When I was growing up in the 80s there were all sorts of toys, action figures, board games, video games and more. Always something else for our parents to buy us if we pleaded long and hard enough. Some of the most amazing, and still to this day coveted, toys, are the Transformers. Now, finally after all these years of waiting, true fans have a video game worthy of the name Transformers, that game being Transformers Devastation.
For those who don’t know, the Transformers are a race of transforming alien robots, generally broken into 2 constantly warring factions, the Autobots and the Decepticons. The Autobots are the main protagonists and are let by Optimus Prime who transforms into a large cab over truck. The Decepticons are the series antagonists and are led by ruthless overlord, Megatron, who transforms into a tank. There are many more Transformers on both factions of the Autobots and Decepticons, plus there are some neutral factions and even some stand alone robots as well. Over the years Transformers has seen many iterations, such as films by Michael Bay, a stint where they transformed into prehistoric animals and much more.
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Genre: Action, Hack and Slash
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
There have also been many attempts at Transformers video games over the years, many of which are not even worth mentioning, as they were just cash ins on the popularity of franchise. The most recent series of video games being the Transformers: War For Cybertron series, was released in 2010 and received generally positive reviews, however the games tended to have a more modern look to the Transformers and resembled more the Michael Bay film adaptations as opposed to the original 80s animated versions.
The real Transformers done right.
Transformers Devastation is leagues ahead of its predecessors, as right from the cover art on the box you know this is the legit 80s Transformers. Done in a high detail cell shaded style, the transforming robots in Transformers Devastation are some of the best looking original generation one Transformers I have ever seen in a video game. Along with a large portion of original voice actors (including Peter Cullen reprising his role as Optimus Prime), original sound effects and the overall look, this is hands down one of the most authentic renditions of the classic Transformers.
In the game you take control of 5 playable Autobots as you fight your way through Deceptions and other foes to save the planet earth from destruction once again in this 3D action beat em up. You start the game playing as Optimus Prime and will later be able to play as Bumblebee who transforms into a Volkswagon Beetle, Sideswipe who transforms into a red Lamborghini style sports car, Wheeljack who transforms into a racing style car similar to a Porsche 962 and finally Grimlock. Grimlock is one of the Dinobots, who are aleis of the Autobots, and he transforms into a tyrannosaurus rex.
Fast and fun combat make this a must play for Hack and Slash fans.
Having been developed by the Japanese studio Platinum Games, of Bayonetta fame, all of the Autobots control amazingly well. The game is very easy to pick up and feels great as you smash and shoot your way through Decepticons. All of the Autobots have a large array of melee weapons to utilize, which include swords, axes, hammers, drill hands and more. Melee combos are easily executed with quick attack and heavy attack button presses, with successful combos capable of being followed up with a vehicle style attack to deal serious damage.
Switching to and utilizing ranged weapons is just as simple and satisfying as the melee combat. There is a wide variety of ranged weapons to choose from including machines guns, pistols, scatter guns and more, all capable of delivering a variety of damage types like lightning, flame and ice to name a few. Although certain larger weapons like hammers, axes and the 6 shot missile launcher can only be equipped by the larger Autobots like Wheeljack, Optimus Prime and Grimlock. There are also many iconic Transformers weapons to be used as well, like Optimus Primes Ion Blaster, Devastators drill gloves, Sideswipes double swords and more.
Each playable Autobot also has a unique special ability which can be used as needed but has a bit of a cool down depending on the Autobot. Optimus Primes unique attack is a vehicle mode rotating attack which makes use of his trailer to deliver a knockback blow to surrounding enemies, or Bumblebee’s unique attack which utilizes his speed and size to slide between foes legs to gain a moment’s advantage. When combined with the games dodge mechanic (similar to Bayonetta’s Witch Time), where when you dodge an enemy attack at the very last moment everything goes into a short burst of slow motion, you can really gain the upper hand in even the fiercest of battles.
Iconic Decepticons make for the greatest of foes
Throughout the game’s main single player campaign, you and the Autobots will face off against some of the most iconic enemies in the franchise. Megatron is of course the main antagonist throughout the story and uses many of his subordinates to hinder the Autobots. The Constructicons make an early appearance in the game and when combined to create Devastator, make for an awesome boss fight. Starscream and his fellow seeker jets are of course present and as cowardly as ever. Even the Insecticons play a vital role in this game and the battle with the ancient ones Shrapnel, Bombshell and Kickback are some of my favourite in the game.
As good as the overall feel and nostalgia factor of this game is there is definitely a few flaws that I found a little difficult to ignore at times. Unfortunately the main campaign is rather short as it took me just over 6 hours to complete and they try to make up for this with a series of collectibles and unlocks, many of which I found were put in areas that were very frustrating to get and felt it really didn’t add much to the overall game. I also found much of the in game environments were very uninspired and there was not one moment where I felt the look and design of the levels really stood out, they were just there to get you to next fight or encounter to progress the story.
Transformers Devastation is hands down the best Transformers game, I have ever played and I’ve played than all. As a fan of the original cartoons and original 1986 feature film, this game is just what I’ve always wanted. While it might not be perfect, it offers a great experience with all the classic characters, seamless transformations (complete with one of the best sound effects to come out of 80s cartoons) and the combat is great in that fast paced action Platinum Games is known for. Even with its short playtime, I found myself replaying levels and challenges just to get more robot bashing action and upgrades. This game might not be for everyone, but I’m sure it will make any original 80s Transformers fan happy this holiday season.
+ Classic 80s Transformers
+ 5 iconic playable Autobots
+ Many original voice actors reprise their roles
+ Responsive and rewarding combat
– Lackluster level design
– Too short
– Frustrating collectibles
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5
Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)
By Brad Pajuluoma, Gaming
Being a child of the 80s Brad grew up playing any and all video games he could get his hands on from the 8 and 16 bit era. As he grew older, video games turned into a life passion. He now works as the QA Lead for one of Toronto’s leading mobile developers. Aside from playing any and all video games he can fit into his hectic schedule, Brad is also a DJ. He enjoys playing some of todays latest and greatest electronic dance music at clubs here in the city. Follow him on twitter “@BRAD_Respawn” or give his DJ mixes a listen at www.soundcloud.com/brad-respawn.