Prepare for Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, coming to Xbox One and 360 on June 24

Next week, the Xbox One will be getting a beautiful and brutal new game at retail: EA Sports UFC, which we learned much about during EA's E3 press conference. The week after that, we'll be seeing a release that's even more exciting for this child of the eighties – Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, and Sony and Nintendo consoles.

A game that crosses over the cool Cybertronian Transformers from the Fall of Cybertron game series with the Transformers movie universe would be exciting enough on its own. But today publisher Activision and developer Edge of Reality (makers of the great Incredible Hulk game in 2008) have sweetened the deal by revealing new preorder bonuses from GameStop and Amazon. We're talking about free characters, posters, and a digital comic. Read on for full game and preorder bonus details.

A crossing between worlds

As mentioned above, Rise of the Dark Spark continues the story continuity established in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron on Xbox 360 and other platforms. Those games are surprisingly good, especially the first one with its campaign co-op. The new game comes from a different developer. Hopefully Edge of Reality will turn out a product of similar quality despite a production schedule that was likely rushed to coincide with the new movie's impending release.

A powerful artifact called the Dark Spark has emerged, the opposite of the Autobots' Matrix of Leadership. The Dark Spark creates a bridge between realities, bringing together the game universe with that of the films. This should create some exciting situations for Transformers fans, with both the robotic world of Cybertron and Earth appearing in the same game for the first time. I'm certainly pumped to see the Combaticons (who take military-themed vehicle forms) and their combined form Bruticus appearing in the game.

Rise of the Dark Spark is a third-person shooter. Not only does the game offer more than 40 playable Transformers, but gamers can change between their robot and vehicle forms at will. Changing to a car will let you move through environments at a rapid pace, while flying vehicles provide much greater freedom of movement. The transformation mechanic and generally sharp shooting controls give the Transformers game series a solid and unique feel.

Multiplayer Escalation and progression

Transformers Rise of the Dark Spark

Although Rise of the Dark Spark sadly does not include campaign co-op, it does bring back the series' popular Escalation mode. Escalation is basically a cooperative horde or survival mode in which up to four online players must stand against increasingly deadly waves of enemies. New to Escalation are upgradable defense structures (not unlike those from Gears of War 3's awesome Horde mode) and Power Foes (bosses) that will shake things up considerably.

The game also brings a new-and-improved progression system. Experience earned in single-player and Escalation applies to the player's overall profile, just like in Modern Combat 5. That experience will unlock new characters, weapons, items, and abilities for use in both modes. That way, you're not missing out on anything should you stick to your preferred mode.

Preorder bonuses

Transformers Rise of the Dark Spark Xbox GameStop preorder bonus

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark launches on Tuesday, June 24 – right before the fourth Michael Bay movie's release on the 27th. Preorder it from GameStop and you'll get:

  • A FREE exclusive panoramic poster (limited quantity, while supplies last; in stores only)
  • Two free e-Movie Cash Tickets (up to a $20 value at participating theaters nationwide) for TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, in theaters June 27 (while supplies last; code on receipt expires 7/31/14.)
  • "Weathered Warrior Pack" DLC – containing two new Cybertronian jet characters (THUNDERCRACKER and SKYWARP) for use in Escalation mode and two new weapons (the Electro Bolter and Glass Gas Cannon) for use in Campaign and Escalation modes.

Preorder from Amazon to receive one FREE TRANSFORMERS digital comic book from IDW Publishing. Customers can choose from one of five selected comics and will be given it when the product ships.

Buy from Walmart and you'll get a DLC code for Stinger, a character who is a red car in the new movie and game instead of a green helicopter like in the original cartoons.

Although the GameStop bonuses are easily the best deal, feel free to help us out by preordering from our Amazon affiliate links instead.

  • Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – Xbox One – $59.99 – Amazon Link
  • Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark – Xbox 360 – $49.99 – Amazon Link
Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!