Wednesday, June 8, 2016

TRANSFORMERS: Devastation - The hero Gotham deserves

There was a time in my life when I lived and breathed Transformers. It is an absolute tragedy that the children of this generation will grow up thinking that Transformers is merely an excuse for giant robots to make sexual innuendos and for Megan Fox to show us the wonders of extensive plastic surgery. The 80s/90s were truly a wonderful time, and the Transformers franchise was one of the major contributors. TRANSFORMERS: Devastation is a game that does not include Megan Fox. Nor does it include any sexual innuendos. Let me repeat--this is Transformers without Megan Fox. Rejoice, fellow acolytes of Transformers. This is a game that sets out to restore what made Transformers so great in the first place. That is--cheesy writing, big guns, transforming robots, and most importantly--those robots smashing each other to bits.
He's asking about her latest visit to the surgeon.
Gameplay - TRANSFORMERS: Devastation brings the Platinum fighting system beautifully into the world of Transformers. This system is almost identical to Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. However, there is the addition of vehicle combos during moments of ‘focus’ (a state achieved after successfully dodging an attack). It is a blast driving around as a car and punching an enemy while transforming back into robot form as the game slows down just enough to make that punch feel solid and satisfying.
Weapons all feel appropriately weighted--hammers and sniper rifles feel slow and powerful, swords and machine guns feel smooth and effective, etc.
It's the tesseract! No-wait. That can't be right.
There are five playable characters, two of which must be unlocked by playing the first few missions. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock (yes, the Tyrannosaurus Rex from the Dinobots). Each character feels relatively distinct, offering unique gameplay and personality. My personal favorite was Grimlock (of course) with his quirky moveset and heavy hitting. He is, by default, the most powerful character. I equipped him with a thermal hammer and a machine gun, while frequently utilizing his fire breathing capabilities while in Tyrannosaurus Rex form.
While the length of the game seemed appropriate to me, some may find it to be an issue. The campaign can be finished within six hours. The replay value is pretty high as the game ‘rates’ each battle with a letter grade. It is challenging to bump that C or D up to an SS rating. There are also 50 challenges offered outside of the campaign to further boost the replay value.

Presentation - The art is true to the golden age of the Transformers franchise, echoing that 90s cartoon art style. Animations are beautifully rendered, somehow reminiscent of smooth velvet. Merely watching each character transform is mesmerizing in and of itself. However, with that being said, it’s not all roses.
Welcome to generic city. This will be your permanent home.
The maps are extremely repetitive. At least fifty percent of the game is played in the same boring city. Maps outside of the city are generally not developed particularly well, often Tron-like in their simplicity.
Similarly, the bosses are reused over and over again, as if the studio decided that they wanted ‘x’ number of boss fights but ran out of budget to make each one unique. Each boss is challenging and distinct, but become more and more monotonous with each consecutive meeting.
While the third person view lends itself perfectly to the beat ‘em up nature of the gameplay, the game inexplicably becomes a top-down brawler for one single sequence (lasting no longer than ten minutes). During this sequence, it becomes difficult to telegraph enemy moves, making dodging an arduous feat left for more skilled Autobots than I. Shooting becomes downright impossible. This sequence was unpleasant and stands out as the worst part of the game. As previously stated, this perspective only appeared once throughout the six hour campaign (thank Primus).
I am proud to present this game with a solid ‘Pizza’ rating. Pizza is always good. Hell, pizza is always excellent. However, I’ve never had a pizza that changed my life. Pizza is always more or less the same. Satisfying. Beautiful in its modesty. But it’s no $200 steak that you eat with your pinkie in the air, let’s face it. For anyone craving a taste of what Transformers used to be, this game is well worth your time. Likewise, for anyone looking for a solid beat ‘em up, this game comes highly recommended. However, the story is forgettable, the maps aren’t particularly inspired, the bosses are reused and repetitive, and if I ever have to play that top-down sequence again, I might run off and join the Decepticons instead. TRANSFORMERS: Devastation is a breath of fresh air from the Transformers I.P. It is more than meets the eye.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review! Feel free to tell me to tell me your thoughts on TRANSFORMERS: Devastation in the comments. -Kodiak