I’ve always been a fan of Transformers. There have been some great Transformers game in recent years. Both War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron are exceptional games that capture the feel of what Transformers is all about. I’m glad to say that the newest Transformers game, Transformers: Devastation adds to the list of great Transformers games.
Developed by Platinum Games, Transformers: Devastation takes a lot of mechanics from its previous titles and adds it to the Transformers franchise. Transformers: Devastation is a character action game in a similar vein to Platinum Games’ other titles (Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising). You are able to control one of five Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock as they battle against Decepticon.
The story is simple. Megatron discovers a way to harness the power of Plasma Energy to cyberform Earth, destroying organic life and turning the planet to metal. It’s up to Optimus Prime and the Autobots to work and bring down the Decepticons. A lot of the original voice cast is present and they do a fantastic job delivering their material. I thought it was enjoyable and nailed the Saturday morning cartoon vibe (which is important for a Transformers game). Megatron ismean to Starscream, Wheeljack continuously cracks jokes, and Optimus Prime continuously inspires his team to never give up and keep fighting.
The real meat and potatoes of Transformers: Devastation is its combat. The combat is great. It’s fast paced, precise, and very frantic. Each character has a light and a heavy attack and can combo into their vehicle (or dinosaur) form. It’s a great feeling to combo all of your attacks together and it’s extremely satisfying. You’re also equipped with weapons (a total of four). These usually consist of blasters and grenade launchers. I found myself gravitating towards the sniper rifle early on. You’re also able to change what melee weapons you’re using. From swords to axes to hammers, there’s a decent variety. Each weapon has a different attach value, with some being stronger than others. That being said, you’ll probably find a gun/melee combo you like and stick with it for the majority of the game. I ended up using the sniper rifle for the majority of the game because it was powerful and was able to take out enemies and bosses from a distance. The game doesn’t really reward experimentation too much. Certain weapons don’t do different amounts of damage depending on enemy types, so it doesn’t pay to switch up weapons that you’re comfortable using.
Each one of the five playable characters feels and plays different. Grimlock is a big, slow, powerful character, while Bumblebee is mobile and utilizes quick attacks. Each character also comes equipped with a special ability that needs to be charged. I found myself using Optimus Prime for the majority of the game because, well… it’s Optimus Prime. That being said Transformers: Devastation is a game that can be replayed with each one of the different characters. The characters play differently enough that, I could definitely see myself going through again and replaying it with Grimlock and Wheeljack. It’s not a particularly long game (I beat it on normal in just under five hours) so you can go back through and play it with each of the other characters if you wanted. There’s a light amount of exploration involved within the mission-based structure, similar to most of Platinum’s previous work. It’s mostly linear, but there are various instances that allow for some form of deviation. There are also a few challenge rooms that you can partake in that will reward you with weapons and items.
Transformers: Devastation is not without its faults though. The game is $50. I’m not saying it could’ve been a downloadable title, because there’s a lot to sift through here, but I could have gone for more characters, secrets, missions, and modes. The challenge mode was just too simplistic for my task, and with the majority of the game being linear, there’s not too much exploration to be had.
Additionally, the RPG system that the game uses feels half-baked. It’s convoluted and very hard to see what all the stats mean on each weapon. You’re also able to synthesize weapons together to create stronger ones, but it doesn’t really teach you that and I found myself stumbling my way through that system, dismantling weapons to power up the main weapon I was using. You’re also able to buy new moves and acquire chips that will add additional buffs to your character. While these are a nice addition, it again feels like a tacked on system.
At its best, Transformers: Devastation had me grinning from ear to ear. There’s a lot of fun and campy moments throughout the story. The combat is incredibly fun and rewarding and there are some truly mammoth boss encounters throughout the game. It’s is a simplistic and enjoyable game, that’s a little bogged down by lack of RPG depth and a confusing weapon system. If you’re a fan of old school Transformers and are looking for a quick, nostalgic, character-action game, then give Transformers: Devastation a try.
A PS4 copy of Transformers: Devastation was acquired by reviewer. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.