TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION Review
Nostalgia has never played better than in TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION. The game pays great homage to the original ‘80s Generation One source material with its rocking heavy soundtrack and incredible cel-shaded design. The attention to detail, from the design of the Transformers down to the Autobot and Decepticon symbol transitions, makes the game feel like a proper leap from TV show to video game. PlatinumGames pulled out all the stops to keep TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION as authentic as possible. The love and care they poured into this game are evident from the moment it first loads and you hear Peter Cullen’s deep grovel as Optimus Prime, as well as Frank Welker’s robotic threats as Megatron. For a game based on older material, TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION feels refreshing enough to whet the appetite of both hack ’n’ slash and Transformers fans alike. For non-fans, however, fifty dollars is a hard pill to swallow purely for nostalgia’s sake.
The story is reminiscent of the G1 show in that it’s the typical Autobots vs. Decepticons action we’ve all come to know and love. Though it’s short, coming in at roughly three to five hours of playtime, the story never feels stretched out. While I would have liked the game to go on a little longer, there’s only so many times I want to see Megatron get away just in the nick of time. The game’s length compliments the story by not over-complicating its plot.
Get used to the city, you’re gonna see a lot of it
The landscapes are gorgeous, albeit excessively employed. The cityscape is where I found myself getting lost most often since almost every section looks the same in terms of its maze-like construction: a couple of long, branching “hallways” leading to open areas. The mini-map helped me get back on the right path, but for those wanting to run straight through the campaign it can get a bit confusing in the big city. The game did, however, alternate the city between its other two set pieces (which aren’t as complexly structured), so the change in level design never fully deterred me from exploring and finding hidden items. The game offered other small changes in scenery in the form of perspective-changing missions (both main and side). The scene would change to an overhead view, to a 2D sidescroller, and even a horde mode where I manned a turret to fend off massive amounts of Insecticons. These changes, though few and brief, put a refreshing spin on the game to keep the fighting from getting too stale.
PlatinumGames is known for its sophisticated yet simple gameplay, and TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION is no exception. Combat is smooth and responsive; landing combos and hearing the crushing sounds of metal against metal feels ever so satisfying. When pulled off successfully, the dodging mechanic caused time to slow down, allowing for some series combs to be landed on the Decepti-creeps standing in the way. This allowed for deeper and more challenging combat scenarios, making me rethink my strategies for dealing with certain types of enemies. I had to coordinate and readjust my play style to each differing battle scenario, and I often felt quite victorious when I was able to take down even the smallest of enemy grunts that had been taunting me. Fighting can be quite repetitive, though, as is the nature of the beast in hack ‘n’ slash games, and the game does not offer much in terms of variety to shake things up.
While the campaign is short, TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION offers some replayability in the form of a Challenge mode and a chance to retry the campaign for those seeking that 100% completion rate. This unlocks beautiful concept art consisting of various stage and character art pieces. The weapon unlocks, however, both in the campaign and Challenge mode, are very lackluster. Loot was very underwhelming as well, and even when the weapon was classified as a Rare or Uncommon item, I typically had a stronger weapon in my inventory that I acquired through normal story progression.
Old -Cons, New Paint
TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION excels in adaptation of the franchise’s foundation. It doesn’t offer much new in terms of the hack ‘n’ slash genre, but what it does exceptionally well is adapt its ‘80s counterpart for a newer audience. As a Transformers fan, the fifty dollars was well spent. As a PlatinumGames fan, TRANSFORMERS: DEVASTATION is another excellent entry to scratch that baddie beat-up itch. For anyone else, however, the game is not worth the asking price for the little amount of content included. Some confusing level designs, tedious combat, and poor rewards relegate this as a niche title.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend
Reviewed on PC, also available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4