COLUMN: Aaron's Backstage Pass: 'Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark PS4' Review

Updated: 08/19/2014 10:55 AM
Created: 07/07/2014 9:41 AM
By: Aaron Chalich

As you all know from my reviews, I am a huge fan of Transformers. I really enjoy the toys, the animated series, the movies, and the video games.

I just finished playing Activision’s “Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark” for the PS4 and it was awesome. I have played all of the other Transformer games and this one is the best by far, for many reasons.

One of the things that makes “Rise of the Dark Spark” so awesome is that the story ties the theatrical films and all Activision’s Cybertron themed games together nicely. The story is exciting and I feel it was very well written.

“Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark” starts out with a meteor crashing to Earth, containing the mysterious “Dark Spark.” The Autobots race to the crash site and defeat a bunch of other robots guarding it. The Autobots are about to take the dark spark, but a bounty hunter named Lockdown shows up and flies away with the dark spark before the Autobots can grab it.

Some time passes and you learn the Dark Spark is being held in a vault in the Crystal City. Megatron, who is the leader of the Decepticons sends a few of his Decepticons to the Crystal City to find the Dark Spark. With the Dark Spark the Decepticons can finally defeat the Autobots.

The Autobots also learn that the Dark Spark is being held in the Crystal City so they go there to try and find the Dark Spark before the Decepticons do. If the Decepticons get the Dark Spark, they will destroy all of the Autobots. So now the Autobots must try and stop the Decepticons from getting the Dark Spark.

The thing that really made the story interesting is that you get to see both sides of the story.   

There are fourteen levels and you get to play both as the Autobots and the Decepticons.

The graphics are amazing. The backgrounds and Transformers look fabulous, they are extremely detailed. I also really thought that all of the transformations looked great as well.  They flowed smoothly and were flawless.

The controls are very easy to learn and there is an in game tutorial that does a great job of explaining how to control the transformers. The Transformers can jump, shoot, switch weapons, dash, do melee attacks and of course Transform.  

There are over forty different Transformers in the game and they all have their own unique powers and abilities.

There are also two modes that you can play. The first one is the campaign mode, which is the main story and the other mode, is an online game called “Escalation”. In "Escalation you and up to three other people can play together as a team. The goal is to try to survive 15 rounds of either Autobots or Decepticons attacking you. Before you play, you can choose to play as either the Autobots or Decepticons.
I thought that Escalation was a lot of fun, unlike most online games you can actually try and work with other people to accomplish something instead of running around trying to defeat each other.

On the main menu of the game you can choose to play the campaign, play Escalation, upgrade your character, or go into the extras. In the extras menu you can read the manual for “Rise of the Spark”,look at leaderboards, watch the credits, listen to audio logs that you find hidden in the game or look at all of the challenges that are available and see which ones you completed

Another thing that I really liked about “Rise of the Dark Spark” is that you can customize your Transformer. As you play either the campaign mode or Escalation you will gain experience points by defeating Transformers and you will level up your character.

There are also many different challenges in both the campaign mode and Escalation mode. If you pause the game in campaign mode, you can see some of the challenges that are available or sometimes if you do a specific action, the challenge that is associated with that action will just pop up on the screen. For example, “Defeat 50 Inscecticons.” As you start defeating them, a box will appear at the top of the screen that shows you how close you are at completing the challenge. I thought this was very helpful.

If you complete these challenges you will earn “Gear Boxes.” The gear boxes contain many different things, such as Transformers, weapons, upgrades, T.E.C.H. items, and hacks. 

Right before you play Escalation, you can customize your Transformers. You can choose which character you want to play as and can choose either the Autobots or Decepticons.  You can also choose which weapons you want to use. There are many different weapons to choose from and you can also unlock upgrades for each weapon making them more powerful.

You can also select the HACK you want to use. The Hacks are special items, that increase the challenge of the game, but you will earn more experience points. For example one of the HACKS makes enemies explode when they are defeated causing damage to you and other players.

The T.E.C.H. items will help you in battle and I would highly recommend that you use them. These will give you and other players more health or will increase the experience you gain.

I really enjoyed Activision’s “Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark” a lot. I thought that it was awesome how the movies and the games were all tied together. The graphics were fabulous and the controls were very easy to learn. I also like that there were over forty unique Transformers that you could play as. The challenges were fun to complete and the Escalation mode was awesome. I would highly recommend that you check out “Rise of the Dark Spark” if you are a fan of Transformers like me or if you are looking for a fun and exciting game to play.

“Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark” is rated “T” for Violence

Aaron Chalich is an entertainment columnist for

Minneapolis/St. Paul

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