Transformers: Devastation (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 12.10.2015 2

Review for Transformers: Devastation on PlayStation 4

The unification of Platinum Games and Activision led to the surprisingly decent Legend of Korra. The budget beat 'em up was competent and very short, but otherwise showed promise, and fans eagerly awaited the next collaboration. Enter Kenji Saito, the maestro behind the hit Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance who brings his panache to the next effort, Transformers: Devastation. There could not have been a more fitting intellectual property for Platinum Games to tackle, yet being a low-budget action title does have its limitations. Is Platinum made of sterner stuff, though? Cubed3 rolls out the review of Transformers: Devastation for the PS4.

There hasn't been much representation of the first generation of the Transformers, which is generally held in the highest regard by the fan base, mostly due to nostalgia and it being the one most adults grew up with in the '80s, as well as having a totally awesome animated movie. Leave it to Platinum Games to completely understand its audience and focus exclusively on the G1 era with Transformers: Devastation. Right down to the look and sound of it, this gives fan-service to any adult who was raised playing with the toys and watched the original cartoon over three decades ago.

Screenshot for Transformers: Devastation on PlayStation 4

The graphics are very impressive, running at an immaculate 60 frames per second, while having a very nifty cel-shading technique that mirrors the original cartoon. The 3D models are very faithful representations of all the characters and Platinum Games breathes new life into them in an exciting way thanks to the team's signature action style. Be it Autobot or Decepticon, these now all move with such utter ferocity and flashy blitz that is not unlike the flurry of blazing sparks seen in past Platinum releases like Vanquish and, of course, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. There definitely has been attention given to the cel-shading and colouration, mimicking the distinct metallic sheen of the cartoon's ink and the scale of the original toy line. Sometimes it feels like there are unseen hands playing with action figures and this is all the imagination of a child in the 1980s or maybe this is like a long lost episode that is being vaguely recollected.

One aspect that is a bit of a mixed bag is the environments. Disappointingly, Transformers: Devastation only really has two locations: the unnamed city, and the interior of a Cybertronian spacecraft. While the city itself is fairly vast, it seems like it is only made up of a handful of repeating assets that get copy-pasted around; mostly it is made up of a few roads, a couple of open arenas, and a couple of underground byways. This is where the limited scope becomes very apparent. Platinum Games does try to mix things up a bit in the city by hiding collectibles in caches and by providing side missions that mix up the gameplay in various ways, as seen in the two Bayonetta games. The secondary location is the Proudstar, which is a bit more visually interesting being a weird robo-alien spacecraft. The Proudstar levels are not open-ended like the city levels, and are much more focused in straightforward fighting or platforming.

Screenshot for Transformers: Devastation on PlayStation 4

Transformers: Devastation mostly looks 'good' but if there was one aspect that it shines in it is easily the superb gameplay and action. Much of the sublime mechanics found in both Bayonetta (combos and witch-time), Vanquish (dashing and shooting) are the core game systems that will be utilised as any of the five playable characters: Optimus Prime, Sideswipe, Grimlock, Bumblebee, and Wheeljack. The fighting mechanics are very smooth and have a diverse combo move-set, despite having few attack buttons, usually involving careful inputs that require a slight pause during button taps. This is pretty much a proven method that gives Transformers: Devastation a high skill ceiling and demands the user to master themselves if they hope to master the game. Much like the wicked weave attacks from Bayonetta, the Transformers can unleash huge attacks when they pull off a specified combo, which typically involves a really stunning transformation attack that has some safety invincibility animation. These prove to be very handy when fighting droves of Insecticons, or even when fighting two massive Decepticons that fill the screen.

Playing as the Autobots always feels rewarding and the action is always demanding, but none of it would matter if it weren't for their foes: the Decepticons and the Insecticons. The Transformers property leads to some very interesting enemy types being created, breathing new life into the character-action genre. Since both the heroes and enemies can transform and have basically two modes of combat, Transformers: Devastation can manage some truly exhilarating sequences that aren't even scripted because of how versatile the combat mechanics are. There are a few scripted moments that do mix the action up, like in The Wonderful 101, but thankfully these moments never overstay their welcome and do shake things up after long bouts with many enemies. It wouldn't be a Platinum game without high octane and bombastic boss fights, and this delivers on both fronts. While there is more of an emphasis on "rival" fights rather than huge bosses, eventually all recycle some of the bosses at a certain point to make up for the relatively small cast of characters.

Screenshot for Transformers: Devastation on PlayStation 4

The small scope of Transformers: Devastation is not just reflected in the lacking environments, but also in just how short the campaign is. At about seven chapters, with a play time ranging between five to seven hours depending on how many side missions or collectibles are acquired, this game is very compact in terms of action and may leave some people disappointed. There is a saving grace, however, which is that this is highly replayable and comes fully loaded with extra missions that are much like the VR missions seen in Revengeance. While it is curious that those scenarios are separate from the main adventure, these challenge rooms are by far the most gruelling and brutal fights found in the entire game. There is also other content, like the fact each Autobot has stats that can be upgraded as seen in many Action RPGs, and a loot system where randomised weapons can be equipped or even combined to power them up. The loot itself is not terribly interesting, which leads to a ton of vendor trash to sell, but is a welcomed added layer of depth that adds some customisation. For $49.99, this is definitely a fair price for this rock 'em, sock 'em extravaganza.

Screenshot for Transformers: Devastation on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Activision, Hasbro, and Platinum Games have delivered what is quite possibly the best Transformers game ever made. Transformers: Devastation is a riot that will please fans of action, as well as the Transformers faithful who have been yearning for a G1 Transformers experience. Most of the original voice actors return and breathe life into these iconic heroes and villains, making the overall package feel authentic. Even Vince Dicola, who made the music for the '80s animated film, returns to provide some new tracks that really set the mood for the old school Transformers action. It's not perfect and it has certain flaws, yet this is still an undeniable blast from start to finish and will invite gamers to come back for seconds because Platinum Games' action stamp is just pitch perfect. Hopefully the partnership between these teams will continue and consistently deliver such wonderful action games for years to come.

Developer

PlatinumGames

Publisher

Activision

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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