Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Published by Activision, Developed by WayForward

Genres: Action

US release date: Jun 24th, 2014 | EU release date: Jun 24th, 2014

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark review

I didn't like it. There, I saved you 40 bucks. Go get FF Tactics.

Griffin Cost wrote this game review.

Review written by
Griffin Cost

July 4th, 2014

What are you reading this for? The tagline said it all. If you want a half-decent strategy game on the 3DS, go get FF Tactics, Fire Emblem, or, hell, even Super Mario 3D Land requires more "strategy" than this adaptation of Transformers: Rise of the You Read the Subtitle Already.

I could say this was the worst 3rd Person Shooter on consoles to be adapted into a 3DS strategy game, but I can't, because I played Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Speaking of which, RIP Tom Clancy.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark screenshotYou guys watch Game of Thrones lately? How are the kids? ...

Okay, look, I know I'm not talking about the game, but in my defense, there's almost nothing to talk about. The soundtrack from the Wii U version is copy-pasted into this one, though some songs are left out, and the same goes for the voice acting.

The story is the same as the Wii U version, with all of that pesky plot and explanation cut out, of course, because this game has deep, engaging strategy mechanics it just can't BEAR to hold off on. Really, can I just talk about the Wii U version again?

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark screenshotAlright, so there's 26 missions and they're bad. Why are they bad, you may ask? Well, there's really not anything stand out about them. Whereas games like FF Tactics mix it up by not allowing a random selection of spells or abilities to be used, this game tends to be about as thought provoking as a rotting piece of cheese. You either defend or attack. You hold out or you retrieve. Woop dee freakin doo.

You know, Starcraft II has relatively repetitive gameplay as well. In fact, most all strategy games do. But that's why they're so easy to do WRONG, and so great when they're done right. When a strategy game works, it's because the player is familiar with the mechanics but constantly has to use them, be introduced new ones over the course of the game, or subsequently lose some abilities or strengths, causing him/her to stretch their mind and look at things a different way. There has to be multiple ways to ensure victory. In this game, you are given little to no variation on how to go about winning. You can change your robot leader's equipment slightly (the items you get don't do too much), but your other robots are left untouched. As far as level design goes, it's brain dead simple. Even a child could figure this out within minutes and have no issue beating the game.

"Oh, I have four robots, and the path to the thing I'm protecting is 3 spaces wide? And there are turrets I can hack to kill enemies before they come to me?"

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark screenshotReally, this was the 5th mission in the game, and I still left out the part on how your leader robot can do an AoE ranged attack an unlimited number of times that can kill enemy robots in two hits.

So an enemy will sometimes be smart enough to attack you head on, and this initiates a combat sequence. You played Paper Mario? No? How about Pokemon? Still No? You do realize this is a Nintendo site, correct? Whatever; take out any fun or differing options of those games (basically, make every Pokemon move a normal move and every Pokemon normal type), cut it down to three turns before it ends automatically, and you have the combat system present in this game.

Oh yeah, and the graphics are PS1 levels of awful. They tried to load the models from the Wii U version in the 3DS version and it turned out as bad as you'd expect. The models on the board are simplistic 2D figures with minor movements, and the 3D models have a limited color palette at times and overall look a bit like the game corrupted before you put it in.

I can't even bring myself to hate the game, though. It's just too mediocre. It's a game, it works, but that's it, really. It's repetitive, it's boring, frankly, it's just MEH. Let it fade into obscurity, don't buy this game. Activision will be just fine, I assure you, and I've given it more attention than it deserves already.

I'm going to take a nap, just thinking about this game literally makes me want to go to sleep.


Gameplay: Gameplay score: 4

Graphics: Graphics score: 3

Sound: Sound score: 5

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 5

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