(Activision for PS4)
By Mike Delano
A new Platinum Games joint is like a new Quentin Tarantino movie or a Ryan Murphy TV show – if you call yourself a fan of the art form, you have to check it out. Platinum is a superstar developer that has both the desire to experiment and the technical chops to bring their ambitions to playable reality. So it’s easy to see their stamp of quality all over Transformers: Devastation — a third-person action game set in the Generation 1 version of the franchise — but it comes with a couple of caveats. Mainly, it seems like the game was produced relatively quickly and with a relatively modest budget (the slightly lower retail price point was an early tip-off), unlike the long gestation period that has so far been standard for the best Platinum games (Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance). This means it isn’t a terribly long or deep game, but a series of challenge missions and a (somewhat overwrought) loot/upgrade system do extend its longevity. Outside of that, though, it’s an excellent effort, one that easily sits alongside War for Cybertron as the best-ever Transformers game. Playing as the robots in disguise in a third-person brawler is great fun, whether using the “Witch Time”-style dodge technique to avoid being crushed by Devastator’s stomp or transforming into a vehicle mid-air and crashing down on an unsuspecting Constructicon’s head. The visuals are gorgeous, from the explosively bright colors to the smooth animation, and the breezy plot captures the humor of the original cartoon, with special love given to Starscream and Grimlock. The Platinum touch is evident not only in the game’s polish and engaging gameplay, but in the little touches as well, like when you’re blasting Insecticons in Galaga-like patterns or when the whole perspective of the game simply goes top-down on a whim for a single mission. It’s that type of love that elevates Transformers: Devastation from being a solid game adaptation of the franchise (itself a rarity) to something more memorable.
(activision.com, digital copy provided by Activision)