Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience.

Reviewed on: PC
Developer: Edge of Reality
Publisher: Activision
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki
Presentation 4/10 
In terms of movie tie-ins, Rise of the Dark Spark is serviceable if not under-performing visually.
Gameplay 4/10 
Rise of the Dark Spark does the seemingly impossible and makes all aspects of being a Transformer a complete bore. The combat is frustratingly redundant and predictable and the controls of the vehicle sections rival that of a poorly put together iOS game.
Lasting Appeal 6/10 
The campaign won't keep anyone but the most diehard Transformers hooked for very long at all but the online co-op mode Escalation is sure to keep some from trading it in too quick.
Overall 4/10 
Rise of the Dark Spark takes the two things it means to be a Transformer, being an awesome robot and turning into a cool vehicle, and manages to mess both of them up - badly.
CHEATfactor 7/10 

It seems like it would be pretty hard to mess up a Transformers game. All you really have to do is make it fun for me to blow stuff up as a robot while making it equally fun to change into an awesome vehicle. Rise of the Dark Spark, the new game that ties into both the current movies and the previous games from High Moon Studios fails to deliver on both of these, and it does so miserably. The combat is frustratingly difficult and the vehicle combat section controls rival that of a poorly made iOS game. With it's focus on the mythology of the new movies over the already established cannon, the game often feels like it's the victim of too many hands in the pot while still trying to please it's corporate overseer.

"...picks the worst possible times to switch focuses..."


Rise of the Dark Spark tells a pretty straight forward tale in what could be the absolute worst way possible. You see, it's pretty simple - the Decepticons want to find Dark Spark and the Autobots want to stop them, the problems arise though with just how the story is told. Unlike the previous Transformers games from High Moon Studios which featured separate Autobot and Decepticon campaigns, everything here is told at the same time and the game picks the worst possible times to switch focuses and there's literally no rhyme or reason to when it does so. One minute you're in control of the Decepticons and you're about to get the Dark Spark and then suddenly the game switches focuses to a random Autobot mission that seems to have almost nothing to do with what's happening anywhere else in the game. There are entire story beats that seem to disappear halfway through the game with little to no explanation too.

Edge of Reality also made the decision to abandon the fan favorite cannon that was established by High Noon's games and adopt the gritty style of Michael Bay's transformers movies over the updated cartoon look that worked so well before. This adds a number of problems, including that it's often hard to distinguish just who is on what side during most of the campaign (except if you're able to see the small insignia on each robot; spoiler: you won't be able to). It's also a bit confusing because there are still elements of the older costumes and cannon built in and it makes little to no sense being here given the tone of Edge of Reality's game. Of course, it makes sense that the studio wanted to capitalize on the box office power of the Transformers movies but it doesn't seem like they were able to commit to a single idea or focus and the game suffers as a result.

"...weapons in the game are unusually varied..."


Combat in Rise of the Dark Spark is clunky and repetitive, often to the levels of frustration. Most sections of the game require you to go in and eliminate all of your enemies before you can move on but it's difficult when thanks to the game's visuals, you're not sure exactly who you're supposed to be firing at. This is made all the worse by the fact that there's no radar alerting you to where the enemies you're supposed to shoot actually are, which sucks even more when piloting a flying transformer. It's also just not that satisfying to shoot your enemies since your attacks rarely have much weight to them at all, which is in stark contrast to the fact that the weapons in the game are unusually varied and can be a lot of fun to tinker with. The game even botches the actual transformation from robot to vehicle, the very idea that makes a Transformer a Transformer. Controlling the vehicles, especially cars and any flying vehicle is incredibly frustrating, almost to the level of an iOS game.

If Rise of the Dark Spark has one saving grace it can be found in the online co-op mode Escalation. The Horde like mode pits you and your buddies against a series of increasingly difficult enemies and also features a sense of urgency seemingly missing from the rest of the game. Like most games that feature a survival type mode like this, it's a lot of fun to blast through a ton of enemies and collect loot with your friends, it's still not a reason to pay $60 for the game, but it might be at a discounted price.

If you liked the Transformers games from High Moon Studios and were hoping that new developer Edge of Reality would take what worked and continue the franchise with Rise of the Dark Spark, you're bound to be disappointed. Not only is this a terrible movie tie-in, it's just a plain bad game. Rise of the Dark Spark takes thee two things it means to be a Transformer, being an awesome robot and turning into a cool vehicle and manages to mess both of them up - badly. It's frustratingly not fun and the campaign doesn't make any sense at all. If you still own those old High Moon Studios games go and play them, don't let this game sully your memory of them.

CHEATS USED: Unlimited Ammo / Health / Shield, Easy Level Up, Float Mode, more

Playing through Rise of the Dark Spark, I never really felt like I was playing as the high powered Transformers I remembered from the movies and cartoons, but thanks to the trainer from Cheat Happens, I eventually did.

You'll have access to cheats like unlimited health, shield and ammo as well as an easy way to level up and defeat some of the game's tougher difficulties. Strangely though, my favorite cheat was the float mode, which made the vehicle sections a lot easier.