Publisher: Activision Inc.
Developer: Traveller's Tales
N Amer - 06/26/2007
Transformers: The Game Review
For seemingly generations the Autobots and Decepticons (the names alone should tell which side is “good” and which is “evil”) have been battling it out for control of the elusive Allspark – the treasure that powers the cybernetic creations and gives them “life.” Their home world destroyed, the races have ventured out into the galaxy to try to find where that missing Allspark has gone.
Guess what? It’s arrived on Earth and that means the two warring classes won’t be far behind.
This is the premise behind Transformers: The Game, a PlayStation 3 release that is published by Activision and ties in with the pending big-screen release. Running in glorious high-def resolution, Transformers is certainly a good-looking title. The problems lie in several areas, though. First, the game does not do much that is totally different from the mech class games in release. You can choose your form with the touch of a button and can transition effortlessly from stomping mechanically across a landscape to the form of a vehicle and either zoom about the roadways (or off-road, as the case may be) or – if in the form of an aircraft – take to the skies.
Some missions will require that you take on your vehicle form as you need to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
The game allows players to play from either side – the Autobots, which serve as protectors, or the Decepticons, which care little for Earth or humans and will do anything to gain possession of the Allspark. Either one will allow players to do a lot of damage to the environments, and even if you are an Autobot, a few puny humans may get smushed as you tear through the world.
Ok, a problem was encountered with the game, in terms of the environment. During an early mission, the task was to protect one of the central human characters. Two Decepticons had to be destroyed and then the Autobot had to get across town in a hurry. The target area was a green beacon on the other side of buildings. Traveling in car form, there appeared to be a ramp that would allow the Autobot to jump over a concrete barrier that ran between two buildings. Ok, the ramp was not hit dead on, and instead of clearing it, the Autobot landed between the barrier and a building, was wedged in and trapped. There was no way to free the machine. The time ran out, mission failed and back to the start of that particular mission thread.
The game does save automatically, so failing a mission well into the game will not force players back to the very beginning of the adventure.
The control scheme is simple to manage, with a tiny learning curve. The control sets come in a variety of forms – the standard set for robot and vehicle form, as well as advanced controls for Blackout (robot and helicopter forms), Starscream and Megatron (robot and jet forms). There are other controls that work in concert with the standard hot-button keystrokes. The left analog stick will allow your chosen character to roll out of the path of an attack. There are nitro boosts and you can jump up and climb buildings. The game also comes with a skill tracker – which track certain actions and then if you light up all the Transformer symbols in the tracker, you will unlock new skills.
The HUD has a targeting circle in the middle of the screen and when you manage to center it on an enemy you can lock the target for ranged attacks.
While the robots and vehicles are detailed, the world has a bit of a generic look – but that still fits the game. Unfortunately, though, there are times when the action builds up and the framerate seems to take a bit of a hit. But that is a rarity. The game usually clips along at a strong rate and looks great – especially the Transformers. This is a full-on three-dimensional world that breathes. The Transformers are obviously the stars of this show, and it is rather wonderful to see such a great treatment of them. The sound of the game is also done well.
The mission structures, though, border on the familiar. Destroy missions, or timed exercises abound here. That is a bit unfortunate. The game has a certain sense of excitement to it, a chance to see the Transformers the way they were intended. These are the granddaddies of the mech combat genre, the great cyber-robots that captured the imagination of generations of fans. They are given a great treatment; it would have been much better if the mission structure had treaded new ground. Still, as it stands, this is a solid and entertaining reflexive button-mashing combat title that will entertain mech fans as well as fans of the Transformers.
Review Scoring Details forTransformers: The Game
Easy to control and jump into, the game itself suffers from missions schemes that are not out of the ordinary. The missions are of the ‘been-there-done-that’ variety.
A few framerate stutters but the game does run in glorious high-def and the Transformers themselves look terrific. The action is bright, colorful and solid eye candy.
Some repetition in the way you are told what you should be doing, but generally the sound of this game is a solid adjunct to the graphics. The music is good and the sound effects are what is expected.
This is pretty much a button-masher that requires you to act fast, or you risk failing, particularly on the timed missions.
The story is serviceable, the characters are well done but the missions are familiar.
This was a tough one to rate. The game does some things very well – like the look of game – but takes the safe route in other areas. Still, after not having a good Transformers game for a while, this foray in the high-def next-gen console era is a solid outing that should please those who like the Transformers and like fast-paced reflexive games.
Transformers: The Game does a great graphical job but treads familiar mission territory
Reviewer: Michael Lafferty
Review Date: 06/26/2007