Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – Game Review and Analysis
By Christopher Jester
Developers: Edge of Reality, WayForward Technologies
Distributors: Paramount Pictures, Hasbro Gaming
Engine: Unreal Engine 3, Havok
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Genre: Third-person shooter, Strategy, RPG
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
There is not more than meets the eye with Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. In fact, this outing is actually a downgraded version of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. This is one of those few games that should have been an online download exclusive or should have been released at a lower cost. At least that is what it feels like when you play through its simple campaign mode and its repetitive Escalation mode. While there are some good things that this game did with its Battlefield 4 type battlepacks called Gearboxes, it still fell short on what has come before it.
The story is fairly straightforward. The Autobots want to stop the Decepticons from using the power of the Darkspark. This time around, instead of two separate campaigns, the two are strung together as one campaign. The problem here is that there is less time spent with characters unlike the previous outing that gave you adequate time to enjoy the multiple play styles. It is less cohesive than its predecessors and that takes away from the unique Generation 1 feel that War and Fall of Cybertron had.
The only good take away from the campaign is that they still found a way to make fans of Transformers feel like they were watching (or playing) in the G1 universe. Such scenarios always make the kid arise in any player. However, these are found far from one another; making an disjointed experience. While you have your G1 iterations of characters, they also throw in Michael Bay’s version of the characters as well into the campaign; like seeing Lockdown attempting to get the darkspark. The way it is attempted to be explained here is silly and confusing.
Gameplay may be the least bland feature of the game. It is actually fun, if not a bit derivative. Its Gear of War style of shooting is fun and actually quite interesting when you are not shooting the same villain over and over again. Whether it is Decepticons, Autobots, Insecticons, or whatever the AI is basically useless at being clever or strategic.
Escalation serves its same purpose as before. It is Gears of War’s Horde mode with Transformers. It is not as well polished as that game’s but it is still fun. Well honestly because it is the only multiplayer feature you have in this game. Which is weird because about every game has a competitive multiplayer mode; even the two games before this one. It is almost baffling that there is not competitive multiplayer and it is one of the few things that completely failed this game.
Ultimately, as good as this game could have been it is a shame that it was not better because like previous Transformers games they were well put together. You can tell this one was put out just to gain some of the traction from Transformers: Age of Extinction. Some will say, just like that movie it was all action and no substance. Rise of the Dark Spark, rose and fell flat right on its face. While its only saving grace is its throwback nature of the G1 series and Escalation mode, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is just not what we expect from a Transformers game.
PunchDrunkGamer.com Final Score: 5 out of 10
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