‘Transformers: Devastation’ satisfies the nostalgic craving of old-school fans

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Transformers: Devastation
Developed by Platinum Games
Published by Activision
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Platinum Games is the go-to studio if you want to take your IP and make a solid video game out of it. The Legend of Korra is a previous example of PG and Activision’s partnership in taking well-known properties and creating satisfying results. But how far can Platinum take Transformers, a franchise which has already seen its fair share of game adaptations? Fortunately, Transformers: Devastation is not only a treasure trove of nostalgic goodness but a solid gaming experience all around.

Devastation‘s selling point is its near perfect replication of the Transformers cartoon of the 80s by using colorful and vibrant cel-shaded graphics along with the vocal talents of the original cast. Optimus Prime is back and still noble and proud. Bumblebee is still a goofy yet loyal sidekick and Megatron is still a one dimensional warlord who wants nothing but global domination. Everything is how it has been remembered since the 80s and that’s is exactly why Devastation is such a triumph in that respect.

The story revolves around Optimus Prime and the Autobots fending off an assault from Megatron and the Decepticons using the Insecticons in an effort to cyberform Earth. It’s a premise that feels right at home with the stories coming out of the original cartoon series. It’s campy and humorous with tons of action. Unlike, Fall of Cybertron it isn’t dark and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s as if you’re playing  an interactive version of your Saturday morning childhood.

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This isn’t to say all Devastation has going for it is its nostalgia factor. It does have the satisfying “non-stop climax action” for which Platinum Games is known. The player can choose from a variety of autobots with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Sideswipe being available early on in the game. Each of these characters start out with differing stats but the player can increase each of the Autobot’s attributes individually while playing. There’s plenty of weapons to find and synthesize in order to create the most fierce autobot warrior at your disposal. Not only can the autobots attack using melee weapons such as swords or even their own fists, they use machine guns or sniper rifles to change the close-quarters battling into a ranged shoot out.

The main difference between each autobot is their set of special moves to utilize in battle. The ability gauge constantly fills during battle which allows for sub-specials to be unleashed in battle like Wheeljack’s shield  or Sideswipe’s teleport. On top of this each autobot has an ultimate gauge which gradually fills as the player attacks an enemy. Once the gauge is filled, the autobot can do a devastating special attack which will certainly turn the tides of battle.

The most uniquely Transformers mechanic in Devastation is definitely the ability to transform into vehicles. Each autobot can race through the battlefield as their vehicular counterparts. This can be used to quickly avoid enemies or to rush them to create an offensive opening. After all, it just wouldn’t be Transformers if you couldn’t make use of Prime’s diesel form in battle.

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The combat is as much of a defensive game as it is offensive. When an autobot dodges in time to an enemy’s attack, time will slow allowing for an onslaught of attack, which in turn is a mechanic ripped straight from Bayonetta.  This is the key to success in most battles. You aren’t a bullet sponge, despite being a giant metal machine. The enemies’ attacks will utterly destroy the health gauge and the best way to survive is utilizing the dodge “focus” and attacking at your own discretion.

As rewarding as the combat feels, it’s unfortunately all that Devastation offers gameplay wise. The whole game feels like it is taking the player through the story, combat segment after combat segment. The player will be in a boss battle against Starscream then, right after a short cutscene, the player will then be thrown into another boss battle against Blitzwing. There isn’t much else interspersed within the game to give a sense of variety. It seems to just follow the formula of cutscene, combat, cutscene, combat and so on. While the combat and nostalgia take the game far, Devastation is really only being held up by these two elements alone.

Transformers: Devastation is a serenading ode to the inner 80s kid in you. It was made with old-school Transformers fans in mind, so much so that not many other people would find anything note worthy with the game, unless maybe you’re a diehard Platinum fan. While it’s not a perfect game and it can become repetitive over its short seven hour playthrough, Devastation makes great use of the Transformers name and is a must play for fans who found that the Cybertron series just couldn’t quell that itch.

B-_rating

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