Back in June, several images of a cel-shaded Transformers game leaked literally a day before E3 festivities kicked off. Though there were rumors that Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) was planning on announcing a sequel to Vanquish, they instead took to the stage to officially unveil the action-packed hack and slash title Transformers: Devastation. While we’ve seen a ton of Transformers games over the years, the idea that a talented developer like Platinum was taking a crack at the franchise was exciting. With Transformers: Devastation, Platinum Games has married their quick and chaotic combat, with the cartoon’s original voice actors, familiar enemy faces, and a cool cel-shaded art-style, to both create the best Transformers game we’ve ever played, and evoke a ton of 1980’s nostalgia.
One of the first things I was impressed by is the art-style itself. Although environments weren’t as varied as I would have liked, they were absolutely gorgeous. Using the cel-shaded style was a smart move on the developer’s part, as it made the Cybertronian bots shine just as they had in the original cartoons. On top of nailing the look, throwing the original cast into the mix and adding a face-melting soundtrack really made it feel like I was playing through the 80’s show, and taking down the same bosses that Optimus and the gang had fought so many times before.
After rolling out Devastator within the first ten minutes, it was clear that Platinum meant business.
Speaking of nostalgia, there are a ton of familiar faces who you’ll fight throughout Devastation. While he isn’t as massive as Devastator, Megatron–who as always, sits at the center of the story in the game–proved to be the toughest, at least for me. There is a particular battle that takes place in an electric forcefield of sorts, that was by far one of the most difficult in the game. Although I still had a lot of fun, I had to put my controller down several times before finally doing enough damage to take him out–at least for the time being. Soundwave, Starscream, Motormaster, and Menasor all make appearances as well, with the first being one of my favorites, because of the environment the battle takes place in.
After rolling out Devastator within the first ten minutes, it was clear that Platinum meant business. Despite my prowess with past Platinum titles, he was tough to take down–but not impossible. Combos are easy enough to master in Devastation, and feel powerful. The majority of your success mainly depends on counters, and chaining moves together. If your timing is off, well, your Autobot life could be over in a matter of seconds because the enemies hit hard. Once all five characters (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock) are unlocked however, there is a bit more variation.
There was enough variety to make me want to switch characters.
Although I spent a fair amount of time playing as all five Autobots, Optimus was my jam and the one I completed the game with. He’s the second to slowest in the group (behind Grimlock) but had a devastating (heh) trailer spin move I frequently relied on to knock enemies down and get out of sticky situations. The other four however, aren’t to be counted out. With each one boasting a unique special move, vehicle attack, and style of combat, there was enough variety to make me want to switch characters before continuing, or try to complete entire levels again with somebody new.
At a short 5-6 hours long, having challenging battles thrown at me one after the other, was exhausting at times, but enjoyable. The best way to put it: is this game has no chill. This is a good thing for a game that lacks in the length department. As you progress through the title, you’ll pick up new weapons, which can be upgraded using the synthesis feature in the main hub-world. Here you’ll also be able to purchase items, equip weapons, switch characters and craft perks via playing a simple mini-game. To be honest, the weapons themselves weren’t the best, which has a lot to do with the game’s boring and senseless loot system. Even with the weapon fusion system in place, I found myself using the same two weapons over and over because everything else paled in comparison.
The game has no chill, and that’s a good thing.
Though Transformers: Devastation may not be the most complex game Platinum has ever made, it’s still a ridiculous amount of fun. On the surface, it is the perfect representation of everything we loved about the cartoon. The developer served up a healthy dose of nostalgia by including all of the original voice actors, enemies, and music, and mixed in combat that is fast, action-packed, and a true delight. While short, the variety of ways to tackle the game–which is made possible by the five characters’ different move-sets–provides enough reason to go back in for more.
-Cool cel-shaded art-style
-Original Voice Actors bring our favorite Autobots to Life
-Combat is fast, fluid, and fun
-Tons of nostalgic fan service
-Level design is disappointing at times
-Crappy Loot System
RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 Burritos
This review was completed using a PS4 Copy of Transformers: Devastation provided by Activision. The game hit stores on October 6, 2015 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.