The trailers for this game made it look absolutely stunning. In terms of visuals, they did not disappoint. The game is really bright, colourful and generally nice to look at. The comic book art style disguises any low-quality graphics well, and even when I dropped the quality on my PC to low it looked almost the same. The gameplay itself is fast paced and fun, and I had an absolute blast making my way through the first two or so chapters. But after that, everything began to feel… limited.
You start Chapter 1 playing as Optimus Prime (of course!) and the 80s-episode-like plot is quickly set up through a short cut scene. We see the Decepticons are up to their usual shenanigans, and that Cyberforming Earth seems to be back in fashion. It’s hard to take any of this seriously because the lame, campy jokes from G1 are back in full force.
Well, that is, until you start collecting and reading the logs of the ancient bots that came to Earth on the Proud Star. Then things begin to get a little dark. Of course, if you’re here for the camp, these texts are easy to ignore. Basically, the ancient Proud Star ship crash-landed on Earth, and it carries a mysterious object that contains both the ability to Cyberform planets and the remnants of Cybertronian ‘culture’. However, we’re not really sure what this actually entails because apparently this word is all we need to know. What are we really trying to preserve, our sitcoms? In any case, it’s not difficult to figure out what is going to happen to all of that culture by the end of the game when it’s really just an excuse to prolong the story across more game levels.
The gameplay is fast and fun, and it looks and feels fantastic. I’ve yet to play Bayonetta myself, but I’ve heard this game feels a lot like it. It even has the ‘Witch Time’ mechanic, or as I dubbed it, ‘Prime Time’. The game also sounds great. The mix of rock and dubstep worked well, and I came to like the soundtrack quite a lot. Sometimes the voice acting leaves something to be desired, but fans of the original series will be glad to hear the same actors return.
There are plenty of collectables in each level, as well as a shoehorned in RPG-like system, but I didn’t feel these were designed in a way that made the player want to bother replaying some of the more tedious missions. However, I did think it was pretty neat how replaying the levels with different bots would change most of the dialogues. Naturally, the first thing I did after finishing game was replay all as me, Grimlock!
The thing that disappoints me most about this game is the length compared to the price point. This was a very enjoyable experience but it was extremely short. The first 4 or so hours were absolutely fantastic, but the last few it took to finish the story were meh at best. Even though replaying as Grimlock was a hoot, and challenging in some levels because he doesn’t change into a car like the others, it was still a bit of a grind to get through at times.
To make things worse, it had quite a few bugs, and I don’t mean the Insecticon variety. At one point my healing items were being expended, but not actually giving me any health. A quick internet search showed I wasn’t the only one having problems with this glitch, though it seemed to fix itself in later levels. Also, sometimes the sound effects play at the wrong time, especially when characters transform during a cut scene. I mean, isn’t the sweet sound of transformation what we’re all really here for?
The best part of this game was easily the boss fights, but they also made me sad that the Decepticons aren’t playable. You can equip their weapons after you defeat them, but it really isn’t the same. The most interesting fight for me was the final one with Megatron. It occurs in space, and the lack of ground means attacks can come from anywhere on the 360 degree plane.
After all that, I’m still left with the feeling that this game could have been so much bigger. Let me play as other Autobots, like Jazz and Ratchet. Give us a Decepticon story, or levels in which we can play as them. They kept coming out victorious until the very end, anyway. Or how about some local co-op?
At any rate, I hope that if this game performs reasonably well, something more ambitious will be put into production for fans of the franchise next time.
Transformers Devastation is good for what it is: a short, action-packed romp through G1 nostalgia, with emphasis on the short! I find it hard to justify spending $50 (USD) on this one, especially with the few disruptive bugs I found on release. If you’re not a huge fan of the G1 Transformers or PlatinumGames’s other titles, you’ll probably be disappointed if you don’t wait until this one is patched and the price drops. It’s nothing new or innovative, but those first few hours of play really were fantastic, and will be worth checking out sometime if you like the action-packed beat ‘em up genre and big stompy robots.