Review: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

JASON HILL
Last updated 05:00 22/07/2014
Activision

FLOP: Though Bumblebee may look like his colourful, bombastic self, Rise of the Dark Spark is a dreary and boring experience.

Activision
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark.
Activision
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark.
Activision
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark.

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Once upon a time, every blockbuster flick would have an accompanying video game hitting store shelves the day the box office opened.

But Dark Spark is a reminder of why movie tie-ins are now such a rarity, and why nobody mourns their loss.

Of course, this game should be awesome.

Transformers are perfect video game fodder, as is Michael Bay's signature bombast.

Perhaps the best example of the missed opportunity that is Dark Spark is that the core principal of the Transformers franchise - that robots can transform into vehicles - is rendered pointless.

The mechanised behemoths can be transformed into cars and flying machines at any time, but there's rarely any reason to do so.

The game is a flavourless and too-familiar shooter set in a series of drab environments.

Players are forced to follow dreary Simon-says objectives throughout the campaign mode's 14 overly long missions.

The action constantly switches between a variety of Autobots and Decepticons.

There's also a reasonable assortment of weapons, ranging from traditional machine guns and rocket launchers to more exotic fare like slime cannons and electric beams.

Completing challenges like taking out a certain number of enemies with a certain weapon type enables you to earn new toys, but the potentially interestinggear box system is rendered largely irrelevant given any old weapons are likely to get the job done against such stupid, feeble foes.

It's rare that any tactics are necessary in combat, but the game isn't always easy.

And the annoying checkpoint system ensures that when you get felled you must frustratingly replay lengthy sections again.    

Some welcome variety comes from flying and a stint as a massive and powerful dinobot, and there's a reasonable co-op mode to play with three mates.

But Dark Spark is a shallow and dreary experience best avoided.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
From:
Edge of Reality
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, WiiU, PC
Classification: M
Score: 4/10

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