Have You Played… Transformers Devastation?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

A hyper-kinetic, 80s animation-styled Transformers brawler was the entirely obvious thing to do, in hindsight. It’s just that no-one thought to do it until recently. Whatever boring old men who read comics in the 80s (hello) might think, the popular concept of Transformers is nothing more than big huge robots twatting each other in the face, so Devastation taking that to the extreme was only sensible.

I don’t know that last year’s Devastation is either a great Transformers game or a great game, but it’s not a bad Transformers game and nor is it a bad game. Which crucially, bucks the general trend for Transformers games. It’s fast, it’s pretty, it asks for dexterity but not a sickening amount of it, and it’s been honed to feel highly responsive in the hand. It suffered from repetition and unconvincing environments, but given the sheer number of ways it could have gone horribly wrong, Platinum did a damned good with it.

It’s just… well, to me, Transformers fights were always A-Team fights. Everyone shooting, everyone basically a bit crap at it, no-one really getting hurt. The robots were big and lumbering and always falling down and, frankly, clumsy. It’s hard to buy them as these pirouetting, light-speed martial artists.

I don’t know how you make that into a game, but I want to play it. Transformers: Cack-handed Robots In Disguise.

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  1. Aspirant_Fool says:

    I have! I refunded it on Steam, but it’s one of the two free games for PS Plus members this month, so I’ve got it on there now. It’s basically a Dynasty Warriors clone, but eschews the mission structure that makes Dynasty Warriors work and instead employs that weird level design style that started popping up when autosave became the norm. You have mostly but not entirely linear areas containing items that can be missed, combined with hard gates that won’t allow you to return with no warning, which makes for a frustrating time for me. I played less than 2 hours to get the refund, but not by too much, and my impression at the end of my 105 minutes or so was that I kept expecting the tutorial level to be over, but it just kept going, so maybe it was the whole game?

    • Halk says:

      Dinasty Warriors? You’ve gotta be kidding. This game has a pretty good combat system if you delve into it. Getting additional vehicle hits when shooting enemies in the air mid-combo for example is pretty cool. Dodges and counters are essential when it gets really crazy (I seem to remember a challenge mission with shockwave, megatron and soundwave fighting together that was really bonkers).

      I guess you only tried button mashing, like in Dinasty Warriors.

      I greatly enjoyed the game just based on how fun the combat is, though it definitely has its flaws. The levels are pretty bland, the insects are very annoying to fight (not the actual insecticons), and the weapon system is ridiculous. I kept having to fuse or throw weapons away because they kept showering me with useless crap.

    • Pich says:

      >It’s basically a Dynasty Warriors clone

    • Pich says:

      >It’s basically a Dynasty Warriors clone
      WHAT. no, fuck no. Go play some Devil May Cry

    • Baines says:

      The similarities between Dynasty Warriors and Transformers Devastation pretty much end at both being third-person camera videogames.

      You have mostly but not entirely linear areas containing items that can be missed, combined with hard gates that won’t allow you to return with no warning, which makes for a frustrating time for me.

      One of the biggest complaints against Transformers Devastation is that it almost entirely takes place within the same city map. Excepting an excursion into the ship and the end of the final battle, you are constantly retreading the same ground. If you do want to grab a missed collectable from the ship, the main menu lets you restart play at the beginning of any chapter that you’ve previously reached. It will reset your story progress, but character progress and items carry over between all plays.

      Ending a chapter means that all the chapter specific side missions go away, but again you can restart the chapter at any time to hit them without having to replay the entire game. Further, they only really reward weapons, xp, and letter rank. For the last, you’ll be replaying the game anyway and will know where hard gates are. For the first two, both are abundantly available after the very beginning of the game. Again, character progress is saved across all play, so you can farm weapons in challenge mode or replaying story or whatever. (Indeed, arguably the best place to farm weapons is in an Insecticon rail shooter Challenge mode mission. That particular mission is fast, easy, gives a good amount of weapons, and gives high ranking weapons for the difficulty level.)

  2. Jay Load says:

    Yes; it prods some fairly major buttock. I like it. The Faux-Cell-shaded graphics are a little OTT, jarring occasionally when lines/inking don’t move as you’d expect them to. Nevertheless it’s a great wee adventure while it lasts, providing enough G1 fan-service as is comfortable for a first outing. But it’s the first game on PC to get the alt-modes almost right in terms of speed and control, instead of the High Moon games’ glidey shopping trolleys.

    I’m assuming a sequel will materialise so Next Time I’d like to play as some of the baddies, please. And less of that weaponry-crafting gimmick would be good, too. I’d also quite like if they could enlarge the environments so we can actually drive around the city. I reckon it needs something like a GTA city scale to really do the game justice.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I did and while I enjoyed it I still stick to my original assessment that it feels like a budget title with the price inflated because intellectual property.

    Still probably one of your best options for a stylish action game on the PC though.

  4. Neurotic says:

    It’s crack for the eyeballs, I love it. Makes up somewhat for the loss of a proper three-quel to the the two excellent High Moon Studios games/Alex Irvine novels. My only complaint is the lack of diversity in the cast. They could easily do a Gears or Cliffjumper as a re-skin/tweak of Bumblebee at the least, and it’s just sad without Mirage or Jazz or Bluestreak. Oh, and how about one new model for Ironhide, with a re-skin for Ratchet. As a 43-year-old 8-year-old with his own spending power, I’d buy the shit out of all of that.

  5. RichSG says:

    Really enjoyed the graphics and overall dedication to detail around this (being a Transformers fan).

    Like others have mentioned, it was let down by poor level design, bland levels and a really poor loot system (it was really bad).

    Also, what struck me as a bit odd were the early boss fights. You fight Megatron and Devastator really early in the game. you’d think they’d build up to those bad boys really.

    The boss fights overall though were great, it was really fun fighting all your favourite ‘cons from the G1 show.

  6. Neurotic says:

    There you go: build 9 new models and 18 skins, and TAKE MY MONEY!!

    “Ironhide and Ratchet are functionally identical to one another.
    Cliffjumper and Bumblebee are functionally identical to one another.
    Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen are functionally identical to one another.
    Trailbreaker and Hoist are functionally identical to one another.
    Grapple and Inferno are functionally identical to one another.
    Rumble and Frenzy are functionally identical to one another.
    Laserbeak and Buzzsaw are functionally identical to one another.
    Sideswipe and Red Alert are functionally identical to one another.
    Optimus Prime’s and Ultra Magnus’ cab section are functionally identical to one another.
    Pipes and Huffer are functionally identical to one another.”
    (from the G1 entry on Normal Wiki)

  7. ExpendableSith says:

    I enjoyed the combat, but wished the levels were a little more varied. I will also admit the game felt like it should have been longer, with the final battle leaving me somewhat stunned that the game was over.

    That being said, the music was worth the price of admission alone in my opinion. The music that plays during the fights with the major Decepticons wad amazing, especially Blitzwing’s theme and the theme for Shockwave actually gave me chills. I would highly recommend searching the soundtrack out.

    Blitzwing’s theme: link to youtu.be

    Shockwave’s theme: link to youtu.be

    • ExpendableSith says:

      I should say I got the game on sale though. At a full $50 I may have felt differently.

      • Halk says:

        I didn’t know they got the composer from the movie! With all the obscure references in the game, they must be huge fans at Platinum.

        • ExpendableSith says:

          I think it was only the main theme and possibly one or two more that he composed, but the rest of the game’s music is very much in line with it. Regardless, it was easily my favorite video game soundtrack of that year.

  8. fuggles says:

    No, it’s too dear. I played one must fall 2097 though…

  9. PsychoX says:

    No, and I don’t have any plans to do so.

  10. Bobtree says:

    It’s a big mess of guilty pleasures, with a ridiculous amount of lore in the background. Fun stuff.

  11. Einsammler says:

    It is definitely not as good as Metal Gear Rising: Revengance. But it is good.

    I parried an attack from Blitzwing who had just finished a bombing run, turned into a tank and shot a shell at me. I ended up holding a tank shell in both hands like a telephone pole.

  12. Unsheep says:

    ‘Bad trend’ ? the previous Transformers games were actually very good, if you knew what you were getting.

    ‘Devastation’ is a good game, like all of Platinum’s stuff it was designed to be played multiple times; short but filled with addictive action.

    ‘Vanquished’ will always be my favourite Platinum game though.

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