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Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark (Video Game Review)

By : Cindy Lennox on Friday, June 27, 2014 | 9:46 PM

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is the fourth release based on the Transformers film franchise, though the new release is the first game developed by Edge of Reality, who take over for the departed High Moon Studios. The new title allows players to choose whether to fight for the safety of Earth with the Autobots or help destroy the planet with the Decepticons. The unique campaign combines with exciting online multiplayer to make Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark another good entry for the series with one of the largest casts of playable characters to date.

The campaign of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark begins with a strange meteor crashing on Earth before Autobot leader Optimus Prime reaches the crash site to discover a Cybertronian artifact known as the Dark Spark. The ancient item is said to have the power to merge, control and otherwise manipulate universes. Unfortunately, the Dark Spark manages to find its way into the wrong hands, and the game then becomes a battle to save the planet and the different universes from a powerful Decepticon attack. The new plot is a good one that sees various characters from the entire Transformers franchise coming together to fight for different causes.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is an action adventure game through and through. Players will be allowed to choose from a bunch of different playable characters on either the Autobots or Decepticon teams and play through the different storylines that correspond with each faction. While the different sides offer some interesting gameplay opportunities, the game rarely takes advantage of it and instead tends to offer some very repetitive and uninspired mission design. Players can expect to have tons of missions that alternate between traveling from one location to another and killing a few waves of enemies once they arrive at the destination.



Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark does offer some decent combat that includes the ability to fight on two legs, transform into a vehicle or even battle it out as a weapon on wheels. The game features a level up and unlock system that carries over any items earned in the campaign to the multiplayer experience. Players will mix light and heavy attacks into combos to take down enemies in a fashion similar to what players have been used to in the High Moon Studios version of the franchise. While combat in the game is fine, players will find level design to be a bit lacking and not very useful for traveling around the world quickly in vehicle form.

In total, most players will spend about six hours in the campaign of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. This wouldn't be so bad, but the game doesn't include much in terms of replay value. Players can go back through the game to meet certain objectives that weren't previously completed to earn Gearboxes, but there isn't much else for players to do in the single player campaign. The large cast of characters from the two factions do offer some different vehicles to experiment with in the game, so there's that though.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark doesn't feature competitive multiplayer modes, and the game also doesn't offer split screen cooperative play. Players can head online with a group of friends to enjoy the game's Horde like mode known as Escalation mode though. In the multiplayer mode, up to four players will team up to fight off waves of enemies to protect a certain waypoint from the incoming attacks. The mode is actually pretty fun, and players can expect to spend several hours playing multiplayer with their friends while using the same progression system and items earned from the single player campaign in the game's cooperative multiplayer.



It's worth noting that there are some pretty major differences in some of the versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. The Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions of the game leaves out the Escalation multiplayer game mode. The Nintendo 3DS version of the game is also developed by WayForward Technologies and offers strategy RPG gameplay with turn-based combat over the action adventure title available on consoles.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark isn't the best looking game while running on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The game doesn't look horrible by any stretch, but it's clearly not up to the same level of other next generation titles. On Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the games compare a bit better on the older consoles. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark does feature a stronger sound design with great voice acting from Peter Cullen reprising his role as Optimus Prime as well as Troy Baker in several roles for the game. There are also some pretty catchy themes to help players stay interested in the game's campaign.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark isn't the best game for the Transformers franchise, but it does offer a pretty fun single player campaign as well as the cooperative multiplayer Escalation mode. The progression system that allows players to earn unlocks and level up in both the single and multiplayer game modes is a neat feature that allows players to earn new items no matter how they enjoy playing the game. Level design and mission design is a bit lacking in the title, but the massive roster of 40 playable characters does help keep gameplay fairly fresh a few times through the new title. Transformers fans won't find many reasons not to enjoy the new game, so look for Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark in stores today!

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is now available from all major retailers and can be purchased for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is rated T by the ESRB for Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Play as Autobots or Decepticons
  • 40+ Playable Characters
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Edge of Reality
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS & PC
Release Date: June 24, 2014

Score: 7.5 out of 10
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