Developed by:PlatinumGames Published by:Activision Genre(s):
  • Action
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$49.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1 Release date:October 6, 2015 Reviewed on:XBox One

    Transformers: Devastation

    Activision has been leaning hard on nostalgia lately. Whether it’s the announcement of a new Guitar Hero or the misguided THPS5, they are all about the past – a detriment if that’s the sole reason to care about revisiting these franchises. Interestingly enough, Transformers: Devastation is able to capitalize on the nostalgia and is successful for that exact reason. Well, if you’re a huge Transformer fan like myself!

    Transformers: Devastation is an action brawler that channels the Generation I bots in all the right ways. It has the classic look, the so-so plot (something about plasma energy), and Peter Cullen. It’s basically an episode of the 80’s cartoon in game form. It’s also a PlatinumGames title in the purest form. I’m talking about action packed fights that are only broken up by the brief treks between each battlefield and the occasional cutscene. This type of gameplay combined with the power of Hasbro’s biggest franchise and you have a recipe for what should have been an awesome game. Well…

    The calculated insanity that we’ve come to expect from this developer is present here. Gamers will control five of the Autobots – Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock – and duke it out with an assortment of enemies in large arena-like environments. Alternating between light and hard attacks will trigger flashy combos. Holding the left trigger will pull up the currently equipped ranged weapon for those hard to reach bots. Pressing the dodge button right before getting hit escapes an oncoming blow as well as slows down time for a few seconds; perfect for counter attacking. Devastation adds some unique elements to the mix as well. Land enough hits on any enemy, for example, and a button prompt will flash on screen indicating a possible vehicle attack (if timed right). The result is an Autobot transforming mid-combo and slamming into a Decepticon while they’re floating in midair. It’s actually pretty amazing when seen in real time.

    The transformer you’re playing as and their weapons determine what type of moves you’ll be able to unleash at any given moment. Some are shared, like Optimus and Grimlock being able to equip massive hammers that are too heavy for the likes of say Bumblebee. Not matter who you play as though, the fights are always challenging. The enemies are decent combatants and the window for a good dodge is quite small. Boss battles can get downright irksome, especially against a certain triple changer late in the game. Still, everything remains epic in scope. One moment your dealing with a large group of armed bots and the next you’re battling Devastator or Menasor – giant menaces that are made up of multiple transformers combined into one being. True masochists can crank the difficulty up, changing the enemy layout so groups are filled with more heavy hitters.

    All of this is nice, again, for those of us who enjoy all things Transformers. Fans of PlatinumGames certainly wouldn’t balk at the opportunity to pick up the controller either. Unfortunately, there isn’t much for everyone else. Most of the game is move to an area, fight a bunch of bad guys, move on to another area, fight a boss, repeat. RPG elements, some light platforming, “racing” sections, and one weird top-down segment try to break up the monotony. For the most part though, the fighting is where it’s at. This isn’t really a bad thing (the fighting is great after all). But, if you’re looking for a little more variety, you’d be out of luck. Everything from the levels that frequent the same places to the recycled boss fights leaves a lot to be desired. Heck, some bosses even share the same attack patterns!

    On the surface, it feels like Platinum was playing it safe. Only five Autobots, a slew of repeated elements (maps, major enemies), no multiplayer options, the list goes on. I’m not saying that there needed to be loads of different content or for it to be on the same scope as Bayonetta or anything. And to be fair there is a challenge mode that’s rather fun to play. It would have been nice to have more unique content though. As it stands, Devastation seemed like the test for the real game that’s coming later. What they did provide is solid, no doubt. I just wish they were a little more ambitious with the license.

    All and all, Devastation is awesome for those who grew up watching Transformers. The graphics are so perfect that I have to wonder…why didn’t anyone think to do this years ago? Besides the games tied to the Michael Bay films, there was no reason for them not to resemble the show. It’s just maddening; the cel shaded visuals are truly amazing. It’s also a great game for those who just can’t get enough of PlatinumGames’ stylish combat. If you don’t fall into one of those groups, I don’t think you’ll like what’s being offered. It’s appeal is limited to the point of being noticeable. Like a movie missing key scenes that would’ve made seemingly random occurrences make sense.



    It’s fun to punch Deceptacreeps in the face.



    It’s like cartoon but in game form.



    80’s styled music and the original voice actors from the animated show, including Peter Cullen and Frank Welker (Optimus and Megatron respectively) equals a good time.

    Replay Value:


    The challenge modes and harder difficulty settings will keep some coming back. Most will only enjoy the first trip down memory lane.

    Final Score:


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