Developer: Platinum Games
Release Date: October 6, 2015
PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 3 Disk and Digital
Transformer’s Devastation is a departure for Activision’s past games based on the franchise It has a varied portfolio from the mediocre Michael Bay movie ties in’s to the solid cover shooter War for Cybertron. The Capcom alumni Platinum Games comes in and does what it does best, the spectacle action genre. The team has deal it with this in the past with Metal Gear Rising Revegence and The Legend of Korra and original IPS with Bayonetta and Mad World. The first thing you will notice about Devastation is it’s art style which apes the generation 1 Transformers art style to a T. From Optomus Prime to Star Scream you get lovingly detailed and cel shaded models in either autobot or traversing in vehicle form. It’s true to the source materials as even Peter Cullen voicing the Autobot leader Optimus Prime and Frank Weller voicing the Decepticon’s Starscream with solid voice work.
The only issue at a visual level is the backgrounds which consist of repetitive textures, assets, and overall lacking in fresh level design. The map helps in this aspect since the levels do feel like they run into each other. To break the monotony there are some platforming in the later levels in the game. The other strength this game has is in the gameplay which does heavily borrow from Bayonetta as the player must rely on dodging and combo enemies to efficiently and effectively destroy even the base enemies. Every encounter feels different as you start gaining more skills and has a high skill ceiling. The game can be in beat 4 or 5 hours. Different enemy types require different technique to keep button mashing to a minimum. The boss fight are a highlight which are no cakewalk, and do require players to master the dodging mechanic to gain additional hits.
An arena fighting mode is available to test your combo skills as well as a new game plus which enhances the replay value for something with such a brief game length. The game does reward experimenting with the newly unlocked moves that you can equip. There are also 5 different autobots to choose besides the main such as Grimlock, Bumblebee, and Sideswipe. All the autobots have different stats that be upgraded with in game currency, and by in game actions.
The other issue with the game is the confusing weapon system which uses an RPG like elemental weakness system as well as loot drops. It’s not very clear what would be the most effective on certain enemy types, and from going through the campaign felt no difference in damage dealt. It’s an interesting concept in an attempt to add additional replay value, but would prefer a more traditional strength stat instead.
The story was penned by Andy Schmidt who worked on IDW’s Transformer comics. It’s a one shot as Megatron uses the Proudstar, in a scheme to cyberform Earth by use of the Insecticons. The story fits into the lore well, and does feel like a one shot episode. Cutscenes are prerendered which are of up to a high standard as with other Platinum games.
Overall, Transformers Devastation is a solid addition to Platinum’s franchise action games and will give Transformer’s fans a real treat and even fans of the developers. Players not into stylish action games or only playing once need not apply.