Transformers: Devastation Review

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Transformers: Devastation

The Verdict

This could have been a licensed disaster, but I believe the team may have learned from Korra's shortcomings. The storyline is cheesy 80's goodness, the voice acting is top notch, and the gameplay feels satisfying on nearly every level.

Somehow, Platinum Games was able to make a combat system for sentient cars that can transform at will, feel just right. That's saying something. 

The asking price might be a bit high for those that simply blast through the story, especially since the game lacks any sort of multiplayer or co-op component. But those that like to dive deep into their games, Devastation offers a bunch of collectables and challenge missions, to keep your playtime going.

Transformers: Devastation gets an Energon powered recommendation from us.

Transformers: Devastation

The Positives

  • Transformers games aren't really a rarity these days, and while we've gotten some great games from High Moon Studios, the following games based on the movies were absolutely horrific. It's smart that someone at Activision or Platinum decided to base the game on G1 Transformers, which are arguably the best iteration.

  • The combat feels right. It's no secret that Platinum Games knows a thing or two about combat system in games, but it could have been tricky in a game that stars sentient cars that can transform. Ultimately though, Platinum nailed it with combos that have weight and fluidity.

  • Platinum Games' signature Witch Time is back, albeit with a different name, and feels just as good as ever. Dodge an attack right as it's about to hit you, and you'll slow time around you, letting you get in a few extra hits.

  • Combo finishers are satisfying, as they allow you to quickly transform and perform a finishing move in your vehicle or dinosaur mode (if you're Grimlock).

  • Transforming back and forth is also done very eloquently. The dodge button also works as the transform button when held down for a longer time.

  • There's a loot system! This was completely unexpected, but ultimately appreciated, as it adds some really good replayability to the game. Weapons feel different from one another. The hammers are slow but pack a mean punch, whereas twin swords are extremely fast but don't deal as much damage. There are also a variety of ranged weapons from missile launchers, to spread guns and grenade launchers. Each character can have up to four weapons equipped at a time, and can easily swap between one another with the push of the d-pad.

  • The weapons themselves are sorted by rarity and can be synthesized together to strengthen them. If you have a favorite weapon, simply feed it other weapons you don't use to strengthen its stats. Higher grade weapons will be able to be strengthened much further.

  • The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm very happy Platinum Games opted for a cel-shaded look, especially when so many games these days based on cartoons and anime tend to go with flat 3D textures. It certainly looks like a cartoon.

  • The maps are somewhat explorable. After your initial tutorial, you'll get free reign to explore the city, as well as other locales, which house a lot of secret collectables and loot chests to collect, as well as secret missions. I wouldn't call it open-world, but there is definitely a degree of freedom here.

  • If you're into Platinum Games' approach to scoring you on everything you do, you'll feel right at home here. Every mission in every chapter will score you based on various parameters, meaning those that want to chase after the perfect score, will find a lot of replayability here.

  • The voice acting is top notch, with Peter Cullen returning as the iconic Optimus Prime, and Frank Welker as Megatron. It's great to also hear Soundwave sound like his G1 self, and to finally hear Bumblebee talking, after Michael Bay had the audacity to silence him for four films.

  • Likewise, the music is composed of some amazing rock songs that complement the action-packed fight scenes, as well as some fittingly epic orchestral scores in a few sections. As far as sound design goes, Transformers: Devastation nails it on all counts.

Transformers: Devastation

The Negatives

  • Before I got the chance to freely play as any of the Transformers and upgrade their weapons, each of them felt different. Bumblebee had nimble fist attacks, Sideswipe had two fast blades, and Optimus Prime had a balanced axe. They all felt different from one another. However, once you start equipping them with different weapons, they start to feel very similar. For instance, once I gave Optimus Prime a pair of Energy Blades, his moveset then switched to the same one that Sideswipe had.

  • The game isn't all that long, and mileage may vary depending on how much of a completionist you are. You can play the entire game as any of the five Transformers (at least after the initial part of the game) as well as chase after a bunch of collectibles and random loot, but not everyone is going to want to do this.

  • This isn't so much a negative toward the game, but those looking for technical combat found in games like Bayonetta, Vanquish or Metal Gear Rising will probably be disappointed by Devastation's slightly more casual friendly approach.

  • The price tag of $49.99 might be somewhat steep for what's offered, but again, mileage will wary. If you're just thinking of picking this up to play the story, with no interest in replaying it as other characters, it might be worth it to wait for a bit of a price cut.

  • Sadly, no co-op feature or mode included. I'm usually not one to complain about a lack of multiplayer, but I would have loved to bring along a friend and rough up some Decepticons.

Platinum Games are known for their prowess in creating satisfying action games. They've proved themselves, time and time again, with titles like the masterful Bayonetta 1 & 2, the action packed Vanquish, and the over-the-top Anarchy Reigns. Likewise, they even did a fantastic job taking over the reigns of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

However, Platinum was charged with making a licensed game based on The Legend of Korra, and the result was fairly mediocre. While the game wasn't bad by any means, the combat was nowhere near as satisfying as previous Platinum games. Needless to say, it made me wary when a Transformers game was announced by the same team.

Thankfully, Transformers: Devastation does a lot of things right. It's not perfect, and it probably won't be a substitute for action games like Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising, but it's a competent action game that feels great to play.

So let's take a look at what's good, what should have been improved, and our final verdict.

The Positives / The Negatives

The Verdict