Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark - Xbox One

Release Date:

June 24, 2014

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark finds gamers switching between worlds and factions on the hunt for an ancient relic. The single-player campaign offers more than 40 playable Autobots and Decepticons, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, and Starscream, and finds players engaging in a mix of fast-paced run-and-gun action and large-scale vehicular combat on open battlefields. Rise of the Dark Spark also offers multiplayer modes, including the return of Escalation mode, in which up to four players join forces to battles waves of enemies in online co-op action.

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  • Developer(s):
    • Edge of Reality
  • Publisher(s):
    • Activision
  • Release Date(s):
    • June 24, 2014
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Teen
  • Player(s):
    • 1
  • Online Player(s):
    • 2-4 (Xbox Live)
  • Online Play:
    • Optional
  • Series:
    • Transformers
  • Add-Ons:
    • Available

Technical Information

  • Required Disc Space:
    • 11.19GB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Sound Engine:
    • DTS Digital Surround
    • Dolby Digital
  • Engine:
    • Havok
  • Game Format:
    • Blu-ray Disc
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 19 Hours
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Xbox One


There are few entertainment properties in the world as beloved as the 'Transformers' franchise. The movies that Michael Bay directs are always guaranteed a massive profit, regardless of their quality. To this point it has been an entirely different story in regards to the video game world of the same franchise. Developers Edge of Reality decided to try and change that notion with their title, 'Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark' for the Xbox One. The game released to generally lukewarm reviews but we are big fans of the franchise, so we gave it a more in depth look. Keep on reading to see if you'll feel like getting Megatron to destroy the game after you play!

Transformer fans only need apply.

'Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark' promised to give gamers a unique and engaging storyline that threaded the needle between several different 'universes'. The guys at Edge of Reality wanted to blend the world of the video games with the canon of the movie franchise. This meant that we could expect to see a ton of set pieces from the upcoming film, 'Age of Extinction'. Now we know the 'Transformer' movies are ultra popular, but it has never been for the storyline. The focus has always been on the action and explosions on screen. So we were a little bit worried with this new promise, because we feared that it would deviate from why the franchise works so well. We were rightfully afraid, as it turns out.

So what's this all about?

As we mentioned above 'Rise of the Dark Spark' blends the film series and the video game series into one sort of cohesive experience. The game is about a McCuffin (artifact) by the name of the Dark Spark. This is a powerful device that can rip holes into different dimensions. This is obviously the story device that brings our film canon into the video game. As you play you will notice how the game starts to diverge from where the films previously established themselves.

To be more specific, 'Rise of the Dark Spark' begins with the Autobots reaching a mysterious crash site on Earth. Optimus Prime finds the ancient Dark Spark, which turns out to be a relic from Cybertron. He immediately realizes its importance and wants to keep it safe when Lockdown, a bounty hunter that is killed in the film, steals it. Lockdown manages to escape. We then jump ship to a different storyline, in an alternate universe, featuring the same characters.

Now we are on Cybertron and we get treated to the 'War For Cybertron' continuity. Megatron is there and this time he is purposely looking for the Dark Spark. He sends out his best men, Soudnwave, Starscream, and Shockwave in order to wipe out all of the Autobots. That's right, you get to play as the bad guys during this portion of the game. It is an interesting mechanic that sometimes feels awesome but at other times makes you feel really disjointed.

Eventually the two universe come crashing together and things become more clear, sort of. But anyway, the bulk of the storyline is spent jumping back and forth between the two teams. It is an interesting concept that gives you a look from the other side of the fence. It doesn't always work, though.

What we wanted out of 'Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark' when we popped it in our console was a game that gave us action and adventure. We like the storyline in the way that we like rice, we appreciate that it is there but we don't really taste it. So how does the mayhem work out?

So how does the combat handle?

Fighting in 'Dark Spark' is mostly a fluid affair. You control a ton of the different Decepticons and Autobots throughout the game and each one of them is armed with their own specialty. You'll run through different rapid firing weapons, swords, and laser guns during your fights. The gunplay feels pretty tight but it never feels as satisfying as you want it to be. The fighting ends up becoming a sort of 'point and shoot' affair while you await your enemy to run out of health.

There are transformations in this game and it would be abysmal if there weren't. The problem is that the actual transformed robots do you no real good. You would think transforming into a fast car would turn into a pretty fun gameplay mechanic. It isn't. The vehicle version of our Transformers in 'Dark Spark' feels clunky and hard to control. You'll feel like you are driving a boat with only one hand on the wheel. Turns aren't sharp and it is hard to maneuver yourself well in space. This makes the feature almost functionally useless.

How does it all look?

Much like Michael Bay's movies, we are willing to forgive plot digressions if the package looks pretty awesome. Fortunately for us, 'Rise of the Dark Spark' is one glorious looking game. As far as Next Gen consoles go, this title remains competitive. The game focuses more on a gritty/grounded look for the different bots and there can be some trouble telling them apart at times. Once you get used to them you won't have that issue, though.

The robots and scenery are all textured really nice and we enjoyed the way the colors popped off of our screen. We loved when Grimlock would spout out his fire and seeing the spectacle of a giant explosion in HD, while our Transformers fought in hectic battles, was always entertaining. While the environments can get repetitive, especially on Cybertron, the open world areas look pretty awesome.

What's the final verdict?

For fans of the 'Transformer' series this game will likely fill them with glee. There are tons of canon nods to long time fans and the inclusion of this many different 'bots is pretty spectacular. Hearing the voice actors for Megatron and Optimus are also wonderful, seeing as they are the original guys. For non fans of the series this game will blend into noise and explosions, making it an easy game to pass up on.

Submitted by Cheat Title Rating
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Jun 29, 2014

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Release Date:

June 24, 2014

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