Last night I stayed up to play the first chapter of Transformers Devastation. As I continue to play the game I will post my thoughts on Twitter and with another post.
I want to love Transformers Devastation. I want to scream from the mountain tops that the greatest transformers game ever made is now available for consoles, but I can’t. I can’t because the game is missing “soul”, that elusive characteristic that makes games great. It’s the hunt for this quality that makes the game such a paradox. How can a game that does so many things right get this one thing so wrong?
A Lifeless City
Transformers Devastation has all the makings of a great video game. The combat is great, the visuals are dope and there is room to customize weapon loadouts and character attributes. It has all the makings of a great Platinum action game. If I were to based this game solely on the merits of the combat it would be a hit. The transition between robot and alternate mode is seamless and combat has the kind of depth where constant button mashing will get you killed. But the problem I have with the game is that the world the Transformers live in is dead.
A game with this type of detail shouldn’t have an environment that reminds you of the PS2 era. In 2015 most games have found attractive ways to deal with level borders. In The Witcher 3, whenever Geralt reached the edge of a level, he would turn around telling you he needs to get back to the mission–on screen a text appears with the warning only wild beasts and monsters roam those areas beyond the borders. It’s designed to keep you in the experience. If Geralt just ran into an invisible wall, it would break the flow. It would feel like a video game in a negative way. But with Transformers Devastation, the ‘invisible walls’ that border every video game are on full display here. You can only go where the game wants you to go and any exploration outside of the confined space, will lead you to that invisible wall. The Transformers are these giant robots that should be destroying buildings during battle and leaving cities decimated in their wake. Instead of a living environment, buildings serve as stale set pieces reminiscent of bad stage play. The world has no life and the game suffers for it.
‘Til All Are One
I have the same reoccurring thought when playing Transformers Devastation.
“If the characters and combat could have been in Fall of Cybertron, this would be the ultimate Transformers game”
High Moon Studio did an amazing job with the world of Transformers. It had that soul that is sorely missing from this game. And it is because of this fact that I am thinking about another game while playing this one…that hurts me. This game does a lot right. I want to get better at combat and unlock new moves because the combat in this game is YouTube highlight worthy. I can’t explain the fun I have transforming whenever I want. I just unlocked Wheeljack and I’m ready to outfit him with some new weapons that I’ve picked up. However, I know that when Wheeljack leaves the base he’s going to enter a dead world, and no amount of cameos from Telatran-1 can make up for a world that feels lifeless.
As it stands right now, I couldn’t recommend this game at the current price point. Yes, it’s a nostalgia ride back to your childhood and the combat is Platinum worthy, but the world these robots in disguise inhabit is devoid of any life. If the world was anything close to Fall of Cybertron it wouldn’t even be a question. But right now…it’s not worth $50. Here’s to hoping it gets better…but I won’t hold my breath.