Game review: Transformers Devastation

Devastation captures the look of the original Transformers animated series. Picture: Contributed
Devastation captures the look of the original Transformers animated series. Picture: Contributed
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A fun action adventure that recaptures the early glory days of Transformers

Game review: Transformers Devastation

Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PC

Score: 8/10

DURING the summer, a viral video provided considerable amusement to children of the 1980s. The short film captured the reaction of today’s youngsters as they were shown footage of the original Transformers cartoon which began in 1984 and quickly amassed millions of fans around the world. The incredulous reactions from the children of 2015 (“This is not the Transformers I know,” opines one) were enough to make those who grew up in the Soda Stream era feel old, but hopefully, they also convinced a new generation of Transformers fans to look back beyond the Michael Bay films.

Activision’s latest Transformers game is a welcome trip back in time that fondly remembered series, but do not mistake it as a low-profile spin-off. With an impressive developer on board and a style that captures the look and feel of the programme perfectly, Devastation is a very good if ultimately short lived action game that will stir the memories of old school fans of the franchise and keep them entertaining.

The combat system from Bayonetta is put to good use in Devastation

Anyone who has played the superb Bayonetta series on the Wii U will find much to admire in Devastation, and with good reason - they share the same developer, Platinum Games. Several elements of the entertaining and responsive combat system from Bayonetta have been lifted wholesale and transferred to the Transformers universe. Some might call that cynical, but when the mechanics work so well, we look on it as resourceful.

The combat is hinged on an excellent combination system that demands you piece together heavy and light attacks, defensive parries and special moves while transforming your robot into vehicles capable of charge-style attacks. Every sequence you carry out is rated, a clever idea in that it constantly eggs you on to dispose of enemies in increasingly elaborate ways, chaining together focus, rush and vehicle attacks with melee and ranged strikes. Given the variety of foes is modest, this keeps the action interesting for the duration of the campaign.

The robot models and environments would not look out of place in the cartoon

Yet the best asset Devastation has going for it is its faithfulness to the original cartoon. With a script by Andy Schmidt and a voice cast packed with former talent from the 1980s series, the plot and dialogue is engaging and well delivered. The masterstroke, however, is the graphics, with the robot models replicated perfectly against environmental backdrops that wouldn’t look out of place on the original show.

On the downside, the game feels very short, with the campaign giving around six or seven hours of gameplay. The boss battles, meanwhile, herald a spike in difficulty and can at times only be conquered by a trial and error process of replays. But as with everything else in Devastation, these grand set pieces certainly look the part. If you grew up watching the early adventures of the Autobots, this game is a nostalgia trip and a fun experience in its own right.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

Learning how to parry is just as important as any of the major special offensive moves, so practice until you have mastered it.

Study the various moves at your disposal and learn how to execute devastating delay combos.

Scoring a headshot with a ranged weapon will allow you to carry out vehicle attacks.