Quite unexpectedly, the “Transformers” video game franchise has emerged seemingly out of nowhere, hot on the heels of the movie series, to become a rather respected outlet for a lot of casual gamers. This latest entry, “Rise of the Dark Spark” (courtesy of developer - Edge of Reality) is yet another action-filled third-person romp which brings together an exciting single player campaign as well as more great co-op survival gameplay on the multiplayer side.
The “Dark Spark”, as referenced in game, is a very powerful artifact with the amazing ability to actually rip holes in the universe’s dimensional fabric, thereby allowing two universes to come together. In effect, this means that both contingents of transformers, the autobots and decepticons will battle over control over it. The game starts off with a meteor crashing to the ground on Earth, and a bounty hunter scurrying off with it before Optimus and crew can figure our what to do. Naturally, Megatron is intent on having it in order to put forward a plot to finally rid their universe of the autobots once and for all. As expected, many twists and turns follow, which further builds upon the plot in various ways to create additional tension leading up to a poignant conclusion.
All in all, this is one of your more typical third person shooters, with very little extra to offer in the way of surprises. Part of what makes the game so appealing for some of course is the characters, setting and ability to shift from humanoid robot form to vehicle, etc. In other words, this is exactly the game that Transformers fans will likely want to play. Aside from building upon the legacy of the franchise with the exploration of the lore of the Dark Spark, it sees you (once again, as in previous games from the series) assuming the role of multiple characters throughout, which affords the opportunity to explore their unique abilities and so forth. Moreover, the level design is thoughtful and varied, with missions offered which cover a lot of territory while remaining fairly linear and largely story-driven.
Visually speaking, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark isn’t exactly cutting edge, but nor is it terribly primitive-looking either. Basically, it utilizes a similar set of graphical parameters as found in its predecessor titles; meaning that it’s a fine-looking game that’s not attempting to break new ground in terms of technology. Likewise, the environments and character designs are spot on, remaining true to form as well as providing an excellent backdrop allowing for full immersion in the gameplay and storyline.
Those with a penchant for multiplayer will certainly get a kick out of the “Escalation” mode, which sees four players fighting off waves of enemies (yet another feature that’s become a holdover for the series). Naturally, with each wave things become increasingly more challenging – it’s really quite a lot of fun, and greatly increases the value of the game itself in terms of replay value, especially if you actually like the franchise.