The Transformers movies and video games of late seem to have a particularly bad reputation. Michael Bay’s ‘splosion fest movies don’t quite capture the love and quirkiness of the animated series. The games, at least the few that I’ve played, weren’t the best either. So, when Jarred told me that Transformers Devastation was actually pretty good, I knew I had to judge it for myself. He was right.
Transformers Devastation is quite the surprise, much like Metal Gear Rising and Bayonetta were when they first came out. Platinum Games really know how to create fun action games that stick to the root source material and bring new elements to the table. Their latest attempt has done more than just make Transformers good, it’s restored my belief that you can have a good Transformers game.
Bring Back Animation
Instead of giving us a movie version of the Autobots and Decepticons, we’re now treated to the animated version you’d see on the cartoon channels. Seeing them in all their animated splendour brings back memories from when I was a kid waiting to watch Dragon Ball Z and Transformers. Even the video clips feel like they’re part of the animated series, right down to the cheesy dialogue and voice acting.
Playing An Autobot
In story mode, you play as one of five Autobots (Optimus Prime, Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Bumblebee and Grimlock) who must once again protect Earth from the Decepticons. This time Megatron and his massive gang of robot thugs want to use plasma energy (a very strong source of power) to cyberform Earth into another Cybertron. The act will annihilate all humans, so they once again fight to save humanity. The story is a bit bland and really obvious, which is a bit of a disappointment for me, however, what it lacks in story it more than makes up for in combat.
How To Get Away With Fighting
Just like you’d expect from a Platinum Games title, the combat is fast, slick, intuitive, a little over the top and pure eye candy. Each Autobot has his own unique skills, weapons and special abilities. The controls are universal and so are the combos, so there’s no need to relearn new moves when you use a different character. Fighting is easy to pick up which is great for someone like me i.e., someone who struggles to chain combos. The special attacks, or well-timed counter attacks, are really flashy and can sometimes be spammed to help you win a battle. I must admit though, that if you are an action vet, the amount of attacks available might not be enough for you. Unlike Bayonetta, which is loaded with additional moves, this one is a little low on combo moves.
Another thing the game got right, which is major factor for me, is the transformation from bot to car (or dino) and how to use them both in combat. Holding in the R1 button for a second is all you need to instantly transform into a car and back. Controlling the car is also very easy and helps you to get from one location to the next very quickly. Some of the levels are specifically designed for the car, which makes the areas all the more interesting. In fact, there are a few times where you’ll need to chase and beat a boss while in car mode. These sections are surprisingly fun and challenging in a good way.
What doesn’t quite work are the ranged weapons. I like gun combat, but it just doesn’t suit the game at all. The aiming doesn’t feel right and the amount of bullets you can carry is freakishly low. I think the one gun I have has a maximum of 27 bullets. They’re also not as powerful as the straight up punches, but they are needed for the aerial opponents.
An RPG element has been added to the game, giving you the chance to spend credits and EXP on improving your Autobots. I didn’t notice a massive difference in my characters, so I don’t think that was used very effectively. Unfortunately, while credits can be found everywhere, it’s not enough to improve all characters. The best thing is to pick your favourite Autobot and stick with him throughout the game.
Not Quite A Lengthy Tale
There’s one part of the game that will probably be a big deciding factor for many people, and that’s the length. It’s very short and only took me about 5 hours to finish. The good news is, the game has quite a bit of replay value. There are plenty of things to collect and there’s a challenge mode (containing 50 missions) to play around with. If you’re a trophy hunter, there are trophies for beating the game using each Autobot so if you’re interested, you’ll have to play the game a total of five times.
Transformers Devastation is a heck of a lot of fun and really shoves nostalgia in your face – unless you’ve never seen the original series. I was quite happy with the length, but if you think it’s too short, then I do suggest that you wait for a sale or when it’s cheaper. It might not be as combo-centric as Bayonetta, but it’s still got that great Platinum Game kick-ass action to it.