By Joseph Walter
Megatron begins to "Cyberform" Earth into planet capable of supporting Cybertronian life, effectively resurrecting the dying planet.
Some will argue that it's intentionally uninspired as an attempt to mimic the cartoon, but anyone who says that has clearly never watched the cartoon (again, see actual example above).
You explore a somewhat open world that's sparsely detailed aside from occasional traps and obstacles. Around this world are hidden treasure chests, collectibles, destructible items and other secrets.
Occasionally, the gameplay will change course from the constant combat and offer quick alternatives, such as a rail-shooter turret section. Some of these ideas work well, while others are head-scratching inclusions (I'm not sure what's gained at all by forcing a top down perspective while awkwardly carrying a Red Energon cube in a later sequence).
Past all the surface level content, there is a fairly satisfying loot system. From downed enemies, treasure chests, and good performance, you'll collect different kinds of swords, guns, fists, hammers and more. Some of these items will have status affects like freezing or burning, which adds a layer of strategy. More interestingly, you can "synthesize" new weapons by breaking down and combining the ones you own, significantly powering up your favorites (while also endowing them with status-affecting skills).
You're also given the ability to develop passive skills (called "T.E.C.H.") through a fun QTE that can greatly enhance your characters.
Controls are mostly responsive, but having the dodge and transform button being one-and-the-same was occasionally awkward. Another flaw is the precision aim system, which is either too happy to auto-aim, or too unresponsive and imprecise when being manipulated.
Bizarrely, it seems as if entire pieces of infrastructure were lifted directly from previous Platinum effort, "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance," including certain cutscenes being frame-by-frame replicas, along with the user interface, certain visual effects and color schemes.
Aside from multiple playthroughs on higher (or lower) difficulties, there are 50 challenge missions, which are typically intense, combat-centric affairs against overwhelming odds. There are unique rewards for completing them with different ranks on different difficulties, which can then add more fuel to your synthesizing fire.
There are also various collectibles that can be unlocked by shooting down Laserbeak or Buzzsaw, destroying Decepticon flags, gathering Cybertronian Logs and, most amusingly, capturing the illusive Kremzeek.