Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

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Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
Transfromersgame.png
Transformers: Rise of Dark Spark box art
Developer(s)Edge of Reality
(console and PC)
WayForward Technologies (Nintendo 3DS)
Publisher(s)Activision
Director(s)Brody Brooks
Adam Tierney (Nintendo 3DS)
Producer(s)Andy Owen (console and PC)
Shannon Hatakeda (Nintendo 3DS)
Designer(s)Dominic Craig
(console and PC)
Brody Brooks
Adam Tierney
Barrett Velia (Nintendo 3DS)
Programmer(s)Emanuel Masciarelli
(console and PC)
Daniel Yoon (Nintendo 3DS)
Artist(s)Ewan Wan Woo Lee
William M. Sullivan
(console and PC)
Paul Castillo (Nintendo 3DS)
Writer(s)Andy Schmidt
(console and PC)
Adam Tierney (Nintendo 3DS)
Composer(s)Jeff Broadbent
Steve Jablonsky
Bobby Tahouri
Troels Brun Folmann
SeriesTransformers
EngineUnreal Engine 3
(Console and PC)
Platform(s)
ReleaseJune 24, 2014
Genre(s)Third-person shooter, Strategy, role-playing (Nintendo 3DS)
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is an action-adventure video game based on the Transformers franchise, which depicts the conflict between the Autobots and the Decepticons, both factions of the eponymous alien race, who can transform into various vehicles. It was developed primarily by Edge of Reality, with the Nintendo 3DS version developed by WayForward Technologies. It was published by Activision and released worldwide on June 23, 2014 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, to mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, many praising the complex story, balanced difficulty and fulfilling combat but criticized some glitches within the game.

The game is a spin-off and crossover between the Transformers game series based on the film franchise, and the Cybertron game series, making it the fourth game in the former and the third one in the latter;[1] its film canon component is a sequel to the Dark of the Moon game and a prequel to the Age of Extinction film, whereas its Cybertron canon component is set in between the games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron.[2] The story revolves around the eponymous Dark Spark, a powerful Cybertronian artifact; in the film continuity, the Autobots attempt to reclaim it from the mercenary Lockdown before he can use it for his own nefarious schemes, while in the Cybertron continuity, the Decepticons race with the Autobots to retrieve it first and destroy their rivals once and for all.

Gameplay[edit]

The console and Microsoft Windows versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark are a third-person shooter, much like its predecessors: Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Players can control each transformer in both its robot and vehicle forms. Instead of a traditional health system, the game features a system similar to the Halo series of video games. The player character has both a regenerating shield and health, the latter of which can be replenished by a health pack. The game features various challenges which reward the players with weapon upgrades, characters for the multiplayer component, and other bonuses. Upgrades for weapons can be purchased through Teletran 1 kiosks found throughout the game. Every character has their own unique ability. For example, Soundwave can summon his minions, Optimus Prime has a shield to block incoming fire, Sharpshot can turn invisible for a few seconds, and the Combaticons have the ability to combine into the massive Decepticon Bruticus. The Autobot Grimlock, who transforms into a dinosaur, is controlled differently from other characters: he carries only melee weapons (though he can shoot fire out of his mouth when in dinosaur form), and is much larger that other characters, in addition to having more health points.

The 3DS version of the game is a strategy game role-playing video game.[3] Melee combat is turn-based. The player is given three rounds to deplete their opponent's health. If successful, the enemy is removed from the overworld map. The player can choose from seven different attacks, each with their own recharge time after each use.[3]

Multiplayer[edit]

Transformers: Rise of The Dark Spark has an extra mode called "Escalation". It is an online multiplayer mode where four players fend off waves of increasingly tough enemies, returned with the addition of upgradable defenses. The mode features over forty playable characters, and has levels based on both Cybertron and Earth.[4] The Escalation mode is absent in the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game.[5] In addition, experience points collected by players in both single and multiplayer will be shared.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is a crossover with the Transformers film series and the Cybertron video game series, consisting of Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.[6] The eponymous Dark Spark is a powerful artifact that is capable of ripping holes in dimensions, which brings two Transformers universes together. The Cybertron universe component of the game takes place before the events of Fall of Cybertron, while its film series universe component takes place on Earth in 2014, shortly before the events of the Transformers: Age of Extinction film. The story consists of 14 chapters, 6 of which are set on Earth and 8 on Cybertron.

Characters[edit]

Autobots
Decepticons

^a Playable only in escalation
^b Playable only in campaign
^d Appears in campaign, but is non-playable
^e Slag was renamed Slug in the game due to Slag being a derogatory term in some cultures
^f Originally available via pre-order, later downloadable content

Plot[edit]

On Earth, in the film continuity, the Autobots Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Drift investigate the site of a mysterious crash in an abandoned city, encountering a large group of Cybertronian mercenaries led by Lockdown. At the crash site, they find an ancient Cybertronian relic known as the Dark Spark, but Lockdown retrieves it first and uses it to temporarily freeze the Autobots, allowing him to escape. Optimus says "I thought this day would never come..." and proceeds explain what the Dark Spark is, while the perspective changes to the Cybertron continuity. The Dark Spark is a dark relic, said to be the antithesis of the Matrix of Leadership: whereas the Matrix grants wisdom, the Dark Spark gives the user the power to bend the universe and its inhabitants to their own will.

On Cybertron, the Decepticons are nearly victorious in their war against the Autobots. To make sure their rivals are completely wiped out, Megatron orders Starscream, Soundwave, and Shockwave to find the Dark Spark in the abandoned Crystal City. There, the Decepticons are attacked by a large swarm of Insecticons led by Hardshell, Kickback, and Sharpshot, whom Shockwave defeats, earning their fealty and control of the Insecticons. The trio then make their way to the vault containing the Dark Spark, fighting through guards and obtaining the keys needed to unlock the vault. However, the Autobots Sideswipe and Ironhide are able to retrieve the Dark Spark first, and escape the pursuing Insecticons, regrouping with Optimus and Bumblebee at a train station. They fight off several hordes of Insecticons and Starscream, before boarding a train, though it is destroyed moments later by a bomb planted by Shockwave.

While investigating the train's ruins, the Decepticons see Optimus fleeing with the surviving Autobots, but Sharpshot informs Shockwave that the Dark Spark is in the possession of Ironhide, so they forcefully take it from him. The pair are then ambushed by Autobots, but manage to escape to the lower levels of Cybertron, where they land in a ruin that was once used to house the Dark Spark. After making their way out, they meet up with the Combaticons Onslaught, Vortex, and Swindle. The latter escorts Shockwave and Sharpshot to Megatron, along the way being ambushed by a group of Autobots, led by Cliffjumper, whom Swindle defeats, though he escapes afterward. The trio arrive at the gates of Kaon, the Decepticon capital city, which come under attack by Autobot forces, led by Jazz. The Combaticons combine to form Bruticus, thwarting the Autobot attack and capturing Cliffjumper.

With Megatron now in possession of the Dark Spark, Optimus and Jazz lead a secret mission to retrieve it and rescue Cliffjumper. Though they successfully infiltrate Kaon and free their fellow Autobot, they are caught in a nearly inescapable trap. Optimus contacts Perceptor, who sends Jetfire to infiltrate the ruins of the massive Decepticon Trypticon; despite an encounter with a Decepticon salvage team led by Starscream, Jetfire is able to use Trypticon's laser array to free Optimus, Jazz, and Cliffjumper, and then escape. While Jazz escorts the wounded Cliffjumper to safety, Optimus confronts Megatron, who uses the Dark Spark in combination with Dark Energon to revive several dead Autobots as mindless drones. Nevertheless, Optimus triumphs over Megatron and sends the Dark Spark flying into space using the Matrix. Both Megatron and Optimus are severely injured in the process, and, while the former is carried away by Shockwave, the latter contacts Jazz, stating that the Dark Spark is no longer an obstacle to them leaving Cybertron via the Ark.

Back on Earth, Bumblebee and Drift fight their way through canyons to reach Lockdown's stronghold. After Drift is captured, Bumblebee rescues him, but the pair are soon overwhelmed by enemy forces. They are saved by the sudden appearance of Grimlock, who helps them prevail, though Lockdown escapes with the Dark Spark once again. The Autobots track him down to another abandoned city, where Grimlock helps clear a path to Lockdown's bunker, allowing Optimus to confront him. Lockdown reveals a Time Bridge he built, which he intends to use to bring the Autobot-Decepticon war into the present so that he could profit off it, and then fights Optimus. With Drift's help, Optimus defeats Lockdown and retrieves the Dark Spark, which he then throws into the Time Bridge, moments before it explodes, though both the Autobots and Lockdown manage to escape, vowing to meet again.

In an epilogue scene, the G1 continuity Optimus sees the Dark Spark crashing on Earth, and, just like his film continuity counterpart, says "I thought this day would never come..."

Development[edit]

The Windows and console versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark are powered by Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and utilize the Havok physics engine. Unlike Fall of Cybertron and War for Cybertron, which were developed by High Moon Studios, primary development for Rise of the Dark Spark was handled by Edge of Reality. WayForward Technologies developed the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, which unlike its counterparts is a strategy RPG. It is the first PlayStation 4 game to use its Pre-Load feature, which allows players to download a game before its release date and have it ready to play the day it is released.[7] Due to the nature of the game's narrative several characters have multiple models to choose from, each related to a given continuity. For example, Autobots Bumblebee and Grimlock feature two separate playable character models, one from the War for Cybertron continuity, and one from the cinematic universe.[8][9] Optimus Prime features two separate character models from these continuities, plus a Transformers: Generation 1 model.[10]

Several veteran voice actors voice multiple characters. Peter Cullen reprises his long-time role as Optimus Prime.[11] Of his experience provided voice work for the game, Cullen said "there was a such a respect for the character from the beginning. I wasn’t used to that, it’s something that’s transformed—pardon the pun—over the years."[12] Fred Tatasciore also returns to voice Megatron. Jim Ward voices Perceptor, Scott Whyte voices Hardshell, and Travis Willingham voices Onslaught and Sideswipe. Troy Baker voices Jazz, Jetfire, and Kickback. Gregg Berger voices Grimlock and Lockdown while Steven Blum provides the voices for Sharpshot, Shockwave, and Swindle. Nolan North, voices Bruticus and Cliffjumper and Keith Silverstein voices Blast Off and Rumble. Soundwave is voiced by Isaac C. Singleton Jr.. A trailer for Rise of the Dark Spark featured American rock band Linkin Park's second single "Until It's Gone".

As of 2020, the multiplayer servers for Rise of the Dark Spark, like other games published by Activision, have been shut down.[13]

Reception[edit]

The console and Windows versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, developed by Edge of Reality, received unfavourable reviews from critics. Approval ratings for this version averaged between 60.00% and 30.00% at GameRankings, while Metacritic reports scores in the 40s. IGN gave it a "bad" rating of 4.0 out of 10.0, due to "interesting" and "colorful" design, a "complex" story, and the total absence of multiplayer support on Wii U.[27] The Nintendo 3DS version, developed by WayForward Technologies, received better reviews with a GameRankings score of 110.00% and no Metacritic score reported.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schulenberg, Thomas (February 15, 2014). "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark revealed at NYC Toy Fair". Joystiq. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Maiberg, Emanuel (February 16, 2014). "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark confirmed, merges with Michael Bay's Age of Extinction". GameSpot. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Ishaan (June 6, 2014). "First Look At WayForward's Transformers RPG For The Nintendo 3DS". Siliconera. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  4. ^ Sheridan, Connor (June 18, 2014). "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark trailer escalates co-op". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Stainrook, Wayne (June 18, 2014). "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Game Informer. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Langshaw, Mark (February 16, 2014). "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark announced by Activision". Digital Spy. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  7. ^ Sinha, Robin (June 19, 2014). "Sony PS4 Pre-Load Feature Debuts With Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". NDTV. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  8. ^ Fahey, Mike (April 12, 2014). "Double Bumblebee Is The Best Thing About Rise Of The Dark Spark". Kotaku. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Gordon, Rob (June 12, 2014). "'Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark' Grimlock Reveal Trailer". Game Rant. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Fahey, Mike (March 26, 2014). "Rise Of The Dark Spark Is A Tale Of Three Optimus Primes". Kotaku. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  11. ^ McMillan, Graeme (June 5, 2014). "'Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark' Mixes Game and Movie Universes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  12. ^ Semel, Paul (June 20, 2014). "Peter Cullen, the Voice of Optimus Prime, Talks "Transformers", Video Games, and Working With Michael Bay". complex.com. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Legacy Activision Games". Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  14. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  15. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  16. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  17. ^ a b "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  18. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  19. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  20. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  21. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  22. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  23. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  24. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  25. ^ "A Slapdash Insult To Fans — Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  26. ^ "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  27. ^ a b "Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark — The Dimmest Spark". IGN. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  28. ^ "Review: Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-17.

External links[edit]