Transformers: Devastation – an action game surrounding the storyline of Transformers franchise, created by PlatinumGames in support of Activision. Transformers: Devastation for PlayStation 4 review sheds light on the iconic Transformers.
They have been in countless games since the 1980s, but very few of them have been good. It’s a shame too since the concept of robots that turn into cars, and vice versa is perfect for video games.
You should theoretically be able to have something that blends both fast driving and combat, and PlatinumGames and their penchant for crafting just that kind of adventure are perfect for the job.
Devastation plays out like an episode of the Saturday morning cartoon. Megatron is out to destroy Earth, and Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots are out to stop him and take down his forces.
You have five playable characters to choose from, and can race around stages, engage in Melee combat, attack with the vehicle mode, or use long-range shooting with a pinch of cover shooting mixed in too.
Melee combos are available, and each character has their ones – even though they are all somewhat similar. One thing that allows you to keep things interesting is the ability to dodge attacks at the last minute.
Pressing R1/RB right before the point of impact enables you to slow down time and unleash a barrage of attacks. You either go after an enemy with a light/heavy Melee attack or transform into your vehicle and do even more damage.
Third-person shooting with L2/LT to aim and R2/RT to shoot is logical, but ammo is limited, and the gunfire itself feels a bit weak. There’s no sense of damage, and tinny pinging sound effects don’t help matters either.
Shooting should feel visceral, and each shot should have a sense of impact – especially when the game makes such good use of a rumble feature otherwise.
If the Earth shakes during a cut scene, you’ll feel it in the controller – but there’s no rumble effect for gunfire even though the vibration for Melee combos is satisfying and adds to the overall presentation of the game.
The mix of Melee combat, shooting, and a bit of platforming is satisfying overall. There is also a crafting system in place, and if you find a lot of items throughout the levels, you can power up your characters quite a bit.
When you aren’t battling enemies, you should explore areas thoroughly to find things – the more you have, the more options you have in combat.
It allows you to have faster; more powerful items – whereas if you don’t search out the areas enough, you’ll wind up with a more powerful item, but will have to deal with it being slower.
The game’s core formula is a bit on the repetitious side. You’ll start a level with a Decepticon doing something horrible, and then the Autobots will assemble, and your character will be chosen.
You’ll destroy a series of enemies with melee attacks, take out more with long-range shooting, engage in some race from Point A to B, and then you’ll be free to explore until you reach your next checkpoint area.
There isn’t a lot of surface area to explore, though, and this results in environments feeling a bit cramped. This issue is made worse by so many sectors re-using assets, so roads and buildings start to look the same after a short while.
Transformers Devastation is at its best when things are on the ground, and you’re battling enemies with mainly Melee attacks. The ability to slow down time and then attack with either your walking form or vehicle form keeps things fresh.
Chases are also fun, and the crafting system is a huge surprise. Transformers isn’t a franchise you would think such a thing would benefit from, but it does allow things to be more diverse than they otherwise would be.
You can either spread out your improvements across a lot of items and weapons or just choose to make a few super-powerful weapons.
Fortunately, while Transformers Devastation may not be the most robust experience out there – it is quite faithful to the Transformers franchise. Visually, it looks better than any other Transformers game thanks to the extensive use of cel shading for the Autobots and Decepticons.
Everything looks even better than it would have if they had made it look exactly like the ’80s show since there is far more shading here on the characters than there was on the show.
Character animation is smoother here than the show as well, and yet it doesn’t cross the line of being so elaborate that attacks take too long to execute. Environments could use more variety, and the lack of cel shading on them sticks out pretty badly.
The texture work is, at least, substantial, but the in-game world requires consistently because the only elements with great cel-shading are the characters.
Transformers Devastation’s audio presentation couldn’t be much better. The outstanding voice actors from the ’80s cartoon are back, giving all of the dialogue an air of authenticity.
The soundtrack is also excellent, using songs that were both crafted for the show and new songs made by the composer. The new heavy metal songs used mainly for boss fights get the blood pumping and also evoke some of the boss music used for Bayonetta 2, which did pretty much the same thing.
The sound effects are usually on-point too, with satisfying clanks and smash sounds for physical attacks. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, the gunfire sounds weak and prevents the cover-based shooting from feeling as satisfying as it should.
Shooting and repetition aside, Transformers Devastation is still an excellent game. It may not be the best game ever made, but is the best Transformers game ever and the only one that truly replicated the feel of the ’80s cartoon.
Fans who grew up with that should give it a chance while others may be better off just renting it and seeing if they like it.
There’s a surprising amount of depth to the crafting system, but not nearly as much depth in the actual combat – which is a little bit backwards.
It’s nearly-perfect regarding visual presentation, and the sound design is outstanding as well.