Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is an action game that lets players choose to play as more than 40 "robots in disguise" and engage in heated combat with other Transformers. It isn't bloody or gory, but violence is at the heart of this game. Some parents might not like that you can play as both the good (Autobot) and bad (Decepticon) guys in this game, which debuted at the same time as the tie-in movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction.
What's it about?
With story elements from the TV series and movie franchise, including a little overlap with the current film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Activision's TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK is a third-person action game that lets you play as or battle your favorite Transformers characters. These "robots in disguise" (which can turn from vehicle into battle machine and back again) fight in an epic battle to secure an ancient and powerful relic, the Dark Spark. For the first time in a Transformers game, this multi-platform adventure lets you fight your way through both Earth and Cybertron universes as one of more than 40 Transformers, each with its own unique strengths and abilities. The roster includes popular favorites such as Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Megatron. Plus, you can press a button on the controller to switch between robot and vehicle at any time. Along with the single-player campaign, the game features four-player cooperative (co-op) play over the Internet, with a new progression system to reward players.
Is it any good?
Although it's not a complete disaster, there really isn't enough in Rise of the Dark Spark to satiate even the most faithful fan of Transformers fiction. On one hand, there's a huge variety of Transformers to play as -- from the more popular stars of the toy, movie, and game franchise down to lesser-known characters. There's also an online co-op mode to add some longevity to the game and upgrades that can be used in the single-player game, too. But it seems the developers traded breadth for depth, as the action grows tiresome after a short while. Plus, the game's checkpoint system isn't great, so you'll have to repeat parts you've already played just to get to where you perished.
Visually speaking, the graphics are so-so, with mediocre environments, dated character models, and glitches that suggest the game was released a bit too prematurely. Perhaps that isn't much of a surprise for a game released in tandem with a tie-in movie -- as nine out of 10 film tie-ins are disappointing, to say the least -- but we expect more from Activision and developer Edge of Reality.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about media marketing with games such as Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. Are kids being pulled into the movie studios' massive marketing blitz, or do they really just want to control their favorite robots?
Although there's a lot of fighting and violence in this game, is it OK because the main characters are robots?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $49.99 to 59.99 (29.99 on 3DS)
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: July 1, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.