Transformers: Devastation's 2015 launch possibly missed out on PlayStation 4 sales by releasing in the same October week as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, so to discover that Platinum Games' single player brawler title – with a five hour game length – has achieved eighth place in Push Square's Game of the Year list may surprise some readers. However, in the predictable words of Optimus Prime: "There is more to this situation than meets the eye."
The game is successful in delivering fighting mechanics that are an accessible use of Bayonetta's combat, while remaining intricate enough to provide incentive for players to improve their skills to persevere in achieving a coveted SS rank after completing each chapter. It becomes addictive to perfectly perform a dodge to slow down time, and then alter between light and heavy melee combos, while using unique Autobot abilities, or pressing L3 and R3 to defeat a Decepticon with an ultimate attack. Alternatively, a ranged weapon can be used for shooting distant or flying enemies.
"Platinum's established a promising template to transform and roll out for its forthcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title"
There is arcade gameplay variety throughout the seven chapters – one example is in Chapter 3: The Core where the camera switches between a top-down Energon hunt to a side-scrolling set-piece chase against Blitzwing at the end – although there are also pacing issues as the first City of Steel chapter takes three times longer to beat than later stages. Like an old-school beat-'em-up title, the short game length of an easy Scout level completion is counterbalanced by the replay value of applying your skills on harder difficulties, because it takes noticeably longer to beat the Warrior and Commander settings.
The five selectable Autobots feel satisfyingly different to control, so speeding around as Sideswipe's sports car to transform into a charged uppercut is a contrasting experience to the weightier clout of Grimlock. The specific skills and attributes of each Autobot can be upgraded, there are collectible items to find, an extra 50 Challenge Mode missions, plus new moves and weapons can be purchased in the Ark. The flair of the boss battles are a highlight of Platinum Games' design, as they're not just against iconic enemies like Soundwave and Megatron, but they also include an imposingly huge scale when battling the combined forms of Devastator and Menasor at the same time.
The story may lack the impact of the planetary-sized shocking moments in the 1986 Transformers: The Movie, and the background city settings can become repetitive until you head to Cybertron on Chapter 5. However, the plot is more eventful than the average 1980s cartoon, and the final scene establishes a welcome opportunity for a sequel. It's a combination of colourful cel-shading, plus the depiction of each characters' Generation 1 art style and the use of the original voice actors, that make Transformers: Devastation the most authentic game in the franchise.
Transformers: War for Cybertron recognised the importance of fanservice, but by the Matrix, Transformers: Devastation takes this to a new level by capturing the look, sound, and feel of Generation 1. After receiving an 8/10 review from Push Square, we don't know what in Cybertron's name would be the reason for a Transformers fan to miss out on this game in 2015. Platinum Games has established a promising template to transform and roll out for its forthcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title.
Who interrupts Transformers: Devastation's coronation? Megatron, if that's you, then leave a hint in the comments section below.