Transformers: Devastation is the newest game based on the Transformers series, but this game isn’t based on your modern day Transformers. Devastation kicks it old school bringing back the original Generation one Transformers and Devastation is a pretty great welcoming back.
So forget all that you know about your modern day Shia Labeouf Transformers and your Fall/War of Cybertron Transformers because these are the old original Transformers. Everything about this game is original from the voice actors to the graphics. And it works great. Admittedly I wasn’t even too huge on the transformers as a kid, when gen one was still a thing, but as soon as I heard Optimus Prime talk in Transformers: Devastation I was sent back to the early 90’s. Having the original voice actors back (for the most part) was huge but it really was only in addition to everything else that was awesome with the game. For the most part I haven’t been a fan of past Transformers games and though I thought Fall of Cybertron was good it still wasn’t great. Transformers: Devastation is far from a perfect game but I can say that overall this has been my best Transformers experience yet.
The main story line in Devastation is that Megatron and the Decepticons want to turn earth into a new version of Cybertron. Your job as the Autobots is to stop this from happening. There are of course many events that occur within that overarching plot line but I’m going to avoid those to try and prevent any spoilers. The game plays out as a hack and slash type game fighting all Decepticons that get in your way, playing as any one of the Autobots you so choose. You’ll travel from location to location completing your main quests while fighting, discovering loot and secrets hidden along the way, and playing through a series of side quests should you choose to do them. The side quests weren’t overly elaborate and mostly revolved around killing more Decepticons for whatever the current purpose might be. Throughout the game however there were quite a few nice little changes in gameplay, like a segment where you have to race a Decepticon to an objective and where the game switched over from a third person perspective to a top down camera. While the changes in gameplay weren’t the most exciting they did do a nice job at changing the game up enough to keep it feeling fresh.
So since the game is nearly completely combat does the combat handle well at least? For the most part the answer is yes. While fighting land based opponents combat was as solid as could be. The ability to quickly change between primary and secondary weapons and projectiles on the fly was nice and painless and making sure your attacks hit was never a concern. Dodging is probably the most important skill in the game which takes precise timing and it definitely took me a little bit to get dodging down well but once I got it it became a must use. If you dodge an attack at the exact right moment you’ll not only avoid taking damage, but will activate a temporary slow motion system which allows you to get some real good combos off on your enemies. The issues I had came about with flying enemies, specifically when they were packed into a group with ground based enemies. Trying to dodge the attacks from flying enemies was a bit of a challenge because the rotation of the camera just never seemed to want to function properly while there were other enemies surrounding me. In cases like this I found it was the best option to back away from combat so I could snipe the flying enemies out of the sky before proceeding. It wasn’t a huge issue but was definitely something that could have been done better. Another somewhat odd thing was that combat among regular Decepticons was very rarely a problem. I could get attacked by swarms of them and leave the battle with just a pinch of health missing but that somewhat ease was very much made up for in the boss battles, where only three or four hits will get you killed. Almost every single boss battle took me multiple attempts, and I wasn’t even playing on the hardest difficulty. Now this also wasn’t too big of a complaint. The checkpoint system saves your status very frequently so even when you die you don’t have to retread too much ground. Having to battle a boss four or five times gave me plenty of time to adjust my methods until I could kill the boss no problem.
Transformers: Devastation isn’t an overly long game either. The game consists of seven chapters which depending on how quickly you try and play through the game can take you anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. The game tends to have chapters get shorter the farther in you are. Being a game from Platinum Games, the studio behind Bayonetta and the more recent The Legend of Korra game it seems they hope players will go back and replay the game multiple times to try and uncover all of the hidden secrets and collect all the weapons but that kind of replay-ability isn’t for everyone. Speaking of weapons however, the weapon system in the game is certainly vast. There are endless weapons of each type giving you a whole lot of freedom in how you play and what weapons you use. You can upgrade and customize each Autobot to your liking, which is both great and somewhat flawed. While the ability to customize each Autobot as you like the upgrading system works on a per Autobot system, meaning that as you play through you’ll likely end up sticking to one single Autobot as opposed to switching off more frequently. It would have been a nice change to have a universal level making it easier to switch Autobots at a later level rather than the existing requirement to grind them up to point.
Transformers: Devastation is beautiful. In fact my favorite part of the game is it’s look. It truly is a great looking game which still feels incredibly authentic with the Gen one transformers. The titles biggest downfall is the actual level layout. You will constantly see assets being re-used and even bits of the level being copied and duplicated. The world just isn’t that original and luckily you have the minimap to tell you where your objective is otherwise you’d be lost trying to determine where you actually are. The world looks nice, it just could have used far more variety than it has. In its current state the world just seems kind of bland.
Overall Transformers: Devastation is a solid game. If you’re a hard core fan of Transformers, especially gen one then this one is a must buy. If your a fan of hack and slashes and don’t really care about following the story then this is also totally up your ally. That said if you’re looking for a huge game with vast and varied locations and non repetitive gameplay you’ll want to turn the other direction on this one. Platinum Games did a bang up job with the game and though it isn’t without flaws it definitely is a great service to those who’ve been waiting for some serious old school transformers action. Transformers: Devastation is especially something you’ll want to dive into if you’ve got any interest in the new Transformers Prime War Trilogy that was recently announced by Hasbro and was reported on by Mike McWhertor here.
Transformers: Devastation gets a 7.5 out of 10
– Graphics. They’re wonderful
– Original Gen 1 voice cast is back
– Vast weapons to play how you want to play
– Fighting is, for the most part, very solid
– Levels are very similar and reuse assets too often.
– Game is relatively short
– Boss difficulty seems to be scaled a bit too high