers Devastation has no right being a great game. I mean it was announced at E3 this year and released a mere 3(ish) months later. It came out of nowhere, is a licenced product and has been released on every system known to man. Normally these three things would scream “cheap cash in” but thankfully that is not the case. In fact I would say that Transformers Devastation is not only the best Transformers game ever made but perhaps the biggest surprise of 2015.
The game is set in the classic “Generation 1” universe so old fans are likely to be happy. In fact the whole game is designed to be a love letter to that era. The cutscenes could have been lifted directly from an episode of the cartoon and the in game graphics recreate the feeling of the show using a lovely cel-shaded style. All of the characters have been faithfully brought to life and look exactly as I remember them. The one criticism I have in the looks department is that for a large portion of the game the scenery is very bland and repetitive. This isn’t a giant issue but it does mean that the game’s visual impact wears off quicker than it should.
The gameplay seems to be a combination of a number of Platinum games. There are elements from Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising all present within the entertaining combat system. Dodges, parries, hard hits and vehicle attacks make up a satisfying hand to hand element. The combat has a real weight to it that conveyed the feeling these actually were giant robots going head to head. Added to this were some competent gunplay systems and fast paced car combat to break things up so there was plenty of variety in my robot fighting abilities. During the later levels the game introduced some basic platforming which I feel didn’t really add much to my experience but it didn’t really hurt it either.
The game had some wonderfully deep role playing elements with the Transformers and their weapons all able to be upgraded. Weapons could be upgraded by sacrificing other lesser fighting implements and the Transformers were upgraded as I fought, gaining XP in the areas I used the most. It was a great system that was initially confusing as there is little guidance on how it all works. Once I had figured it all out though I really appreciated the depth it added to the game. I could also create stat boosts for my team by taking part in a simple mini game, which to be honest felt kind of superfluous and tacked on.
In typical Platinum fashion perhaps the best parts of the game are the boss battles. Devastator, Megatron, Soundwave and Star Scream all appeared as bosses and these moments were truly entertaining. I found myself sitting on the edge of the seat during these tense conflicts, dodging and striking when the moment was right. When I finally took one of these challenging robotic enemies down it was immensely satisfying and brought a big old grin to my face.
The fact I enjoyed Transformers Devastation so much is still a surprise to me. I mean it has no business being this good. The combat is satisfying, the fan service comes thick and fast and the aesthetic of the cartoon has been nailed perfectly. There are a few minor issues to do with bland environments and some poorly explained mechanics but really they are nothing that should hold anyone back from buying this game. What makes this all better is the game is being sold at a super attractive price of $50. At that price any fan of action games or Transformers in general would be mad to not pick it up. I can only hope now that the game sells massive numbers and we see more Transformers games in this style hitting our consoles soon.