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Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – Different developer – different result

I think Fall of Cybertron (the latest entry in the enormous Transformers franchise back then) was one of the surprisingly good titles back in 2012. High Moon Studios has struck home after Dark of the Moon, and let’s face it: FoC was pretty decent. After that game, they moved onto Deadpool – when they finished the game, Activision fired 40 members, pushing them onto developing the PS3/X360 port of CoD: Advanced Warfare. While Acti decided to let Edge of Reality to develop the latest TF game.

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Let’s begin by saying that I am still biased about this franchise. Putting that aside I have to say: this game absolutely had potential that the developers never touched. I also have to quickly add: they made more ports than actual games… However, the free-to-play Loadout was actually alright on the PlayStation 4… so what happened?

Movie addition

It’s obvious, what Activision‘s plan with this game was: money. Since the latest movie was released not a long time ago, Acti’s eyes were on the amount of cash bags… so my hunch is that they made this game just to grind the cash cow.

How is this game related to the movie? Well… it is going to be a little complicated explanation, but bear with me, I’ll try to explain it easily: the game plays at around the same time as Age of Extinction, but on a different timeline… While another chunk of the game plays right before Fall of Cybertron. Complicated? Yes, but it will not be that interesting. I wouldn’t call the story a big part of the game. The fans will like it, but to be fair, I think the story is a little hard to follow.

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The Autobots would like to examine the meteor that just hit Earth, but Lockdown decides to snap it up, finding the Dark Spark in the process. This neat thing gives the power and the opportunity to rule the universe… if it gets into the wrong hands. Lockdown escapes, we suddenly cut to the War of Cybertron timeline, where the Decepticons look for the Dark Spark. They find it, but behind the door they see two Autobots… who obviously, leaves them with nothing. And this goes on in between the two factions for a long time – I don’t really want to spoil the story, but Lockdown will get a big role towards the end… Then let’s mix in the G1 characters as well. Chaotic, but it can be understood to a point. Fans will dig it. Maybe.

Technically a bit old

It is 2014. Maybe it is time to already replace Unreal Engine 3 (which is 8 years old already for God’s sake!) to the 4th iteration. At some parts of the game you can see how it is getting a little outdated. There are some good looking parts, but there’s a bigger chunk, where you would think that the PlayStation 4 is capable of way more than that! (And in brackets, let me add the fact that the PC version is such a console port that the menu, hell, the ingame parts keep showing the Xbox controller’s buttons … that is a little lousy to me, don’t you think?)

The view distance is okay, the character’s looks are absolutely alright, but the problem is that the game itself really turns into a tube-TPS at several points.

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Average

Of course, you can take control of both faction’s robots throughout the game, but somehow it lacks the… pun (pardon me!), which would make this game outstanding. We can transform – it’s funny to see a car with a single gear! -, we can switch between weapons, hacks and techs, complete challenges, but seriously, it turns a little monotone after a while.

Or annoying. The voice acting is mostly brilliant, but the normal enemies start to repeat the same three or four lines VERY quickly. In battles, it made me play a touch more aggressive, which risked depleting my – regenerating if no harm is done – shield… When it’s off, you can die very easily. Remember to keep those Energoncubes, which some enemies drop, it can be lifesaving to retreat to those. But all this doesn’t make Rise of the Dark Spark that great. There were examples of bossfights literally getting bugged in terms of the AI. I managed to freeze my enemy in one spot, and I could shoot them off, easily taking away about half (if not more!) of their health bar. Also, I somehow managed to make a just killed soldier to fall through the ground right in front of me. Priceless.

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Against boredom

If you can get used to the checkpoint system (thank God you don’t have to restart the whole level if you die), the annoying enemy sounds, then I recommend giving it one try, but only if it’s on sale for 15 euros or so. It’s worth that, but not much more. This multiplat won’t be a PS4 killer app.

-V-


Pro:

+ Most voice acting is top-notch
+ Some characters’ gameplay adds spice to the game
+ Maybe fun for a while…

Contra:

– …but for how long?
– Mediocre in every aspests
– The story is illogical…


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Publisher Activision
Developer: Edge of Reality
Genres: 3D, Action, Third-Person,
Publication: 2014 June 24

 


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One comment

  1. Avatar Péter Kiss says:

    Pff… I was somehow expecting this one to fail utterly…

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