2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Video Game Haiku Review – “Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark”

Published: June 29, 2014, 6:09 pm, by Terry Terrones


Title: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
Format: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, 3DS
Price: $29.99-$59.99
Publisher: Activision
Edge of Reality
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
The Grade: D

Transformers RotDS Haiku Review

Series has new dev

 Transforming is no fun

So what is the point?

Summary: There are warning signs in “Transformers: RotDS” right off the bat. I played the game on Xbox One and it looked like I was playing an Xbox 360 game. But that’s just the first impression. From there gamers will find repetitive and uninteresting missions, combat lacking any kind of excitement and a tenuous attempt to connect the game to the “Transformers: Age of Extinction” film. Most disturbing is the game’s inability to make the Transformers any fun when they turn into their vehicular form. If you become a flying vehicle your guns are powerful but maneuvering is a chore. Transforming into a ground vehicle is the worst. The aiming system is unnecessarily challenging and steering is comically bad – like driving a remote control car on ice. If it’s no fun to transformer as a Transformer, what’s the point?

“Transformer: RotDS” does have a few redeeming qualities. When/if you can find others to play with, there is some fun to be had in Escalation mode, where teams of up to three face wave after wave of enemies. Many of the actors who voice characters in the movie and cartoon reprise their roles in the game (most notably Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime) and playing as dinobot Grimlock late (very late) in the campaign is quite a treat. That said, “RotDS” just has too many issues.

Kids or hardcore Transformers fans may find some value here, but developer Edge of Reality (taking over the franchise from High Moon Studios) has failed to create a game anyone outside of that demographic can enjoy.

+ Escalation mode is fun with friends
+ Many of the voice actors from the films are in-game

- Wonky vehicle controls
- Repetitive shoot’em up action
- Weak story
- Poor visual presentation

Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.