I have been waiting for TRANSFORMERS: Devastation since I was four years old. By adding its signature high-action combat and set-pieces to the form shifting robots, developer Platinum Games has finally given the Autobots and the Decepticons the game they deserve.
It doesn’t take long for TRANSFORMERS: Devastation to establish its credentials. Within moments of starting into its Saturday-morning-cartoon story you are controlling Optimus Prime as he punches, shoots, and rams Megatron’s minions.
Tackling ground enemies with his mighty fists and axe - while picking off areal foes with his ion cannons - you quickly come to terms with the combat. Simple combos are rapidly memorized, letting you string together attacks with ease. Each fridge-sized fist, hammer, and blade delivers exactly the impact and weight you'd expect as they smash into opponents, creating a satisfying flow of metallic mauling that's guaranteed to make you grin.
Unlocking additional characters only adds to the joy, with the five playable Autobots controlling completely differently. This creates a fun dynamic as you pick between Sideswipe’s fluid dance-like speed with his dual blades, and Grimlock’s deliberate but powerful jaws.
Guns are similarly satisfying. You can switch between the weapons in your loadout instantly using the d-pad, before drawing them with a single trigger press. But, again, it is the variety that really stands out. From pistols to sniper rifles, each projectile flinging weapon fulfills a different role against the evil Decepticons.
Flames easily take out swarms or Insecticons, but the flying Seekers need greater range and power to bring down. When squaring off against opponents on the ground – such as the hulking weight of Devastator – shotgun-style blasts allow you to create space, before you pull out grenade rounds to deal damage from a safe distance or reengaging with a combo.
What is most exciting for fans, however, is how Platinum have woven in the transformation elements. Holding the right bumper has you instantly change form, with a satisfyingly familiar sound. Doing this at just the right moment during a combo your robot will chain this into its attack, smashing into the enemy in their new form and then springing back to their feet.
Your vehicle/dinosaur form also proves an efficient way to navigate the maze-style world. From a city to a huge Cybertronian space ship, each area follows a simple formula - long corridors linking together bland arenas. While each Transformer is wonderfully bought to life, the environments quickly fade – perhaps appropriately - into the background due to their hard corners and flat textures.
Fortunately, with so much going on during combat, it is rare that you notice the lackluster world around you. Plus their simple appearance allows for the occasional bit of environmental deformation as the huge robots crack concrete with their feet, and rip up huge clods of earth with their blows.
Finally, the perfect Transformers game
Being a fan of Transformers and Platinum Games I had high hopes for TRANSFORMERS: Devastation from the outset. It did not let me down. It’s a strong Platinum game, stuffed with all of the company's crazy set-pieces and frantic combat. But, more importantly, it is a fantastic Transformers game that encapsulates the essence and nostalgia of the original 1980s TV show. Its undeniable short but, thanks to the five completely different characters, weapons, and upgrade that you can play through the game with, there is plenty to keep you coming back.