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Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - Mike Wil­cox Email mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK RRP: $ 89 ( re­viewed on PlayS­ta­tion 4)

WHETHER you’re a fan of the Transformers fran­chise or not, you have to ad­mit these shape- shift­ing ro­bots have built quite an em­pire from their hum­ble be­gin­ning as chil­dren’s toys in the 1980s.

Right on cue, to co­in­cide with the re­lease of the lat­est Hol­ly­wood block­buster, comes an in­ter­ac­tive coun­ter­part for gamers.

Dark Spark is the third in­stal­ment in the on­go­ing bat­tle for Cybertron se­ries, set in time be­fore the events in the pre­vi­ous video game, Fall of Cybertron, and it also touches loosely on the lat­est fi lm’s plot.

The story cen­tres around a Cy­bertro­n­ian relic – the Dark Spark, which of­fers its owner con­trol over the uni­verse, and nat­u­rally both the Au­to­bots and the De­cep­ti­cons are fi ght­ing over it.

The game’s main cam­paign spans 14 mis­sions, each tak­ing half an hour to com­plete. The main ac­tion com­prises mostly of run­ning and gun­ning as you clear the en­e­mies and ob­sta­cles of each level, al­though be­ing able to trans­form from ro­bot into ve­hi­cle with the press of a but­ton re­mains one of the main draw­cards.

I don’t know if the game de­signer did it in­ten­tion­ally, but most ro­bots are slug­gish and dull to con­trol in com­par­i­son to the ve­hi­cles and fl ying ma­chines they morph into.

Out­side the short cam­paign mode, there is a sur­pris­ingly fun es­ca­la­tion style on­line mode. Here a team of four play­ers band to­gether to pit their skills against en­su­ing waves of pro­gres­sively tougher com­puter- con­trolled en­e­mies in a bid to hold their ground and stay alive. Un­for­tu­nately, mul­ti­player op­tions stop there, as there are no other modes.

While the ro­bots them­selves are a vis­ual treat, es­pe­cially as they shift shape in high defi ni­tion, the game’s bland back­ground en­vi­ron­ments and lev­els lack the same care and de­tail. With the ex­tra power of the lat­est games con­sole, there is no ex­cuse these days for medi­ocre vi­su­als.

Un­for­tu­nately, Dark Spark does what so many movie tie- in games be­fore it have done, which is lit­tle more than tick the ba­sic boxes.

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