TRANSFORMERS! MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE! DOOO DOOO DOOO DOO! Transformers is a perfect example of a love-hate relationship. You either buy into the idea of gigantic robot warriors waging a million-year war on Earth, disguising themselves as normal vehicles or you shake your head and move on.
It’s not easy to love the robots in disguise, but they’ve certainly had some high points of entertainment during the last decade. Specifically, High Moon’s superb Cybertron series, which was later muddied by less than stellar movie tie-in games. Enter fan-favourite developers Platinum Games, who’ve decided to go back to the roots of the iconic franchise while throwing their own brand of high-energon fisticuffs into the mix.
And if you grew up in the 1980s, it’s like a step back in time. Optimus Prime and his fellow Autobots are back, sporting their original G1 shells and voices, while Megatron has yet another scheme in mind that will result in the death of all organic life on Earth.
It’s a Saturday morning cartoon experience, complete with cheesy one-liners and quips delivered by a veteran cast of actors that any fan will recognise. And it’s that audio attention to detail that helps sell, even elevate, an otherwise simple excuse to pummel any brawler in front of you who doesn’t wear an Autobot symbol.
There’re five playable characters to choose from in Devastation: Autobot leader Optimus Prime, the nimble Bumblebee, the quick-footed Wheeljack and fan favourite Dinobot Grimlock. Each has their own skills and attacks to match their transformations, but for the most part, you can easily power through the game with just one main character and save the sparse upgrade points for them.
When it comes to combat, Transformers: Devastation handles exactly like you’d expect it to when you see Platinum on the title: Fast, fluid and flashy. Platinum has dipped into their bag of familiar tricks here, with mechanics lifted straight from Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, only without the rabbit-hole depth of those games.
Dodges open enemies up, you can pretty much spam one combo through the whole game if you choose to, while gunplay is a tad bit on the janky side. But it’s the combination of great pacing, imaginative arenas and the fact that you can finish a combo with a 18-wheel backhand that makes it all worthwhile.
Every Autobot brings their own flavour of Transformation combo-finishers and special moves to the table, from Sideswipe’s blaster cannon through to Grimlock’s “HEY I’M A ROBOT T-REX WHAT’CHA GONNA DOO?” abilities. They’re all faithful to the TV series, and give the gameplay some semblance of variety.
Don’t go into Transformers: Devastation expecting a lengthy campaign. You can easily blast through the game in around 3-4 hours, although it’s the enemy variety and boss fights that help keep the pace flowing to avoid any fatigue. Platinum didn’t have too many tools to play with here, but they clearly made the most of what they had.
Boss fights make good use of the game mechanics introduced, enemies provide a decent challenge when mixed up and some levels change the flow with racing and shooting sections.
Transformations are clearly the first thing you need to master, as nothing beats the sensation of ramming your way through Megatron and then transforming into an uppercut straight into the smug face of Starscream.
Between all those missions, players can also synthesise some new gear for their Autobots, play a game of chance by gambling some credits for powerful runes and up their stat bonuses. There’s not too much here that makes those buffs feel worthwhile at all really, with new weapons either serving as fast combo devices or heavy hammers to deal extra damage with.
With the main story done and dusted, there’s a challenge mode to keep the action going, made up of 50 combat and platform missions set in the overused environments. And that’s it really
There’s isn’t exactly more than meets the eye when it comes to Transfomers: Devastation, and that’s not a bad thing. Besides the various shortcomings and brief campaign, it’s actually a damned good game that plays out like a highlight reel of past Platinum titles.
Last Updated: October 14, 2015