Transformers…the chances are nearly everyone have heard of them, young and old alike. I am old enough to remember the original generation 1 robots in disguise and still got the figures. Transformers games have never been the greatest titles released; but name me a movie tie-in that was great? This is why I think the developers have done the right thing with Transformers: Rise of the Dark by not making it a tie-in with the new movie Transformers: Age of Extinction. So as Optimus would say…Let’s Roll out.
Developer: Edge of Reality
Release Date: 27 June 2014
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is the latest game in the Hasbro franchise. This time around Edge of Reality developed the game instead of High Moon; the developers of the last three movie tie-in games. So this time around the storyline is not based on the film but the Transformers themselves are from Age of Extinction. The story is based around the ‘The Dark Spark’, an ancient device that allows the user to take charge of the universe and even time itself, so a battle ensures between Autobots and Decepticons for control. When you start playing the game you take control of an Autobot called Drift – a previous Decepticon who defected to the side of good and prefers to wield a sword than a gun.
You will find that this part of the mission is just like an introduction and serves as a tutorial of sorts to the controls. As you advance through the game you find yourself meeting other Transformers that you will probably know well from the cartoons and films. A rather novel approach with Rise of the Dark Spark is that you play missions that involve the Autobots and Decepticons. For example, you get to do a mission where you take control of Soundwave and to complete certain tasks you need to use his helpers like Laserbeak. The missions for the most part take place on Cybertron, with a few down on Earth. The actual transformers themselves are very faithful to the new film, with everyone able to instantly recognise them.
The controls are ok and work how they should. One thing that should have been added was the ability to crouch – as sometimes in combat you are taking fire and can only run away. Unless there is a way to take cover, but I was missing the obvious I am not sure. You get to transform in the game, which sounds cool the effect could have been done better. When you become a ground vehicle you find that you move no faster than you do when you are a robot, which was also slightly disappointing. Transforming into an air vehicle is fun and works wells and handles great. Also another slight irritation is that the aiming system is a little slow when shooting, so the enemies tend to move through your line of sight quite quickly.
Despite the bugs in the controls the game is still playable and with a bit of practice you will get use to them. The levels are a good length and there is no way someone will complete the game in around 2 – 2 ½ hours. There is no replayability once you have finished the game, but also you won’t feel like that you have wasted your money either. The visuals of the game are ok, but it does have a look and feel of straight port from the out-going gen consoles. The Transformers look detailed, but Cybertron looks slightly dull and the textures on the grass and background stuff on Earth is severely lacking. Saying that it don’t look bad, just not very next gen. The audio was slightly messed up with the audio levels not being at a consistent level.
Multiplayer has been included and is called Escalation Mode and allows 4 player online co-op. From my first impressions it was inspired by the “horde mode” from Gears of War. Gamers will get the chance to choose from 40 Transformers to take charge of. Shame there is no local co-op mode so that you could gather some friends together to have a bash on a Saturday night.
Activision and Edge of Reality have tried their best to create a great game, but it falls short of the Cyberton games. Even though it is not a direct movie tie-in, the game has the feel of one and this lets it down. It is not the worst game that you will play, but considering that it has been released on next-gen hardware, it gives a previous generation experience. It is a good game, but it offers nothing that really makes you go wow.