ⓘ Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark


ⓘ Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is an action-adventure video game based on the Transformers toy franchise. 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 24, 2014. It is the third installment in the War for Cybertron series and the fourth installment in the movie game series. The game was released on June 24, 2014, for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, to negative reviews from critics, many criticized the bland story, inconsistent difficulty and unfulfilling combat. The game is set before the film Transformers: Age of Extinction, and between Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.


1. Gameplay

The console and Microsoft Windows versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark are a third-person shooter, much like its predecessors from High Moon Studios Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

The 3DS version of the game is a strategy game role-playing video game. Melee combat is turn-based. The player is given three rounds to deplete their opponents 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.


1.1. Gameplay Multiplayer

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. Escalation mode is absent in the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game. In addition, experience points collected by players in both single and multiplayer will be shared.


2.1. Synopsis Setting

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is a crossover with the Transformers film series and the video game series, consisting of Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. The Dark Spark is a powerful artifact that is capable of ripping holes in dimensions, which brings two Transformers universes together. The story takes place before the Ark is launched in Fall of Cybertron, while in an alternate universe it takes place on Earth in 2014 before the events of Age of Extinction with 14 chapters.


2.2. Synopsis Plot

The game begins in continuity with the film, wherein a mysterious purple meteor crashes into Earth Chapter 1, 10-14. The Autobots reach the crash site and Optimus sees an ancient Cybertronian relic called the Dark Spark, the antithesis to 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. The Autobots clear out the mercenaries defending the relic, but fail to stop the bounty hunter Lockdown from escaping with the relic. The perspective changes to Cybertron, where Megatron and Optimus give explanations to their factions current state: the Autobots face their darkest hour, where the Decepticons are near victorious.

On Cybertron Chapter 2-9 and within the War for Cybertron continuity, Megatron sends Soundwave, Starscream, and Shockwave to the Crystal City vault to find the Dark Spark in order to wipe the Autobots from the face of the universe. They encounter heavy resistance from subterranean bugs. Shockwave deviates from the course as he tries to stop these bugs, where he encounters the Insecticons Hardshell, Kickback, and Sharpshot. Upon defeating them Shockwave convinces them to join the Decepticon faction. The team reaches the vault, which is guarded by ancient warriors. After defeating the warriors, the group finds that keys are needed to open the vault. Once all the keys are retrieved, the vault opens to reveal the Autobots Ironhide and Sideswipe inside, who then steal the Dark Spark. They escape through a door just before it closes and locks.

Sideswipe and Ironhide then rally with Optimus and Bumblebee at a train station. Sideswipe tries to call for a train, but it leaves before the Autobots can get onto it. While waiting for another to arrive, the Autobots have to defend themselves against a horde of Insecticons and Starscream. The next train arrives and the Autobots board it. It travels only a short distance before Shockwave detonates a bomb that destroys the train.

The Autobots emerge from the wreckage and Optimus tries to fool the Decepticons into thinking he has the Dark Spark. The Insecticon Sharpshot informs Shockwave that Ironhide is actually the one carrying it. The two give chase after Ironhide, and forcefully take the Dark Spark from him. Autobots attempt to stop them during their escape, but the two flee to the lower levels of Cybertron. There they encounter a ruin that was once used to house the Dark Spark. While Sharpshot powers up the exit door Shockwave gleans information from the computer logs. The two make it through the door, and meet up with the Combaticons who escort Shockwave to Megatron.

During the escort, Swindle and Shockwave are ambushed by Cliffjumper and a group of Autobots. Swindle eventually overpowers Cliffjumper, but the Autobot gets away before Swindle can kill him. Shockwave and Swindle then continue making their way to Megatron. They arrive at the gates of Kaon only to find it attacked by Autobots. After a lengthy battle the Combaticons combine into Bruticus and eliminate the rest of the Autobot troops. Cliffjumper tries to destroy Bruticus by planting a bomb on his back but is quickly taken captive. With Megatron having the Dark Spark, Optimus must infiltrate Kaon with Jazz to rescue Cliffjumper and destroy the Dark Spark. Their rescue is successful; Cliffjumper and Jazz escape, leaving Optimus to confront Megatron, now in control of the Dark Spark. The two battle as Megatron uses the Dark Spark through a huge chunk of Dark Energon to revive dead Autobots as mindless drones. The Dark Spark is expelled from Megatrons body during the fights climax, hurling it into space.

The perspective returns to Earth and the film continuity, where Bumblebee and Drift work their way through canyons which lead to Lockdowns stronghold. Drift is captured, and Bumblebee is left to rescue him. The two battle insurmountable forces, and at their most desperate moment Grimlock bursts into the stronghold and comes to their rescue. Lockdown escapes, fleeing to a second site where he intends to open a time bridge and begin the Autobot and Decepticon war anew. Grimlock, Bumblebee, Drift and Optimus work their way through the city to the entrance of Lockdowns base. Optimus bests Lockdown in combat, and the final shard of the Dark Spark is ejected from Lockdowns body by Drifts sword. Optimus uses a beam from the Matrix of Leadership stored within his chest to destroy the Dark Spark shard, and Lockdown escapes, ostensibly allowing for the events of Age of Extinction to take place later.

In an epilogue scene, the Optimus Prime from the Transformers: Generation 1 continuity sees the Dark Spark falling to his version of Earth, and repeats the film Optimus line from the beginning of the game: "I thought this day would never come."


3. Development

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. Due to the nature of the games 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. Optimus Prime features two separate character models from these continuities, plus a Transformers: Generation 1 model.

Several veteran voice actors voice multiple characters. Peter Cullen reprises his long-time role as Optimus Prime. 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." 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 Parks second single "Until Its Gone".


4. Reception

The console and Windows versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, developed by Edge of Reality, received negative reviews from critics. Approval ratings for this version averaged between 30.00% and 59.00% at GameRankings, while Metacritic reports scores in the 40s. IGN gave it a "bad" rating of 4.0 out of 10.0, due to "frustrating" and "dull" design, a "confusing" story, and the total absence of multiplayer support on Wii U. The Nintendo 3DS version, developed by WayForward Technologies, received slightly better reviews with a GameRankings score of 60.00% and no Metacritic score reported.

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