T he Transformers franchise is hugely popular, but your first experience with the giant robots in disguise probably varies depending on when you were born. I didn’t catch up on the cheesy goodness of the G1 cartoons until years after the blockbuster Michael Bay films raked in bad reviews and big bucks. Even without the marinating effect of nostalgia, Platinum Games’ run at the iconic franchise is an impressive sight to behold with fun, demanding gameplay.
During my recent hands-on time with the game I played through an intro level that feels ripped straight out of the ‘80s. Megatron has allied with a giant, mechanical menace lurking beneath the Earth’s crust, which thrusts its clawed tentacles up to wreak havoc on the evacuated city. Meanwhile, the Decepticons are also trying to clear out the rest of the city by attaching high-powered wind engines to the sides of skyscrapers, which slows Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots’ pursuit.
We’ve previously played with the beefy Optimus and nimble Bumblebee in combat, but this time we tried out three other Autobots. The gameplay should be familiar to fans of Platinum’s challenging action games like Bayonetta, with high-precision dodges, flurries of combos, and dramatic vehicle-transformation finishers. The engineer, Wheeljack, bashes Decepticons with wrenches and has a useful sticky gun that stops speedy enemies in their tracks. Sideswipe can fire devastating missile barrages and boost across long distances in his sports-car form. The Dinobot leader, Grimlock, specializes in chomping enemies with careful timing, spewing flames out of his maw, and alternating between his dino and robot form mid-combo.
Don’t let Devastation’s Saturdaymorning-cartoon aesthetic fool you; taking on Megatron’s forces isn’t as easy as scarfing down a bowl of sugary cereal. The Challenge Rooms specifically test the player’s ability to read narrow attack-cue windows and react. One room pits the Autobot of your choice against all six Constructicons, culminating in a huge showdown with their combined Devastator form. Thankfully, the weapons that you earn and upgrade in the rooms transfer over to the campaign, so you can beef up your plasma guns and Energon swords however you like.
Transformers: Devastation’s level of difficulty and visual polish is shaping up to be a treat for both Transformers diehards and Platinum fans alike. High Moon Studios set a high bar with the Cybertron games, but Platinum could deliver an even more intense and frenetic battle between shapeshifting robots