The eighties were the heyday of children’s cartoons, a nostalgic memory for so many great shows, so popular were the short animated cartoons, they littered literally every channel available, setting alight a bright colourful fire throughout TV that burns strong, even today. When children were not out playing in the streets they could often be found situated in front of the living room TV, with a wide array of different options to keep them entertained for hours upon end.
When I look back on my childhood through the early eighties, I remember fondly such cartoons as M.A.SK, Thundercats, Ghostbuster’s and Space Rangers. I was always a fan of these types of cartoons because of what they represented to me as a small boy, the eternal fight between good and evil. They all follow a very similar formula with a band or group of heroes, not always from planet Earth constantly in battles against their evil adversaries. Although I love each of these shows equally there was always one show that had me gripped from the moment the iconic introduction music began to roll and that was The Transformers.
Transformers Devastation: Playstation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed] , Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Platinum Games
Release Date: 10 October 2015
Price: £39.99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
As well as the ever popular TV show which has appeared for over three decades, Transformers video games have also been around since the mid eighties when developers Denton Designs created a game of the same name. Transformers was released in 1985 for the Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum with the developers seeing great potential in the growing popularity of the hit cartoon series. Many games have followed since then with Transformers Rise Of The Dark Spark being released across a multitude of platforms in 2014, the video games have become just as popular as the cartoon from the eighties.
The latest addition – Devastation, may very well be the greatest one of all because of it’s look and feel, flirting brilliantly with the classic series that became a favourite for most kids of that era. The Autobots and the Decepticons have long fought over Earth for their own reasons, Optimus Prime and his group of heroes want to protect mankind or to quote the robot himself “We must stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves”, the Autobots have made a home on Earth after leaving Cybertron and always look to protect it from the villainous Decepticons, led by the evil Megatron.
In Devastation, the two warring factions again go toe to toe in the ultimate battle for mankind. The latest game, which is developed by Platinum Games and Published by Activision centres around the evil Megatron, who has learnt of a way to harness plasma energy in order to cyber-form Earth, which if successful will leave the planet devoid of any organic life, transforming the beautiful blue planet into one of ugly metal, Prime and the other Autobots, learning of this must find a way to put a stop to his horrible scheme.
Venturing into Transformers Devastation was like being sent crashing back through time to the eighties, like something straight from a Marty Mcfly movie. Every inch of the game reeks of nostalgia and it’s a beautiful sight, from the moment the loading screen hits to the end credits rolling I felt like a kid again and that is one of the greatest pulls any game can ever offer, it’s what brings players back to titles like this because it reminds us all what it was like to be young. The popularity of the franchise, helped by the Michael Bay films, ascended Transformers into a household name, in every sense of the word.
Platinum Games have made a habit of executing well polished action titles with Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Solid Revengeance among their coveted list of developed games, Devastation is no exception. By design Devastation sports some truly beautiful graphics, Platinum have stuck very close to the original series, in an almost poetic way and it helps to make the game a success.
Although Devastation doesn’t have a massively long drawn out story to wade through, just seven chapters to navigate in fact, it does offer a lot of enjoyment and explosive action by the bucket load not to mention the chance to go back through each chapter as the other Autobots which include Bumblebee and Dino. I started out the game by taking control of the mighty and legendary Optimus Prime as he runs and roams through the City with consummate ease. The early moments in the game act as a makeshift tutorial, teaching me the basics of character movement, how to transform my character from robot into the vehicle to better navigate the streets and of course – how to fight.
The fighting within the game is immense and visually amazing while being extremely fast paced which I likened to the fighting style in Vanquish, each Autobot can build up their very own unique special attacks by dealing out a number of select combos, while these strings of attack are not exactly taxing to perform, with mainly an easy combination of a couple buttons used to stun a Decepticon, they are very powerful and can help to push the enemy onto the back foot. As well as being able to land continuous blows to an opponent, the huge heroic robots can dodge with extreme precision which, if timed correctly causes time to slow down for the briefest of moments, allowing for a number of attacks to be performed without interruption.
The high octane combat style is the real driving force behind the entire game with each Transformer able to upgrade through the use of the ‘Arc’, these green circles scattered throughout the landscape take your Autobot to a workbench where a whole manor of upgrades and purchases can be made using credits, collected out in the world. While most of the elements within the ‘Arc’ are easy enough to understand such as skill point usage and creating mods, the weapon synthesise can take some time to figure out due to it’s slightly complex nature, however with better understanding, the weapon synthesise system can make your chosen weapons more effective and devastating during battles.
There were times during Devastation where I found myself heavily outnumbered and out-gunned, this will happen more often than not as the majority of the journey is performed alone, without the aid of fellow Autobots. Groups of Decepticons lie around most corners and are always looking to impress Megatron, this can lead to some great, eye catching fights. For me though, the best action came when a group of enemies banded together to form a larger version of itself, it reminded me of the size of a particular enemy encountered in Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow which led to some of the games greatest fights because of it’s sheer scale compared to a nice almost tiny looking Autobot.
As mentioned earlier, the story isn’t overly long, there is of course another form of gameplay and this comes in the way of Challenge Mode. Playing through chapters in story mode unlocks various challenges, there are extra ones to be unlocked by playing through each difficulty and by clearing quick challenges that can be found in the games story. From the main menu players can experience the different mode which can see a range of different tasks needing to be completed, which can be done across all three different difficulties.
Devastation’s Challenge Mode adds hours of extra gameplay while providing players with in game rewards once each is completed, these are totally worth working through once the story is finished and the range of differing challenges pose all kinds of threats including taking on a massive amount of Decepticons at one time before attempting to defeat them as one giant robot but this is just one form of challenge, there are a ton to work through.
With Transformers Devastation, Platinum Games have attempted to elevate the iconic Hasbro franchise back to where it belongs. They have managed to combine an excellent combat system and fighting style with the wonderfully nostalgic feel of the eighties, when the TV show reigned supreme over it’s rivals. They have taken the very essence of what it felt to watch the show as a kid into the a high class fighting game fitting of the modern age consoles.
Visually, Devastation is beautifully crafted with some stunning 1080p graphics, the textures within every inch of the game are immaculate and only add to the aura the game gives off. This is further heightened by the return of some of the original voices from both factions with Peter Cullen reprising his role as Optimus Prime and Frank Welker as the evil Megatron as well as a host of other eighties cast members, this only strengthens the authenticity of the game. The sheer amount of Decepticons on hand is unerring, Platinum have gone to great lengths to making sure Devastation secures itself in Transformers folklore and it works.
So whether you’re a child of the eighties like myself or a newcomer to the series Transformers Devastation is a game worth buying, if not for the nostalgia factor then for the fast paced and devastating action alone.
- The nostalgia factor and the whole eighties feel
- Original voice cast adds to the authenticity
- High octane action leading to some amazing fast paced battles
- Amazing character detail
- The sheer amount of differing chaacters
- Story is short in length
- No Online Mode
- Weapons Synthesising can take some getting used to