Developed by Platinum Games, Transformers Devastation offers a unique take on the Generation 1 (G1) era of the popular children’s toy and 80’s T.V. series. Typical of some of PlatinumGames’ other titles, such as Bayonetta and Anarchy Reigns, players are thrown into the thick of the action from the outset, kicking off the campaign in control of Transformer’s veteran Optimus Prime as he takes on the Decepticons in a frenetic clash of metal-against-metal.
In Transformers Devastation, you can play as one of five different Autobots, with the opportunity to dive into the metal boots of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Swideswipe, Wheeljack and Grimlock, who are voiced superbly by the original actors. Once you’ve beaten the first couple of chapters, you can replay all the other levels with any of the five Autobots, which adds a decent amount of replay value, as each one feels so unique, with a different look and range of moves to master. Completionists may also get a kick out of attempting to unlock separate PlayStation Trophies for beating the game with each of the five characters.
Combat in Transformer Devastation is incredibly fast and responsive, with the ability to use a combination of light and heavy combat attacks with vehicle attacks, which is useful for chaining together boss combos and keeping enemies at bay. Not only is it fun and intuitive chaining combos together, but it also looks great, with the familiar frames of the Autobots transforming between their robot and vehicle modes with an impeccable level of detail.
Coupled with a dodge ability for diving swiftly out of the way, which triggers a neat slow-motion effect, combat makes for an exciting battle of skill and wits which caters for both novices, with its simple-to-learn control scheme, but also has enough depth to appeal to seasoned pros. Though combat can get a little repetitive, the fact that there’s five playable Autobots – each of which sports a different special move and combo-ending – there’s a good deal of variety and fun to be had taking on the Decepticons.
Optimus Prime, for example, uses his mechanical fists to execute combos up-close-and-personal, before transforming into a truck/trailer and performing a powerful finisher with his sweeping, ram attack. Wheeljack on the other hand is better at mid-to-ranged attacks, using his wrenches to pull off combos and his shield to block and batter foes, before transforming into the tiny Lancia Stratos Turbo 5 rally car to deliver huge damage.
The Autobots also have multiple stats that can be increased, such as endurance. These can be increased by killing enemies, completing chapters and by consuming items. You can also add ammo to your weapons from the inventory screen with items dropped from chests. Opening chests can sometimes involve challenges, such as shooting Deception symbols to activate activate secret chests, and then having to complete the challenge by partaking in the likes of a time trial event.
There’s also a loot system to get stuck into, which allows Autobots to collect weapons from other Transformers and equip them in up to four slots. This adds a decent amount of customisation options that enables you to adopt a play-style that suits. The loot system works really well too with a satisfaction gained from finding decent weapons. These can also be upgraded by sacrificing other weapons using the synthesis command, so as you progress it feels like your Autobot is growing in strength. Adding even more depth to the combat system is the ability to develop T.E.C.H. to add bonus stats to your Autobot, although the mini-game that kicks in (press the button at the exact time the marker hits the yellow line) does seem a bit inconsistent in terms of the gear it offers.
Transformers Devastation consists of just seven chapters, and most of the mission content appears in the first few chapters. The action also takes place across just two locations, so at first glance there doesn’t seem to be much content to get stuck into. However, replay value not only comes in the form of unlockable Autobots with different skills, but also with side missions (useful for boosting character stats) and harder difficulty levels. Indeed, crank Devastation up to ‘Hard’ and it becomes a punishing challenge that is rewarded well with better loot drops.
Adding further replay value is the challenge mode, which unlocks more levels as you complete certain actions in the main campaign. These can range from eliminating the targets to a time trial attack, and boss-style challenge fights. The better you rank at the end of the mission improves the quality of loot you receive, so there’s always some motivation to go back and achieve an ‘S’ rank.
Transformers Devastation also has an amazing soundtrack and audio, which captures the feeling of the original T.V series superbly. The only minor flaw in the presentation is with the graphics of the Autobots and Decepticons which look slightly out of place compared to the beautiful 2D art-style of the rest of the environment. However, the game is so fast-paced that it’s not really a big issue as the frenetic action pulls you away from gawping too much at any graphical inconsistencies.
The only other area that could have been improved would have been by giving players the chance to play as the Decepticons. Though this would have caused issues with the storyline, it wouldn’t really matter if you’ve already played through the campaign – these could have been unlocked once you completed it. Overall though, Transformers Devastation is a fun-packed title that will appeal to fans of Transformers, as well as people who enjoy their annual fix of PlatinumGames immersive action titles. Though the lack of playable Decepticons and the short main campaign is disappointing, the addictive loot system and the fluid, fast-paced combat more than makes up for its shortcomings.
Disclaimer – A review copy of Transformers Devastation was provided by Activision Publishing.