Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Anytime Reviews: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

*Transformation Sound*
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The newest installation in the Transformers game franchise, but this time developed by Edge of Reality instead of High Moon Studios, and published by Activision, serves as a prequel to the very well received Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and War for Cybertron, and a continuation to the less well received movie, Age of Extinction. Playing as both Autobot and Decepticon, you find that a dangerous, powerful relic called the Dark Spark has been captured by the bad guys: mercenaries led by a bot called Lockdown, and also find out the struggle to capture the Dark Spark which took place on Cybertron. Its a very simple, predictable storyline, and one that struggles to keep your attention up.

The gameplay is fun and floaty at least, with a variety of weapons and some abilities for each Transformer to use, not to mention their vehicle forms which feel arcadey and smooth- although that feature is hardly even used, and each Transformer feels the same. Gadgets and weapons are unlocked via leveling up and opening gear boxes, which have Tech and Hacks inside. Tech are single use items giving you specific advantages, such as health or a sentry drone. Hacks modify the gameplay to make it more difficult and reward you with an XP boost.There's a rechargeable shield and a health bar which you recharge via pickups.

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 The levels are usually slightly open, but for the most part it's very linear, with some collectibles for replayablility. There is a sudden difficulty spike for some unknown reason in the second stage, as a type of enemy (a floating yellow orb) kills you in a couple of hits, but other than that it is quite easy, with pickups galore to make sure you don't run out of ammo or die, which makes it a chore to play against generic enemies which never change apart from the occasional flying bot or titan. Even though it may be fun, too much of something will in fact get repetitive. Speaking of titans, they messed up goddamn Grimlock, the T-Rex. The game seems to not be capable of handling such big bots, and time stops when you execute people and the controls and fiddly, and its really underwhelming. The game lasted around 7-8 hours, with a simple wave mode which no one plays at all instead of the brilliant competitive multiplayer present in the previous two, which is strange as it is about two warring iconic factions.
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The visuals, to put it bluntly, are sub-par. The textures are flat and poorly detailed, and there are many graphics bugs and glitches (I even crashed once for no apparent reason). The cutscenes even have glitches, and some of them look worse than actual gameplay.

There is plenty of colour on Cybertron anyways, but Earth looks really poor, looking worse than the games before it (and they were on last gen!). The detail on the actual robots are good as well as the voice acting, which from what i've seen, stays accurate to the old TV show which gave each robot personality, so it has some redeeming factors.
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I was really disappointed in Rise of the Dark Spark. I played some of the previous two and they were significantly better than this one. All this has to offer is a bare bones story with good voice acting and below average visuals, with repetitive gameplay. And its ending commits a horrible crime: Sequel Baiting of the highest order. If there is infact a sequel, it has to live up to its predecessors, and surpass one of them *cough cough*.


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