The day has come! Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark launches today on PS4 and PS3, and the Autobots and Decepticons bring their furious war to Earth. In honor of that, we’re bringing you a quick list of reasons you should grab a copy of this fast-paced, intense third-person action game — some of which we’re revealing for the very first time.
1. New Threats
We’ve tried to keep a lid on the story of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark as much as possible, but with the game available today, we’re excited to talk about some of the ways in which this is more than just an Optimus Prime vs. Megatron story.
As we’ve said, we’re bridging past and present this time around, linking the dark days of the war for Cybertron, as depicted in our previous Transformers titles, with the live-action films of Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, which told the saga on Earth. If you’ve seen the Transformers films, you know there’s recently been an opening for a leadership position among the Decepticons. A new villain will emerge in the game and in the upcoming film Transformers: Age of Extinction. He’s a mysterious Transformers mercenary who’s observed the war from afar, waiting for the perfect chance to strike. He is tactical, calculating and a dangerous new adversary for the Autobots and humanity.
Meanwhile, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark gives you the chance to explore more of Cybertron’s ancient history, delving deeper into the Sea of Rust to raid the tombs of the planet’s Golden Era, whose dark secrets and treasures are kept safe by the Crystal Guardians.
And, of course, the Sea of Rust is where another group of Transformers warriors has taken nest…
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark showcases the more primitive denizens of Cybertron’s underbelly, including the first encounter between the Decepticons and the Insecticons and laying out how this new faction comes to side with Shockwave, playing into the later chronology of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
And, of course, this means the Campaign will feature a playable Insecticon — Sharpshot — the unsettling and strange being who can also cloak and change form into a giant flying beetle.
3. Making it Personal
One of the standout features of our previous Transformers games has been the attention to the unique personalities and details of each character. Playing the Campaign feels like watching a great buddy cop movie with a dozen different players. We’re happy to say that trend continues in Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark.
The misadventures of Shockwave, Starscream, and Soundwave as they search Cybertron’s crumbling ruins for the Dark Spark is a personal highlight for me. Along the way you’ll also encounter some new Autobots like Drift and a very special guest, as well as old favorites like Ironhide, Sideswipe, and Jetfire. Each of these characters play an integral role in the adventure, among other familiar faces that will be popping up.
And we take it a step further, including the kind of big-name character showdowns fans have been requesting for so long. Taking on Sharpshot, Hardshell, and Kickback in the same battle with Shockwave is a lot of fun, as is Sharpshot vs. Ironhide, Cliffjumper vs. Swindle, and more.
4. The Rise of Escalation
We’re very excited to give Escalation mode the spotlight it’s always deserved in Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, and doing so brings the strongest co-op multiplayer experience to a Transformers game yet.
We made a number of changes to Escalation to bring it to the fore, including unified character progression that allows any unlock you’ve gotten to be used in either Escalation or Campaign mode. We’ve added new strategic tools like barricades, turrets, and decoys to give you more ways to stay alive. There are new opponent types, including big-names that you know from the series appearing among the enemy ranks as challenging mini-bosses. Oh, and add a few Hacks in to give yourself a real challenge once you’ve dominated all the maps. It all adds up into a meatier experience as a whole and a great reason to roll out with friends.
And there’s one other big change. Previous versions of Escalation forced you to play as one of four predefined characters on a given map. That’s gone now. Pick your character, change your loadout, and make your Autobot or Decepticon dream team (the working together as a team part is still up to you, of course). Any side, any Transformers character, any map.
Speaking of which…
5. Transformers. Lots of Them.
We keep talking about the more than 40 Transformers characters you’ll be able to play as on any map in Escalation, but we realize that doesn’t tell you whether your favorite characters will be in the game. So let’s just spoil a bunch of them right now, shall we? Cliffjumper, Jazz, Quake, Warpath, Ironhide, Ultra Magnus, Zeta Prime, Perceptor, Wheeljack, Scattershot, Demolisher…
Not enough? How about three Insecticons, five Combaticons, four Dinobots, three Stunticons, three Aerialbots, TWO versions of Bumblebee, and THREE unique versions of Optimus Prime! (Look, the point is, there’s more Optimus Prime here than you can handle.)
Oh, and have I mentioned that all these guys are giant robots from space that can change form into cars and planes? Because that’s also extremely critical information to keep in mind. Giant space robots. That change form.
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark lets these wonderful characters shine, giving you instruments of incredible destruction and plenty of opportunities to use them. Combined with Paramount’s new film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, coming to theaters this Friday, it’s a great week to celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary!
…and, yes, the game has Grimlock and Bruticus.