Gaming Today Reviews – Transformers: The Game (360, Wii, PS3)
Transformers: The Game (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, DS)
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Released: June 26, 2007
Pros: Production values are high; Great attention to detail with the Transformers models; Exploding environments.
Cons: Boring combat mechanics; Wacky camera system
Story: “Transformers: The Game” is predictably based on the recently released “Transformers: The Movie.” For those of us who have seen the movie, (Which is a fantastic movie by the way, you should really see it.) we have to wonder what exactly the developers of this game where thinking. The game ends up being sort of the “Cliff Notes” version of the movie, and it’s not like the movie’s plot is all that complicated to begin with.
Gameplay: At the start of the game, you get to choose between the Autobots and the Decepticons. While this mechanic sounds interesting, in practice the campaigns are almost identical. They both involve stomping your way through some various environments, blowing up buildings and smashing the controller’s buttons to dispatch the idiotic “jobber” transformers you come across. The game switches it up at times, letting you chase after a more significant enemy robot character in “vehicle” mode, the conclusion of which has you fighting them in the usual “mash the buttons till he dies” design.
The bright spot is how fun it is to just blow up buildings as a giant robot, but alas, this fun fades quickly. You get to play as most of the main characters in the film, such as Optimus Prime and Megatron. Unfortunately, other than the random vehicle sequences, there are very few game play differences between the various robots.
Controls: It’s basically a 3D action beat-um-up. You stomp around and do the same three hit melee combos over and over, with the slight exception being that some enemies need to be “stunned” to be damaged. (You stun enemies by throwing things at them) The vehicle sequences change the controls up a bit, but they just end up being not much fun.
The physics of the other cars on the road are sketchy at best, and your Transformer will seem to get stuck on various parts of the geometry. The controls overall just feel very loose, and it seems like just a few tweaks during development would have done wonders for the experience.
Graphics: As you would expect in an over-budgeted movie tie-in, the graphics in Transformers are great. The various Transformers have some really nifty combat animations, and the model detail is perfect. The various graphical effects really add to the experience, and the destruct-able buildings really do explode nicely. Less effective is the wonky camera system, which tends to cause much more harm than good. The camera has a “shaky-cam” effect that violently shakes your camera around during intense firefights. While this might sound good in theory, the effect basically makes it impossible to see anything during active battles.
Conclusion: Thoughts of Spiderman 3 come to mind. Another movie-tie in with great production values, but poor execution. I understand a studio’s need to push these games out in time for the movie’s release, but a few more months in development would have made all the difference here. Transformers: The Game is a solid renter, but don’t look into owning it unless you are a HUGE Transformers fan.