Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Common Sense Media says

Lackluster action game has blatant movie-marketing ties.

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This action game focuses almost exclusively on combat in an epic battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. Though it's fantasy-based, the game's fighting theme might not give the best message to kids.

Positive role models

You can choose which Transformer character to play -- be it a good guy or an enemy -- so role models are both positive and negative (if you follow the backstory on these characters). But even the Autobots (heroes) are very combat-oriented and wield powerful weapons, so some parents might not feel they're good role models either. 

Ease of play

Although the game has many bugs, the Transformers are fairly easy to control. Players can use a controller's dual analog sticks, triggers, and face buttons to direct the "robots in disguise," along with their targeting and shooting. 

Violence

Although it's clearly fantasy-based with no blood or gore, this Transformers game is all about fighting. You choose which robot to play as and engage in weapon- and melee-based combat.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game debuted at the same time as Transformers: Age of Extinction, a new toy line, and other merchandise. The story line in the game is loosely tied to the related movie, too. The game is an extension of the film's marketing and merchandising efforts, and the whole Transformers franchise is based on toys.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The game can be played online in a cooperative ("co-op") mode, with full voice support, so players can talk freely over a headset microphone. There isn't anyone monitoring or filtering the dialogue, so players could hear profanity or other inappropriate language or comments.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

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 (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

This review of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byeazy__breezy January 27, 2015
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Not for little kids

My brother plays this game and ive watched before but never played it myself. This is not a game for little kids, the violence isn't a concern because its pretty tame, but dying characters scream in pain and agony when you kill them, its just not meant for little kids. My rating: appropriate for ages 11 and up, a little iffy for age 10 and inappropriate for ages 9 and under.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byMrHauska August 11, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Better than what critics are saying.

TF: RotDS is a game that takes place on both Earth and Cybertron. There is not a story really going on, but to me, I'm just there for robot action and fight scenes. Players play as Transformers and shoot the scrap out of other robots. Weapons include, Dual barreled machine guns, rocket launchers, shotguns, and sniper rifles. Remember that this is robot combat, so it is unrealistic and nothing to worry about. The game features online multiplayer, so I would stay away from that unless they are allowed to hear every word in the dictionary. There isn't much to talk about this, because it's a movie game. Oh yeah, Consumerism.
What other families should know
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Adult Written byJEDI micah July 13, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Could've been a little improved.

As a Transformers fan, I do have to admit: this game is not that appealing. The graphics are so-so, the story is too confusing, and there are a couple of glitches. While the gameplay is fun, it's basically the same thing in every level: shoot all the enemies. This might be the last time I buy a movie tie-in game, after playing through the awful The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game. There goes $60 that I'll never see again!
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence
Too much consumerism

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