Prime time for a new Transformers game? Activision apparently thought so. The publisher announced Transformers: Devastation today, a third-person brawler developed by Platinum Games of Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and The Wonderful 101 fame. It’s bound for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Xbox 360 and PS3 “this fall.”
Devastation’s cell-shaded art seems heavily inspired by the classic ’80s cartoon series, which isn’t at all a bad thing. Even the animations — overexposed explosions, an abundance of dust spewing from around giant robotic limbs, and wacky scene transitions — are reminiscent of the TV show. Oh, and the epic guitar shredding. And slow motion. And voice acting from stars of the original series like Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee), and Frank Welker (Megatron and Soundwave). Basically, it looks like the sort of stylized, frenetic design you’d hope to see in a Transformers title.
Devastation features what Platinum Games calls “a unique master combat system” of vehicle attacks, “slam downs,” counterattacks, and “infinite combos.” You progress through five difficulty levels, facing over 30 Decepticon enemies with your choice of Autobot: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack, and Grimlock. (Transformers: Devastation, you might be surprised to learn, is the first Transformers game featuring characters from the original series to get US release — all others have been exclusive to Japan.)
Transformers games have been a bit of a mixed bag, lately. War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, third-person shooters by High Moon Studios, were released to mixed-positive reviews. Others licensed from the Michael Bay movies of the same names have been criticized for buggy and derivative gameplay.
Transformers: Devastation feels like a much-needed breath of fresh air. If you’re basically looking for some good, old-fashioned beat ’em up action underpinned by childhood nostalgia, consider picking up a copy later this year.