Edge of Reality, who have become a company handling port of many big games including Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins and The Sims 3 to PS3, are handling production of this game while High Moon Studios are off working on the PS3 and XBox 360 ports of a little upcoming shooter called Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. So the developers at least have a history of decent ports, but can they deliver the goods with their own game? Let's find out...
Oh god. It literally took about 30 seconds of gameplay for us to realise this game was going to be a disappointing title and was something we were going to struggle to play - generic, bland, dull. Admittedly the shooting is fun enough with a range of weapons on offer including a cool electric gun that chains from one enemy to another, however dash attacks ultimately seem more powerful and useful to take out enemies.
As you play through the game and level up or complete tasks Gear Boxes become available to you which contain new characters, weapons or upgrades which can then be applied for use during the campaign or online modes. It's a little annoying to have to go to the menu to open these gear boxes before applying them at select locations throughout the levels, but the level of customisation is impressive.
Sadly there's many annoyances about this game. Not only are there all the issues as mentioned above, but the game has some pretty annoying difficulty spikes which will frustrate as you cruise along a level and then hit a wall of enemies. Enemy AI is pretty much broken too. At times enemies will come towards you and kick your ass. Other times they will just stand there and do nothing - you can quite literally walk up to them, do a dance, spank off and they just look at you. It's just broken. Then we get to the actual shooting mechanics and the game is dull. There were better shooters in the PS2 era which played slicker - after playing the Destiny Alpha this is downright dull.
Hopeful of finding something worthy of praise we turned to the games online mode called "Escalation" which allows for Quick Match or Private Match across eight different maps with up to 15 waves of increasingly difficult enemies. It's nothing we haven't seen before but it provides a bit of entertainment for a while and probably more fun than the main game itself.
What this game does have going for it is the large number of Autobots and Deceptacons which can be used - there are 25 Autobots and 18 Decepticons on offer in the game each of which can be customised with Primary Weapons, Heavy Weapons, TECH, Abilities and Hacks giving a large amount of customisation.
Rise of the Dark Spark is a very disappointing title visually with some of the most generic and boring visuals we've seen since the PS2 era. Of course, the PS4 allows the developer to push 1080p visuals with a decent frame rate, but why bother when the level design is dull, the texturing poor and transformations very generic and nothing even remotely close to the very cool transformations in the Michael Bay films. Finding positives is pretty hard but the actual Transformer models are pretty neat while some of the cut-scenes are also nice enough but not enough to save the package.
After a few entertaining Transformers titles we were bitterly disappointed in this release. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark misses the mark in almost every regard - poor scripting, horribly dull visuals, and boring gameplay. Just how, or why, Activision allowed this game out of the development studios is beyond belief. Sure, we can see the publisher wanted to tie the release into the new Michael Bay feature film, but all this release is doing is damaging the franchise. Avoid.
Review By: Dave Warner