Hardcore fans have wanted a game that stays true to Transformers' roots for years. In comes Transformers: Devastation with a promising visual style and the return of many iconic voice actors, but does that alone make it a good game?
Transformers: Devastation boasts an impressive cel-shaded style that makes every frame look like a comic panel as the characters and environments blend seamlessly together to create one authentic world. Speaking of authenticity, the voice work is done by veterans of the Transformers universe who may sound cheesy to outsiders yet it's sure to wow long-time fans. Throughout the adventure, you get to play as the Autobots including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock. Although you can't play as any Decepticons, these five characters are different enough that exploring each of their intricacies and choosing your favourite should be more than enough. Besides, battling a variety of Insecticons, Constructicons, and Stunticons makes the overall game feel complete. When it comes to environments, you mainly battle within a city but you do get to eventually visit some unique locations. That being said, many parts of the city are revisited frequently which makes things feel more constrained than you'd hope. In the end, Transformers: Devastation looks and sounds fantastic with a level of authenticity that's bound to satisfy fans.
The core gameplay isn't much different to your average 3D brawler. You primarily use light, heavy, and special attacks along with aiming and firing projectiles to take out oncoming enemy forces within arena-like areas. Additionally, you can pick up and throw objects, dodge enemy attacks with perfect timing so you can unleash some extra blows, and transform at any time to take advantage of a new set of abilities and traits. Although this basic setup can be a heck of a lot of fun, it also doesn't evolve much from the start which results in the gameplay becoming repetitive. On the other hand, a few moments add some much needed variety such as controlling a turret to clear out a cloud of Insecticons, delivering a key item to a target with the camera shifted to an overhead perspective, driving in a side-scrolling action segment, and playing "hot and cold" to find a certain spot in the ground.
One issue that arose constantly throughout my playthrough was that it's very tricky to keep up with where your enemies are when the action starts getting chaotic. You can tap a button to have the camera shift to nearby enemies, but when they're zipping around and attacking you; you can't help but wish that there was a steady lock-on feature so this wouldn't happen. On top of that, the odd difficulty spike will make you want to either quit or lower the difficulty setting so you can progress. If you decide to do that, make sure you're ready to play a large portion of the game all over again. An aspect that makes these tricky sections even more of a burden to overcome is that I noticed my used heal items disappeared after retrying. Talk about kicking me when I'm down.
On the plus side, Transformers: Devastation includes a substantial amount of replay incentives that'll keep you busy after you finish the somewhat short seven chapter campaign. Collectibles such as information logs and enemy flags are enjoyable to find while more tangible rewards like new weapons and upgrades can turn your favourite Autobot into an unstoppable fighting machine. Being able to view character models, art, and movies in the gallery acts as a great way to wind down between missions and easily accessible information pertaining to your progress, stats, and rankings provides perfectionists with more than enough reasons to keep persevering. Finally, a list of 50 challenge missions acts as a worthwhile diversion for those willing to put their skills to the test.
Transformers: Devastation may not be a perfect game, but its nostalgia factor is significant enough to make it a must-buy for old school fans of the franchise. If you're one of these fans then what are you waiting for? Roll out and pick up a copy already!
- + Well done presentation brings Transformers back to its roots
- + Plenty of interesting segments add variety
- + Large amount of replay incentives
- - It's tricky to keep track of the action when it starts getting hectic
- - The core gameplay doesn't evolve much
- - Occasional difficulty spikes