Megatron’s invasion of earth sets Transformers: Devastation off to an explosive start, and the game never lets up it’s relentless pace and energy for the entire 7 hour thrill ride. Embracing an aesthetic and story wholly befitting of the classic 80’s cartoon, Devastation is a nostalgic love letter to the power rock fueled robots in disguise of yesteryear. It’s this combination of iconic old school cool, and Platinum’s signature over-the-top action and distinctly Japanese style, that makes Devastation such unadulterated bliss. It’s the sort of game that would have sent my 10 year-old self into a seizure of pure awe.
Prior to fans and critics getting their hands on Devastation, many seemed to doubt whether the game would hold up beyond the initial appeal of nostalgia and the draw of it’s shiny visuals. But with Platinum Games at the helm, I had faith that the developer would deliver another tour de force of perpetual crescendos and orgiastic action. After all, this is the studio that brought us cult hits like Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, all of which were wildly fantastic, yet under-appreciated games.
The most instantaneous asset in Transformers: Devastation’s arsenal is it’s vibrant visual style, which adopts the bold shapes and colours of the cartoon and provides a beautiful foundation for the game’s highly entertaining Autobots vs Decepticon story. This is no Oscar-worthy script or Shakespearian tale, but both Devastation’s narrative and dialogue are harmoniously epic, and goofy, in just the right way.
Transformers comic writer and editor, Andy Schmidt, penned the game’s story and several voice actors from the original show reprise their roles, including Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime, and Frank Welker as Megatron and Soundwave. Stirring speeches, villainous cackles and cheesy one liners are all delivered with suitably melodramatic zeal.
Like all of Platinum’s games, it’s the deep yet accessible combat that continues to engage throughout the experience, and Devastation is no exception. Allowing you to transform between humanoid and vehicle forms makes for some dynamic and fluid combat which lets you dish out frenzied combos, vehicle attacks, special moves and even a devastating, arena clearing ultra.
The focus mechanic, now a staple of Platinum’s games, is simple but satisfying, and rewards timing and precision by slowing down time for a few seconds, allowing you to riposte with a tactical counter combo. Countless times I found myself whooping, laughing and fist pumping with hyperactive joy as I nailed an encounter and earned a favourable mission ranking.
Transformers: Devastation’s campaign takes approximately 7 hours to complete, and to some this may seem too brief, especially during a year where every game seems to be open world and 100 hours plus, but Devastation is an ideal length, and it’s longevity comes in it’s replayability.
There are five playable Autobots; Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack and Grimlock, each with their own personality, skills and play style, and having completed my first run-through with Optimus, I can’t wait to replay the game at least 4 more times to experience all it has to offer. I often tell myself I’ll replay a game several times, but thanks to Devastation’s length and how much I enjoy playing it, I know I’ll keep my promise.
With a highly replayable campaign, collectibles, high scores and dozens of challenges, Transformers: Devastation has tens of hours of worthwhile content to get stuck into. And from a post-credit scene, it seems there may be more to come, either in the form of DLC or a full-fledged sequel.
Transformers: Devastation is everything I wanted it to be, and more. It perfectly captures the essence of the cartoon with it’s beautiful graphic style, goofy tone, and original voice actors. And it offers incredibly satisfying and deep gameplay, superb voice acting and story, and plenty of replayability. I guarantee that Transformers: Devastation will be the most fun you’ll have with a video game this year.
Final Score: 8/10
Transformers: Devastation proves how righteous the fruits of combining 80’s cartoons with modern game design can be. Here are five other awesome old school cartoons that have the potential for equally awesome games.
- Graphics, story and voice acting perfectly capture the cartoon
- Thrilling combat and extensive replayability
- Only £30/$50
- Short campaign if you don't plan on replaying
- Relatively linear