Thursday 5 November 2015

Transformers Devastation

You know the theme tune, right? Of course you do! So sing along; Trans-for-mers! Bayonetta in disguise! That is, of course, my hilariously witty way of saying that Transformers Devastation is very similar to Bayonetta.

Developed by Platinum Games and out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC comes Transformers Devastation. It deals with what are commonly known as 'Generation 1' Transformers or, as normal people refer to them, 'proper Transformers'. So there's no Trendimus Prime, Vapebot or Selficon here, or whatever the hell they're called nowadays. No, It's the good ol' boys such as Bumblebee, the Constructicons, the Insecticons, and of course Megatron and Optimus Prime. You soon unlock a total of five Autobots to play as, including Grimlock who everybody loves because he can turn into a fuckin' robot dinosaur.

For those not familiar with the Bayonetta games, the first was one of the best games of the last generation, and the second is one of the best of the current generation (yes, Wii U is current gen, deal with it). They're brawlers developed by Platinum Games, the same team responsible for this. Despite the presence of guns and transforming, this is by and large a scrolling beat 'em up using the Bayonetta system. This means a strong attack, a light attack, and the ability to freeze time for a few precious seconds if you time a dodge perfectly.

Maximising your chances of success means engaging in some menu fiddling that, to be honest, the game would have been much better without. Enemies sometimes drop new ranged or melee weapons, and they can all be upgraded by scrapping other weapons. This thrilling process involves going up and down your huge list of inventory, first deciding which weapons have the most potential, and then finding those that you don't mind losing yet still offer some benefit to the weapon you're improving. On top of this is T.E.C.H. - I don't care what that stands for and neither do you. It's a sort of gamble where you put in 3,000 or 5,000 credits, play a microgame, and get some kind of equippable perk in return. 

I couldn't possible warble on about this game without mentioning that it looks like Transformers, and it sounds like Transformers too thanks to the original 80s/90s voice actors being included. That includes the mighty Peter Cullen, so Optimus Prime sounds amusingly similar to Eeyore – as he should (Cullen did both voices, I'm not going mad). It's just a shame that the gameplay makes such little use of what the licence should be about; shooting, story, and transforming.

To come back to Bayonetta yet again, the comparison leaves Devastation somewhat bruised; it simply can't match up. It's good, but far from great. Rubbing salt into the wounds and twisting screwdrivers into the scabs is the fact that, unless you play on the hideous top difficulty, the time you spend playing it won't fall too far either side of six hours. It's a short campaign with no multiplayer, and not even any online leaderboards – which severely dampens any interest you might have in the extra challenge stages. No choices to make or alternate routes to see, either. You play it through once, and then you've seen all there is of story and levels.

It's a good game, but there's so much potential left unexplored. It doesn't even play a full game of fan service. I mean come on, just five playable Autobots – and no Decepticons? And yes, it's cool to have Grimlock, but the other Dinobots are nowhere to be seen. At least there's no Shia fucking Labeouf either.

Pretty like a butterfly, short like Bumblebee. 3/5.


Luke Kemp

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