On the face of it, a game about transformable robots waging an intergalactic war with Earth caught in the middle of it all should be a marvellous thing. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark however, sadly stands as a spectacular squandering of both the license it's based on and the considerable power of the PlayStation 4.
Rise of the Dark Spark's campaign chronicles the perpetual conflict between the Autobots and the Decepticons, the good and bad guys that respectively exist within the universe that Transformers is set in. Specifically, the narrative settles on a war being waged over the titular Dark Spark, an artefact of great power which is capable of unbalancing the universe as we know it.
It's the usual wafer-thin sci-fi fluff that we've come to expect from the license for sure, but the gameplay in Rise of the Dark Spark does little to make up for the lean and simplistic storytelling that it underpins.
A third-person shooter, Rise of the Dark Spark's single-player campaign takes players through the quest to retrieve the Dark Spark and lets them experience events from the perspective of both the Autobots and the Decepticons.
Each level or mission though, is a disappointingly dull and challenge-free affair. Usually requiring the player to reach a certain waypoint, retrieve an object or destroy a particular enemy, there is often very little else to do other than blast your way through wave upon wave of mechanical enemies en route to your objectives.
In other games, such a simplistic premise could be overlooked if the core mechanics and the enemy AI was up to snuff. Alas, in Rise of the Dark Spark, your foes will often dumbly wander into oncoming fire freely and will only use cover in exaggerated and predictable manoeuvres.
Furthermore, the level design is hugely lacking. Aside from being geometrically basic and largely featureless, the worlds in Rise of the Dark Spark are a garish and sparsely detailed mess of blurry textures and personality-barren environments.