For many children of the ‘80s, the Tranformers cartoon offered an early taste of serialized technology fiction storytelling, complete with outlandish technology, character betrayals, and thwarted plans for world domination. Platinum Games obviously has love for that very early incarnation of this Transformers, as the newly announced Devastation embraces the appearance and story vibe that governed the adventures of those determining robots in disguise. A bright, cel-shaded aesthetic powers the visuals of playable figures Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock. Characters pop into idle animations that reflect their overblown character archetypes, from Prime’s authoritative crossed arms to Bumblebee’s relaxed hands behind their head. Numerous of the cartoon’s initial voice actors get back, including Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. Behind the action, an appropriately thrumming metal rock soundtrack accompanies the battles. The story discovers the Autobots working to once once again thwart Megatron, who may have happened upon mystical technology that is cyberforming Earth into another variation of the Transformers house planet. In one scene, Optimus Prime descends into a lost Cybertronian ship deep underneath the Earth, fighting past a horde of Insecticons before confronting Soundwave and his tapes in a furious boss battle. In another sequence, Bumblebee drives circles around enemy Decepticons on an embattled connection. A third level finds Sideswipe’s slick sports car form going after Megatron, who’s crouched within the straight back of dump truckformed Longhaul, firing fusion blasts. Most exciting, one part of the demo had us confronting the massive combiner robot Devastator in an impressive battle in a city’s central square. Action stays close to form for Platinum, whoever previous work includes Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Much of fighting is melee combo driven, with unique moves for transforming into vehicle form and slamming into enemies. Other character particular moves make the most of the figures’ morphing physique, like Prime summoning their trailer for a roomclearing donut spin. In addition to brawling mechanics, Devastation also includes ranged combat, providing everything from sniper rifles to slow-gel launchers. All told, the game boasts 150 distinct melee and ranged weapons, of which four can be equipped by a given character at once. Beyond combat, Transformers: Devastation includes a leveling and upgrade system. Each one of the playable leads can increase their eight stats through play, as well as acquire and enhance weaponry that scales in quality from 1 to 99. Weapon synthesizing combines the most useful traits of two weapons into a fresh and improved variation, while timing-based minigames allow the creation of equippable tech items which boost everything from health to item find. In keeping with its cartoon inspiration, Platinum’s game is lighthearted yet action-packed, and I also witnessed a number of allusions towards the supply material, from obscure character sources to nods at ‘80s arcade game culture. But despite having the strong nostalgic undercurrent, the sequences I played were characterized by responsive and smartly paced action that should attract any action gamer. Platinum promises a 50-level challenge mode for hardcore players searching for an additional layer of difficulty. When all the characters, tale missions, and extra modes are added together, there’s good reason to hope that Devastation offer the vision of Transformers that lives in our rose tinted rear view of the ‘80s cartoon.
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