Thursday 12 November 2020

Transformers: Battlegrounds game review


Following on from the news of the release of the new game Transformers: Battlegrounds from Outright Games, Coatsink, Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe and Hasbro, we have been playing the game.

True to a Transformers story the game is a tale of good vs evil - Autobots vs Decepticons. Earth is invaded by Deceptions who are on a mission to get the AllSpark. But thankfully the Autobots are on hand to battle the baddies and save the day.

The main game consists of numerous missions where you play as the Autobots to outwit, outmanoeuvre and outbattle the Decepticon opponents.

As you progress through the game you unlock Autobots which you then select when putting together a squad at the start of missions. The game features beloved Autobot characters such as the iconic Bumblebee, Windblade, Grimlock and the legendary Optimus Prime.

The Autobots have different abilities, and there are three distinct types of Autobot - scout, brawler and support. The Autobot skills have different levels of effectiveness with the power increasing as you choose to use more action points. 

Transformers Battlegrounds is a turn-based strategy game . You are tasked with the mission of helping the Autobots as their human commander. As the brains of the battle you strategize how best to use the Autobots brawn to defeat the enemy.

You move your characters and perform actions in an aim to complete the mission, then your turn is over. Next the computer controls your opponents and moves and performs actions for those units. The battles are played out at a swift pace but if you want to skip past watching your enemy finish their actions you can fast-forward.

The beginning of a mission requires you to traverse across an area to reach a particular location, master time-critical rescues or deactivate a small army of standard Decepticons before a well-known villain appears for a boss battle. Defeat the boss to declare victory!

At most you only ever have a maximum of three characters to control per mission. On each turn you only have three action points to use, but you can only use one skill per turn. As you strategically play the game you could move your character, use a basic attack skill and then move it again. Attack skills include shooting from afar with laser blasters to good old fashioned fighting.

As you battle and perform actions or end a turn with unused action points you charge an Energon gauge which unlocks a range of special skills that are unique to each Autobot. These Ultimate skills are available once the Energon gauge is full and can be used regardless of whether an Autobot has used up all of their action points making it useful for progressing in the mission.

There is no leveling up of characters or upgrading of abilities. However Spark points earned for victorious battles can be used to buy additional skills that are then swapped into your action bar. 

As well as the main campaign the game also offers an arcade mode. You can play turn-based battles between a single player and the CPU, co-op play or two players can go head-to-head. The different arcade modes include Capture the Flag, Last Stand and Decepticon Grudge Match where you can play as Decepticons.

It is a fun, relaxing, non challenging game. It is also a nice change to the standard battle type Transformers games of the past. Whilst the game as a whole is fun and well put together with nicely stylised transformers and world, the voice action is a little disappointing and at times the game visuals are basic and look last gen especially when zoomed into certain actions. That said the characters are recognisable, the graphics are bold and vibrant and it is fun when they transform into vehicles to move. 

Primarily aimed at kids Transformer: Battlegrounds is a great introduction to turn-based strategy games. The limited number of units to control in each battle means that it is not too complex for younger gamers plus helpful tips and easy to understand HUD means gamers can get to grip with the game. The fact that the characters will hit their target as long as they’re in sight of it also helps make the game accessible and playable for younger Transformers fans.

The game also introduces children to tactical gameplay and the concept of risk reward. Do you risk getting up close and personal with a Decepticon? Do you forgo your last action point for a guaranteed Ultimate on your next turn but leave yourself out in the open? Plus whilst the game is not overly challenging the inclusion of achievements such as Together....As One and More Than Meets The Eye rewards gamers for completing particular tasks.

Overall it is a great little fun game that is ideal for younger Transformers fans or for introducing children to turn-based strategy games.

TRANSFORMERS: BATTLEGROUNDS is out now on PlayStation® 4, Nintendo Switch™, Xbox One, and PC digital.

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