Publisher: Activision Inc.
Developer: Traveller's Tales
N Amer - 06/26/2007
Transformers: The Game Review
Being an 80’s child, Transformers (along with Thundercats, He-man, and Ninja Turtles) holds a very special place in my heart. Needless to say, I kept my ear to the ground once I discovered that the robots in disguise were going to get their own live-action movie. Yes, I was initially disturbed when I discovered that Michael Bay would be helming the project (ugh) and I was heart-broken at the omission of Soundwave (the best Decepticon EVER), but I developed a newfound hope for the project after seeing some promising trailers, experiencing a renewed vigor that the movie could actually kick some ass. I had the same hope for the game based on the movie.
Unfortunately, Transformers: The Game didn’t deliver the way I wanted it to. In fact, I can only hope that it doesn’t foreshadow what’s to be expected from the film. The mission structure is uninteresting, the controls are frustrating, and the overall presentation is rushed and unpolished, an unfortunate pitfall of many licensed games. Even if you’re a fan of Transformers or if you catch the upcoming movie and love it, you might want to steer clear of Transformers: The Game.
Transformers: The Game starts you out by selecting between the Autobots or the Decepticons, who mean to protect the earth and humanity or destroy it, respectively. You can play as a couple different Transformers through each campaign, with Bumblebee, Jazz, and Optimus Prime lining out the Autobots and Blackout, Starscream, and Megatron hitting the field for the Decepticons. Either campaign feels pretty different from the other, especially considering that both Bumblebee and Jazz are ground vehicles while Blackout and Starscream take it to the skies.
Taking that into account, the game’s vehicular controls are both a hit and a miss. The ground vehicles on the Autobot side are a chore, not handling very intuitively and just being a general pain. They handle quite poorly with floaty physics and weird steering, and don’t react to collisions that realistically at all. Hitting a tree will do the same thing as hitting a car, bouncing it into the air. You can plow through many objects in the environment, and they’ll all do the same thing. Being airborne, the Decepticon vehicles handle a bit better, but still not as well as you’d hope.
The mission structure is very boring. Basically, if you’re an Autobot, then your goal is to destroy the Decepticons, and if you’re a Decepticon, then your goal is to destroy everything. To get around you simply get to the green reticule and get into a brawl. There’s not a whole lot of variety to the missions leaving either campaign, Autobot or Decepticon, feeling pretty uninspired.
The graphics are another area in which the game is a mixed bag. The character models look pretty detailed, the transformations look cool and the environments are very destructible, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately it’s the little things that bring Transformers down and glare its lack of polish. Shadows will flicker in and out of existence, the framerate stutters often, and pop-up is very prevalent. Also, the color scheme seems very dark and murky for some reason.
Another thing that shows a lack of polish in the game’s presentation is the way that pedestrians are handled. Whereas the environment can be completely and utterly decimated, including any vehicle that you find on the street, pedestrians won’t take damage from your reckless driving whatsoever, instead being gently skirted to the side of your vehicle, regardless of how fast you may be driving. Granted, the game is going for a T for Teen rating, so it’s perfectly understandable that the powers that be would want to avoid something that shows the wanton destruction of human life. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the way that it’s presented in the game just plain looks goofy and unpolished. I almost think they’d be better off without any pedestrians at all.
The area where I did quite enjoy Transformers: The Game was the sound. The sound is quite crisp and clean with nice sounding explosions and a good score to keep the action moving along. However, the voices really take the cake, since it never gets old hearing Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) or Frank Welker (Megatron) doling out orders to your character, no matter how repetitive they can be about it.
Transformers: The Game is pretty disappointing. The tedious mission structure and general lack of polish are perhaps the most unfortunate shortcomings of the game, since they showcase all-too common failings of a licensed title.
|Review Scoring Details for Transformers: The Game|
Repetitive missions, weird collision physics and floaty controls line out this weak licensed game.
While the character models do look pretty good and the environments display a good degree of destructibility, the overall look is bogged down by lots of little things that show a lack of polish.
The score is pretty good and the sound effects are clean, but the great voice work make this one worth listening to, even if the dialogue gets a bit repetitive.
The mission design is very weak and the game has a lack of polish overall, making it apparent that this one was rushed out the door to make it in time for the film’s release.
Another rush-job that doesn’t live up to its license, Transformers: The Game will likely disappoint fans of the franchise. I can only hope that the movie doesn’t do the same.
If only it could transform into a better game.
Reviewer: Steven Hopper
Review Date: 06/27/2007