Review: Transformers: Battlegrounds (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Transformers Battlegrounds
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (7.88 GB)
Release Date: October 22, 2020
Publisher: Outright Games
Developer: Coatsink
Original MSRP: $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I am a huge Transformers fan. From getting the toys in the early 80’s to watching the cartoon and reading the comics. I know my Ratchets to my Perceptors and then some. And I am familiar with most of the lore, from Generation One to War for Cybertron. But I was not totally familiar with Transformers:Cyberverse. I know the general gist of it, but that’s about it.

The story of Transformers: Battlegrounds thrusts you into looking for your fellow Autobots and trying to find and protect the All Spark. I found the story to be fairly bland, considering the series itself starts off with a darker tone. But I felt that this game is primarily for the younger crowd. Battlegrounds has done right by the Cyberverse license, but I couldn’t help but want my generation of Transformers.

Battlegrounds is a squad based tactical game. Combat, which is the meat of this type of game, is fun and challenging. It takes place in a three-quarter perspective field, and the bots takes turns in a gridded environment. This is where strategy comes in, making a simple game mechanic have some depth. You can move behind your Decepticon of choice, attack, and then move behind cover. Using the environment is a key to survival and a win. It sounds like a repetitive saying, but Battlegrounds is easy to play but hard to master.

To add to the combat, each of your bots has their own specifications that make them unique in battle. From Scout, Brawler, Support, etc., you have a nice range of abilities to choose from. Abilities are accessed through the R1/L1, and can range from a simple blaster attack, to a powerful melee attack. And, if you generate enough energon, your bot has access to powerful special move. You can equip new abilities through Wheeljack’s garage. By spending points you earn in each mission, you can buy your bot, or bots, new abilities. It’s fun to play around with the setup of your squad, but is fairly shallow.

My biggest gripe is the length of the game. I completed fifty percent of the game in a few hours, potentially making my total gameplay time between eight and ten hours. I have to keep in mind that this is a “budget” title and not a full price game that can last dozens of hours. There are four story chapters, with four to five missions in each chapter. Mission structures are fairly plain, from simple “destroy all targets”, to “get to a certain point on the map”. These missions can last anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, depending on how much Decepti-chops you want to bust. There is some replay value in arcade mode and going back to individual missions.

I feel that this title could find its longevity in DLC. There is a myriad of possibilities anywhere from mission packs to new characters and skins. Imagine a Generation One or Beast Wars centric DLC. Transformers: Battlegrounds is a good solid foundation for this type of “ahem” transformation.

Visuals:

The art style of Battlegrounds is as colorful and striking as the series. Each bot is a carbon copy of how they look on the show. The levels are colorful as well, and is populated by buildings and vehicles to make it feel lived in. As for the technical side of things, it ran fairly well, without too many hiccups. I did run into one problem with lag but I was playing over remote play and that could have caused it.

Audio:
The audio department had some issues, but I’ll get to the good part first. The music was well done. I did not recognize any of the music from the show. I’ve watched a few episodes but I’m more a War for Cybertron guy. But, the music felt at home in Battlegrounds and I couldn’t tell the difference. The only negative here is some of the voice over is laughably bad and feels phoned in. The main cast, Megatron, Windblade, etc. is good, just the some of the secondary characters performances has some issues.

Online/Multiplayer:
Transformers: Battlegrounds has local multiplayer. At the time of the review, it was not tested and cannot be reviewed.

Conclusion:
The bottom line on Transformers: Battlegrounds is that it’s good, not great, but uses its strengths to the max. It really uses the franchise to its most potential and leaves almost nothing to waste. But a weak story and short play length makes it hard to score the game higher. I really do believe that the future in this title is DLC. The developers can do anything from simply adding new bots, to the more difficult generational overlays. Imagine playing as the G1 Optimus, or even Beast Wars Optimus Primal. Right now, there are only skin packs, but I will be looking forward the the future. Til all are one.

Score:
7.5.

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Shawn Hiers

Shawn Hiers

Disabled gamer. Married Father of 5, and playing since the Atari days. I have a passion for all things Lego and an avid Toy Collector. I am also an huge Doctor Who Fan and can talk all things Who for hours 🙂

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