In the ever-lasting struggle of good and evil, the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons rages on. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark begins on Earth but takes the player back to Cybertron to follow the trail of the legendary Dark Spark as both adversaries try to secure the powerful device. This game was billed as a bridge of the Cybertron games, Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, from High Moon Studios and Michael Bay movies but it turns out to be more of a fill-in for the previously mentioned games. The majority of the game takes place on Cybertron in the timeframe between the games from High Moon Studios and does little to advance or explain the Transformers overall storyline. Most of the play time in this game is spent in mundane battles or traversing unnecessary distances to reach objective points. At one point, you must walk down a maze of hallways simply to complete a task while another character narrates a story of what they are looking at in the room you just left. Further aggravation is brought when opponents suddenly appear as you walk back to meet up with the other character but this seemed like nothing more than an attempt to keep the player’s interest. This was just one example of a poor device used to try to carry the story along.
Even things that did work in previous iterations of the Transformers games were meddled with and broken. The simple system of accumulating funds and purchasing weapon upgrades has been replaced with a quasi loot-drop system and coupled to an overly complicated armory. Players can add perks that will add things like XP bonuses or shields while playing but I never took a clean grasp of what each perk did or how it exactly applied.
Loot is dropped in the form of gear boxes that the player must pause the game to open and press ‘X’ through each item to add it to their inventory. If that were not silly enough, the loot system will drop items you already have and convert them to items you do not or can carry multiples of. It confounds me as to why the game would not just simply give you the items it intends you to have rather than make you suffer through watching it exchange them.
If you want online play, Escalation is your only option. This is the same horde mode contingent offered in previous games. This offering, however, seems more complicated and less reliable. I can deal with player drop-outs, disconnects, and host migrations as that is a normal happening in online play. What I cannot deal with it the fact that enemy spawns and actions are flawed if not broken. Too many times will you find enemies off the map or in positions that you must hunt them down in order to end a wave of attacks. Also, several of the maps are straight out import of maps in previous games.
Perhaps my biggest issue with the game was the most simple, the lack of effort. I can complain about the story or the game play easily enough but it felt like there was just a summary lack of effort put into this game The story was un-inventive to say the least and the faults in the mechanics were numerous. The man hours put into any game is astounding and respectable, I know/hope nobody willing puts forth a sub-par effort, but I have to point out one very strong thing that irked be beyond recompense. Just look at the graphic above this paragraph and tell me what system I captured it from. If the answer were from my PS3 at 720p I could be okay with that but this was a 1080p capture from my PS4. Furthermore, this is from a Quicktime even which is normally graphically superior to gameplay.
Edge of Reality’s Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark did a huge dis-service to the work that High Moon Studios put into the Transformers series. Having played several of the Transformers games(Transformers: The Game, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Transformers: War for Cybertron, and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron), I thought that I had set my sites appropriately for what would come in Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark but after playing through the game, I can only feel let down and confused. Not only was the story questionable at best, the game made little to no use of the PS4 hardware.
As a huge Transformers fan, I can only hold my sadness in front of me and face it. This was a $60 game that I would not recommend anyone pay $60 for. If you can get it for $15 and are a huge Transformers fan or have an inclination to know what was done with the High Moon/Cybertron storyline, then go ahead and buy this game. Otherwise, your time and money can be better spent elsewhere.
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!