Published on November 16th, 2020 | by John Werner
Transformers: Battlegrounds Xbox Review
Summary: Take charge of the mighty Autobots and stop the evil Megatron from getting his hands on the Allspark.
Take charge of the mighty Autobots and stop the evil Megatron from getting his hands on the Allspark in the turn-based strategy game “Transformers: Battlegrounds”. You’ll command a squad of your favorite Autobot characters including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Grimlock as you guide them across Earth and beyond in this exciting adventure. Transformers fans of all ages will love this game and the wide range of iconic characters that appear along the way.
In a desperate plea to stop Megatron from getting hold of a powerful Cybertonian artifact called the Allspark, Optimus Prime has traveled to Earth in order to keep it out of the Decepticon’s hands. With the rest of the Autobot forces scattered across Earth as they fight off the Decepticon’s advance, it is up to the player to help Bumblebee regroup with the others as you take on the role of the team’s navigator and tactician. Using simple turn-based gameplay mechanics, “Transformers: Battlegrounds” gives players full control over a three-bot team as they fight to save the universe. The simple and easy to use turn-based system has been designed so that players of all ages and skill level can quite easily play the game without needing any prior experience in playing games of this genre.
During the player’s turn, each Autobot is given three action points that are spent when moving and attacking. All Autobots come with three different abilities: a basic attack, a unique special ability that can be powered up to do more damage or add additional effects, and an ultimate ability. Performing actions such as moving and attacking costs one to three action points depending on how far or what ability is used. Each Autobot can move and attack in any order until all of their action points have been consumed but can only attack one per turn. Furthermore, players can switch between their team members, moving and attacking in any order they see fit. This allows players to create clever combo attacks by utilizing the different abilities of each Autobot and quickly overturn the tide of battle. One of my favored tactics is to use abilities that push and knock back the enemy Decepticons into each other, then finish them off with a devastating AOE attack before using my unspent action points to move my team back into cover.
Spending action points is completely optional and can be quite beneficial in some strategies. All Autobots have an ultimate ability that can also be used once per turn but require players to fill an ultimate meter before it can be used. Unlike the action points that are unique to each character, the ultimate meter is shared between all Autobots as a communal resource. Using an Autobots action points will increase the meter but not spending points will contribute a higher amount. Once the meter is either 50% or 100% full, players can execute a powerful ultimate ability in addition to moving and attacking. Each Autobot can only use their ultimate ability once per turn but if there is enough energy in the ultimate meter then multiple Autobots can proceed to use their ultimate’s as well. Combining ultimate abilities with moving and attacking requires a bit of forward planning but if done correctly can do more damage than the rest of the team put together. Even though “Transformers: Battlegrounds” is aimed at a younger audience, older players will find the strategic elements of this game quite enjoyable.
“Transformers: Battlegrounds” doesn’t offer the largest cast of Autobots with only 6 iconic characters to choose from. However, the line-up of iconic Decepticons that appear during missions adds plenty of variety, ensuring players that they’re not just going up against the same low-level goons over and over again. As expected, the more popular characters such as Megatron, Starscreem, and Shockwave take lead roles within the storyline. But Transformers fans, like myself, will get quite excited seeing other lesser-known Decepticons like Acid Storm and Offroad join the battle and also be given speaking roles during cut scenes. The only issue is that “Transformers: Battlegrounds” is based on the Transformers: Cyberverse cartoon series and as such, not all characters (both Autobot and Decepticon) are not 100% true to G1 counterparts.
Regardless of if you are a Transformers fan or not, players are going to love the compelling storyline and the different locations that serve as the battlefield. The Battlegrounds campaign sees players battle it out across several unique locations, each with their own distinct elements that enhance gameplay. Without giving too much away, missions that take place in the city offer narrow roads, plenty of cover, and cars that explode when shot, as opposed to the forest what has wide open spaces that twist around mountains. Players will need to adapt and develop new strategies to help their team complete the mission as the campaign and challenges become more difficult. Completing missions rewards players with Energon that can be spent on new abilities for their team. They can then be selected prior to starting the next mission. This allows players to setup their three-bot team with skills that compliment each other and suit the players own playstyle.
“Transformers: Battlegrounds” is a brilliant and beautiful turn-based strategy game suitable for the whole family, especially those who are already Transformers fans. Even with its simple design, the developer has still put quite a lot of effort into making the animations and graphics run smoothly regardless of which Xbox console you’re playing on or its resolution. Game difficulty is very much on the easier end of the spectrum as the hardest setting would be the equivalent of normal or easy for more experienced players. “Transformers: Battlegrounds” will give gamers hours’ worth of fun thanks to its enormous amount of replay value in the form of solo and two-player mini-games such as capture the flag and elimination. I strongly recommend “Transformers: Battlegrounds” to anyone who is either a Transformers fan or who are looking for a challenging game for young kids.