The robots in disguise are back once again, taking on the medium of videogames to push their existing fan base into the hands of more people. At the helm this time is PlatinumGames, under the publisher Activision, who run the games side of the Transformers franchise. In true Platinum fashion, Devastation is an action title, like the plethora before it, taking place in the Generation 1 style of transformers.
It’s done well too, with the original voice acting cast returning to reprise their roles as the familiar robotic heroes we know and love. Even long-time Transformers composer Vince DiCola lends his hands to a handful of the soundtrack, as well as Transformers comic writer Andy Schmidt, who provides the story. You play as either; Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Sideswipe or Grimlock. You can chop and change as you progress through the paltry 7 levels on offer or you can stick through as one character. Each Autobot has slightly different play styles and story elements that all lead to the same outcome, so unless you want every little detail, it’s not worth attempting it with those characters that don’t really work for you.
The combat itself is very satisfying, combining the best bits of Bayonetta and Vanquish. Yes, really. To add some variety the combat, which is as smooth and technical as you’d expect from PlatinumGames, they’ve added in shooting elements, seeing as Transformers have blasters. These seem heavily based off of Vanquish, like I previously mentioned, and you can even perform slow-motion dives while firing your guns, just like the aforementioned game. While Devastation steals its best elements from other games in Platinum’s arsenal, you at least know that they’re good elements, so the combat works as well as you’d expect.
You can also enter vehicle mode to transverse the levels a bit quicker and add to your combos. Some weapons will have ammo or energy gauges, meaning you have to play out your attacks so that you’re not left defenceless, though the games generous throwing of recovery items will likely stop that from happening. Weapons have decent variety, from axes to shotguns and swords to snipers, all with their Transformers twist, making them feel right at home in the universe. You can also synthesise weapons together to make stronger ones, but ultimately it adds very little to the game other than to distract you.
Boss fights are genuinely fun and are big, dynamic affairs. The bosses are all pretty well thought out and the fights are often well structured to deliver a satisfying experience. They are, however, a little tame for Platinum for the most part. Only a handful of the bosses are as over the top as you’d expect, which is a little disappointing from the company that brought you that fight with Armstrong in Metal Gear Rising or the that hour long space battle with Jergingha in The Wonderful 101.
The game itself is a simple, 4 hour long affair. You can wash your hands of the game in very little time, with Devastation feeling more like 7 episodes of one story of the cartoon, rather than a fully-fledged game. You get the sense throughout the game, combat aside, feels a little rushed with random length levels – some are half an hour long while other can be rounded off in a few minutes – and some really awkward editing in the cutscenes. It’s sloppy and something that could’ve been fixed if the developers had managed to get a bit more time on the project. There’s 50 challenges as well, but they’re relatively simple affairs, as well as being rather on the repetitive side.
What Platinum has done with Transformers Devastation is produce game that summarises their best bits from previous franchises into an extremely condensed package. At £40, 4 hours is really not good enough for what you get back. When the game comes down in price though, I’d fully recommend what is, frankly, an average Platinum title but also a fantastic Transformers game.
– It’s way too short
– Repetitive challenges
– Not as over the top as Platinum normally go
– Cliché Story and Cheesy Dialogue
– Shoehorned “Skills”
– Empty Stretches of Road
Genre: Action Game, 3D, Hack and slash
Developer: Platinum Games
Official Website: https://www.platinumgames.com/games/transformers-devastation