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Review: Transformers: Devastation

If you ask kids nowadays to describe Transformers, they’ll give you a description of the explosive Michael Bay Transformers. Older gamers will describe the first generation of Transformers however. The transformers that looked futuristic back in the eighties. This first generation is where it all started and PlatinumGames decided it was time to bring the first generation to the attention of gamers. Transformers: Devastation is one of the best Transformer games but isn’t perfect just yet.

An episode from the past

Transformers: Devastation isn’t based on the modern movies but is inspired by the original cartoon that aired on television in the eighties. The game is created to mirror a classic episode, with success. Devastation uses cell-shaded graphics to bring back the cartoon to high definition televisions. It’s great to see the first generation of Transformers and Decepticons back on the screen. It’s a time where Optimus was a classic truck and Bumblebee didn’t transform into a Camaro. A time where Megatron looked like a black and white villain and where Starscream could never be trusted.

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It’s interesting to see how good PlatinumGames managed to recreate the first generation. They even managed to help some original voice actors hop on board of the project. The original actor voices most of the characters. Most importantly, Peter Cullen is once again Optimus Prime and Frank Welker is Megatron. Talking about nostalgia!

Besides the original voices you’ll also note that the soundtrack and effects are very similar to the once you heard during the television show. This isn’t a coincidence. Vince DiCola, the same guy that made the soundtrack of the cartoon, created the new soundtrack! The effects are the same as the once that were used in the cartoon. For fans of the first generation, this game is the first to recreate the setting to perfection.

The story is too predictable

Style isn’t everything however and we must say that the story could have been a lot better. It’s a classic Transformers episode where the Decepticons found a new Transformer ship with a powerful energy source inside. Megatron wants to use this energy to bring his world to earth. Resulting in the deaths of millions. The Transformers won’t allow this and decide to take down the Decepticons once more.

Interesting however is the fact that the Decpticons and Insecticons formed an alliance to steal the energy source. You’re not only fighting Decepticons in Devastation. You’ll also face the Insecticons!

 

Generation one, roll out!

 

Since you’re dealing with a lot of different enemies, you’ll control more Transformers than just Optimus Prime. The playable characters are Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack and Grimlock. These playable Transformers and Grimlock offer variation to the combat but they can’t save the story.

The goal of the story is to attack the Decepticons and Insecticons, let them escape, chase them and battle them again. The story lacks variation in missions and setting. The only places you’ll visit are the city and the spaceship; you’ll even revisit a lot of locations on those two maps.

It’s a shame PlatinumGames didn’t invest more budget in the story since it’s the beating heart of the game. The moment you start playing Devastation however, it’s clear that the entire budget went to the great combat system.

That great PlatinumGames combat

A game developed by PlatinumGames has to have great combat. Bayonetta already proved a lot but these Transformers prove it again. PlatinumGames knows how to create epic combat with just a few buttons. The combat is easy; you have a light and heavy attack, using different combinations lead to combos. It’s a simple system on paper but it goes rather deep. There’s a big amount of combos to use, you can see them in the menus, and so mastering them is necessary to stay alive.

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Devastation isn’t an easy game, it’s a game where the enemies attack in group and know what to do. In order to take them down, you need to use your combos. You can also use a special attack after some combos to inflict more damage. This special attack lets you transform to your vehicle mode to deliver huge damage. Besides this special attack you’ll also need to keep a close eye on your super attack meter. Once this gets filled you’re able to perform one devastating super. Sideswipe fires off a set of rockets for example. Performing supers is crucial in the thrilling boss fights.

More weapons and boss fights

Combat goes further than just combos and super attacks. You can use and upgrade weapons as well. The most iconic weapons such as energon swords and axes are useable in the game. Don’t forget to upgrade these weapons and the skills of your Transformer. Upgrades and weapons can be bought with the money you earn during missions. This upgrading of your character is very important. During the levels, your Transformer will gain experience but it’s easier to buy the upgrades with the cash you earn. With it you can buy new weapons, fuse weapons to create a better one or buy certain chips to give your Transformer some perks. These upgrades are crucial to survive, especially when you try to take down the bosses in the game.

The boss battles are the best part of the game. At the very start of the game you’re forced to battle the gigantic Devastator but later on you’ll need to take down other enemies such as Megatron himself. The boss battles are filled with action and different attacks. Surviving is only possible if you manage to ‘read’ your opponent and find the right time to attack. If you’re able to dodge an attack in time, you’ll have an opportunity to deliver more damage to your enemy in slow-motion. This extra feature automatically transforms the boss battles in something epic. It’s classic PlatinumGames action with a G1 Transformers skin and we love it!

Lacks variation 

The biggest problem with the game however still remains the lack of variation. From the start to the end, you won’t have the feeling you did something new. It takes up to seven hours to complete the story and that’s not a lot with the lack of multiplayer. The missions offer great combat and fun vehicle sections but we would be pleased with more variation and more missions. Once you complete the game, you can restart it with a higher difficulty but we don’t see why a lot of players should want to do that.

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Conclusion:

Transformers: Devastation is pure fan service and game fans of the first generation will absolutely adore. It translates the first generation to perfection and manages to create the same vibe as the original cartoons. A lot of time went into this and the other part went to combat. The combat is as good as it should for a PlatinumGames title, but we would have loved some variation to the actual gameplay. Devastation is a great game but it’s not perfect, the lack of variation and short story stand in the way of true success.

7.5/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.