Also On: Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Platinum Games
Platinum Games is a developer with one hell of a track record. They’ve put out a pretty diverse selection of video games, despite being primarily known for stuff like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising. While titles like Vanquish and The Wonderful 101 certainly bear the Platinum mark, they’re also very unique when compared to each other, with plenty of ideas and mechanics that don’t necessarily carry over from game to game.
Transformers: Devastation follows that trend, to a lesser degree. The combat feels very much like Bayonetta, right down to the “Witch Time” slow-down effect that gets triggered when you successfully dodge. Even the parry system, which can be admittedly challenging, feels very similar to Platinum Games most popular franchise. But if you had told me we’d ever see a good Transformers game again, after developer High Moon Studios had moved on to support Call of Duty and Destiny for Activision, I’d have thought you mad. Even more so if you told me that this game would be not only good, but based upon the designs of the original “G1” cartoon series.
But that’s exactly what Transformers: Devastation is. It feels a bit like a love-letter to long-suffering Transformers fans, nailing the old-school cartoon in both look and attitude. The voice work is great, the story feels like it’s been taken from an unreleased episode or film, and while the roster of Autobots is light, there are a whole lot of awesome Decepticons featured as bosses and bad guys here. And it all plays buttery smooth, with unique movesets between the five Autobots featured, along with loot, equippable weapons, elemental damage, ranged attacks, specials, and a combo system that’s easy to pick-up and learn.
Seriously, fighting is the highlight here, and you’ll get to do plenty of it. While the game is a bit short, most stages focus on moving from point A to point B, getting funnelled into arena like settings that fill with varying enemies to defeat. The actual enemy variety is great, with challenging combinations of foes in later levels that’ll have you work up a sweat in no time. And those boss fights! Seriously, this is one of the few licensed games that gets and builds up epic encounters between enemies in a way that feels satisfying and true to the property. Going one on one with Soundwave, Megatron, Starscream and others is sheer joy for Transformers fans, with boss fights that feel stylistic and impressive, even by Platinum’s already high standards.
That said, Transformers: Devastation isn’t perfect. There’s some really rough driving sequences here and there where you’re either tasked with hunting down a driving or flying Decepticon, or chasing after a goal within a limited amount of time. The driving doesn’t feel bad necessarily, but it’s pretty loose, and the levels are occasionally claustrophobic and ill-suited to these sequences. There’s also a few other one-off battles or encounters that play very differently from the rest of the game, which won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that’s played a Platinum game before. But these sequences never quite work, and feel a little cumbersome overall. They also detract a bit from the appeal of playing through the game again and again, which you’d ideally want to do with Transformers: Devastation.
Still, these moments are few and far between. By and large the gut of this game is built around the fantastic combat systems, and the even more impressive boss battles you’ll see throughout the seven missions that comprise the main story. And if you’re really enjoying that combat, you can dive further in with 50 Challenges that focus almost entirely on just that. That’s in addition to the multiple difficulty levels, which can also dictate the quality of the loot you can find, allowing you to further customize all five Autobots at your disposal. So despite being a short game on the surface, there’s still plenty to see and do here.
Any action game fan would be doing themselves a favor when it comes to checking out Transformers: Devastation. It’s a fantastic take on the Transformers license, and one of the few that really captures the look and feel of original cartoon. Platinum never ceases to amaze me, and thankfully Transformers: Devastation continues to prove why Platinum Games is the best action genre developer in the business today.