Publisher: Activision Inc.
Developer: Traveller's Tales
N Amer - 06/26/2007
Transformers: The Game Review
Back in the 80’s I was a huge fan of the Transformers animated series for a few years. I watched the television shows whenever they were on, had several of the action figures and proudly went to the theater to see the movie. After the movie was released I thought the television series went in the toilet and my interest in the Transformers became a fading memory. Just because my interest faded that didn’t stop the Transformers from evolving and growing over the years. New action figures and new shows kept the Transformers name alive. Now the Transformers are getting another chance at the big screen, this time as a big budget live-action movie. Along with the movie we get the official game crossover available for all major platforms including the Wii.
The first item that really caught my attention in the game wasn’t the Wii controls, the plot centering upon the retrieval of the AllSpark by the Autobots or Decepticons, or the impressive visuals. Nope, none of that really caught me attention. The gameplay is what made me take notice of the game since I couldn’t believe I was playing another Grand Theft Auto (GTA)-inspired game. The driving segments, the design of the map and the mission structure all scream GTA. At this point I am close to being fed up with playing GTA clones. Honestly I would have never imagined playing a GTA game with Transformers. But I guess that’s why I don’t work in the marketing and development department for a game publisher.
The game lets you play as either the Autobots or the Decepticons, with the storyline for each faction being similar but the gameplay being slightly different. The Autobot portion of the game centers upon the mission based aspects where you travel from point A to point B to protect other characters in the game, avoid getting captured by the authorities and to destroy various Decepticons. The Decepticon missions focus upon what I thought the game was originally going to be about: destruction. Instead of worrying about causing damage to buildings as an Autobot, the Decepticon portion is probably the best part of the game due to the sheer destruction you get to unleash. Almost everything in the game world can be destroyed which makes for a fun playground of crumbled buildings, flatten cars and smashed robots.
One endlessly frustrating portion of the game was the action zone limits of the game. When you start fighting other Transformers in the game you have to stay within a certain boundary during combat. If you go outside of the boundary, the game will slowly start to countdown to zero. If you fail to make it back within the boundary limits then you will fail the mission. This wouldn’t be a big problem if the controls made it easier to stay inside the boundaries. During combat I would always find my Transformers flying away, outside of the boundary after getting hit. It didn’t help that the boundary was always in a state of flux since the character you’re chasing after or in combat with was always moving around. Another point of frustration with the boundaries has to do with the destructible environments. It never seemed to fail that I would always run into the one tree in the city that could withstand the impact of a multi-ton Transformer.
The Wii controls are probably what most of you would expect from a Wii game. The game requires the use of the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to control all functions of your transformer. Both the Remote and the Nunchuk can be used to perform attacks with a quick swiping motion. The Remote does have a primary and secondary fire attack assigned to the A and B buttons. The controls might sound easy enough but there a few quirks that become issues during combat.
The camera angle never seems to be in the right place at the right time, which is a big problem during combat. Correcting the camera angle requires pressing the minus button on the remote. It would have been nice to have the camera adjustment assigned to a major button such as the C or Z button the Nunchuk. Another issue with the controls are the jump and transform options which are assigned to the control pad. Pressing down on the control pad performs a jump while pressing up transforms you to/from vehicle or robot. During the heat of combat I found my robot jumping or transforming at precisely the wrong moment. No, there isn’t an option in the game to adjust the controls.
Anyone looking for a true Transformers game will only be disappointed with this game. I’m sure die-hard Transformer loyalists are probably losing their minds because of the redesign of the robots and gaming freaks could lose their minds because of the GTA influences. The redundant gameplay never really gets going except for when you’re playing as a Decepticon. Even then the gameplay gets repetitive after just a few levels. Transformers: The Game for the Wii offers just another sub-standard movie to console port that has a few good moments but enough lacking moments to keep the entire game down.
|Review Scoring Details for Transformers: The Game|
Besides the GTA similarities the gameplay revolves around making it through various missions to battle a boss. The boss battles are another frustration since you can never actually hurt the boss at first. You have to throw something at the boss several times before the boss is weak enough so you can attack it. The boss battles, along with the out-of-bounds elements of the action zones and repetitive GTA-style missions, keeps the Transformers stuck in a rut.
The visuals in the game are the one shining star due to the detail of the robots and destructible environments. Even on the Wii seeing your Transformer destroy an entire city can be a thing of beauty.
The music and sound effects in the game did a good job of setting the tone of the game. All of the music reminded me of orchestrated tracks from a major motion picture but I cannot confirm if these are the same tracks in the movie. The voice -over work was great as well with actors from the new movie and from the original 80’s series providing their voices.
Once again, why did my Transformers get mixed together with GTA? What’s going to happen when someone decides to make a Star Wars Transformers game?
The hardest part of the game is getting used to action zones and the controls during boss battles. If you can manage to figure these out (or at least make due) then you shouldn’t have any problems with the game.
If you’re not expecting a blockbuster hit of a game then you won’t be disappointed with Transformers. If you want a game that will become an instant classic then Transformers: The Game is not the game for you.
You’ve gotten Grand Theft Auto in my Transformers Game! No you put Transformers in my Grand Theft Auto game!
Review Date: 07/03/2007