Transformers: The Game Review
Transformers may be more than meets the eye, but in the case of The Transformers game just meeting the eye would be a vast improvement. Yes, we've got another hurried summer movie adaptation game here, and the genre's reputation of delivering sub par games is in absolutely no danger from this robotic assault.
The game roughly follows the plot of the movie in that the Transformers are divided into two camps, the Autobots and the Decepticons, in a battle over the AllSpark. The AllSpark is a special relic that gives the Transformers their power, and the Autobots want to protect it from the Decepticons who have designs on using the power for evil. As it just so happens the AllSpark is on the robotless Earth, a mostly harmless planet run on monkey technology. Giant robots land on Earth and mayhem ensues.
The game comes with two campaigns, one for the Autobots and one for the Decepticons, and in a hallmark of lazy game design the evil campaign is far more exciting than the good. Not that I'm saying that the evil campaign is really all that exciting in the first place, mind you. The campaigns take place in a pseudo-open world environment that allows you to explore the area and trigger your next mission when you're ready for it. I call it a pseudo-open world because there's not really all that much to do outside of the missions. You can run around looking for hidden objects, but that's about it. If you're an Autobot you'll also face Decepticon drones that pop up from time to time, but the game's dull fighting system makes these battles tedious. As a Decepticon you're free and encouraged to be as destructive as possible which gives you more to do between missions than an Autobot. This all hardly qualifies as Grand Theft Autobot so you won't have any motivation to do much outside of moving from one mission to the next.
The missions in both campaigns are fairly similar with the exception of some of the Decepticon missions that have you engage in wanton destruction. There are a number of chase missions that put you under a time limit to destroy a given number of enemies, but you'll soon realize that the time limits were added in an attempt to make a simplistic game more challenging. Even the game maps themselves are used to make things more difficult for you, such as a city environment with streets that wind all over the place to make it difficult for you to navigate.
The game encourages you to transform out of your robot form by making you faster when transformed into a vehicle and by sending the police or military to shoot at you each time you decide to stroll around as a giant robot. Unfortunately Transformers are not very enjoyable to control as vehicles. Flying Transformers are locked into a set altitude, so you only have control over the direction in which you're flying. On the road Transformers handle very strangely - they knock other vehicles out of the way like they were made out of cardboard, but when they run into something they can go careening out of control. It's easy to get yourself thoroughly stuck somewhere to the point where it's a lot easier just to transform and walk back to the road. When you combine this poor handling with the time limits and poor road layouts you get some very frustrating chase missions that end in failure one attempt after another.
It would be easier to look past some of these issues if the battles were exciting, but unfortunately this game makes giant robot combat tedious. First of all, the game's target lock system is flat out broken, unable to maintain a lock for more than a couple of seconds. Secondly the camera has a perverse tendency to swing around in front to you when you're trying to close in on enemies. Next up we have the completely pointless gun, laser, and missile weapons - even if you could lock onto an enemy at range, enemy Transformers are just about always shielded which renders your weapons useless. This leaves you with only the brute force option, which involves running up to an enemy and hitting the attack button over and over again. Repetitive, simplistic, and not that much fun.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 55%. Only true diehard Transformers fans will be able to sit through this game, despite the fact that itís pretty short. Everyone else will simply wish that it could transform into a better game.