Transformers is a brand born in 1984 produced by the American Hasbro and from the Japanese Takara Tomy. Born as a simple line of toys focused on extraterrestrial robotic life forms able to take the form of various vehicles and animals, with the passage of time the brand gained more and more popularity, first with various animated series and later with the (questionable) films directed by Michael Bay. Meanwhile, the franchise has increasingly expanded through numerous media including the comics and also Games, among which we remember the never too praised Transformers of 2004 developed by Atari Melbourne House. Of video games dedicated to Transformers we have seen over twenty and of various kinds, but never before have the robots designed by Hasbro been declined in the form of video games turn-based strategy. This is the case with Transformers: Battlegrounds, title developed by Coatsink which comes out five years after the last game dedicated to the famous robotic aliens, or Transformers: Devastation by PlatinumGames. Will the world of Transformers be able to adapt to this specific videogame genre?
More Than Meets the Eye (?)
The first impact with Transformers: Battlegrounds it is certainly not the best from a purely aesthetic point of view. Although, as previously mentioned, the title is a turn-based strategic one, when we talk about the Transformers we would expect to perceive the grandeur of these aliens, which however does not happen. The various characters in the game are in fact polygonal models of the corresponding versions of the animated series Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy low resolution and free of any kind of graphic detail. The same fate also touches the settings, a lot of bare with numerous repeated assets. Transformers: Battlegrounds doesn't hide the fact that there isn't a huge budget behind the development, but the fact that it is a turn-based strategy shouldn't be an excuse, as a certain XCOM 2 arrived in stores four years ago. to the rather bare polygonal models, to be quite disappointing consequently are also the animations, woody and repetitive.
If on a technical level the title shows the side several times, also due to an inexplicably dancing frame rate given the paucity of polygons on the screen, from the gameplay side the title tries to recover and in part succeeds in this objective. In fact, Transformers: Battlegrounds does not stray too far from the familiar rules and mechanics established by other series of tactics such as the aforementioned XCOM or Fire Emblem, and from this point of view the title works optimally.
During the adventure, divided into four acts, we will have the opportunity to command six of the most famous Autobot, or Bumblebee, Arcee, Windblade, Wheeljack, Grimlock and obviously him, Optimus Prime. Each character belongs to one of the three classes that determine their abilities on the battlefield, that is Scout, Brawler e Support. The combat system is based on skill points which determine how many squares each Autobot can move and which skills they can use during the fight. Each turn each Autobot will start with three skill points, the farther you go, the more points are consumed, the more powerful the skill used, the greater the expenditure of points required. In addition, the bar will be filled with during the fighting Energon which will be used to perform a bonus attack spending half or all of the Energon collected. This bar will fill up by consuming skill points or by positioning yourself near the crates of Energon scattered around the game maps. As each Autobot has such a distinct range of abilities, it all comes together to create a particularly multifaceted combat system that becomes increasingly varied as you unlock new equippable abilities.
The clashes are definitely fun, but they are not very imaginative as regards the objectives, which will be limited to defeat all enemies, make your way to a designated area o simply survive a specific number of rounds. In addition to the lack of truly different objectives, what Transformers: Battlegrounds lacks is a truly adequate level of challenge. As far as they can be selected three difficulty levels the campaign is extremely simple to be mastered without any substantial challenge even by choosing the higher difficulty settings. In fact, playing at the maximum, the gameplay will not require a particular skill, and apart from a couple of missions, reaching the end of the adventure will be within everyone's reach, even those who are beginners in this genre.
Robots in disguise
Transformers: Battlegrounds it is indeed an incredibly accessible and intuitive game to which any player can easily approach: this on the one hand is a positive factor for those who have never approached turn-based strategists, but on the other hand it could prove to be an element that could easily bore veterans. From this point of view it certainly does not help replayability, which results almost nothing. Apart from the aforementioned skills, which can be purchased from the shop Wheeljack's Lab present in the main menu, it will not be possible to customize the various Autobots in any way. No skins, no accessories, nothing. Once the experience is over, which will last just six hours in total, you will uninstall the title without putting in hand again.
To compensate, in part, this lack of content is there Arcade mode which will allow you to play cooperatively with a friend. This co-op mode includes various modes such as Capture the Flag, Decepticon Grudge Match (which will put us in the shoes of enemies, which is not possible in the single-player campaign), Energon Capture, Last Stand, Destruction e Cube. It goes without saying that this co-op mode only makes sense if you have someone you can play with and who appreciates both Transformers and turn-based strategy.
In conclusion, Transformers: Battlegrounds appears as a title without too many pretensions, indicated exclusively to fans of Hasbro-branded robots and newbies to the genre. For everyone else it could prove to be a bite-free experience, which takes for granted various recurring elements of the narrative universe of the Transformers (the plot begins in medias res without giving too many explanations) and that does not offer any kind of challenge. The dubbing, both in original language in that Spanish (the title has indeed had a good adaptation in our language), while I am music tracks are easily forgotten, which run quietly during the clashes. A well packaged product but which, unfortunately, it never manages to exceed a certain limit.