Transformers: Autobots Review
Transformers: Autobots casts you in the role of a newbie Transformer sent to Earth to aid the Autobots quest to find the Allspark before the Decepticons can get their robotic hands on it. If none of that makes any sense to you, then neither will much of the game as it pretty much assumes you are a Transformers fan. Not that you need to know much about the story to play the game - after all, do you really need to understand the motivation behind giant robot battles? However, once you spend some time with the game you may find yourself questioning your motivation to play it through to the end.
Transformers: Autobots takes a Grand Theft Auto-esque approach to gameplay. Your transformer is free to roam open environments filled with streets, buildings, and traffic going about its business of going from one place to another. You're free to roam around and explore, but if you do so in your robot form you'll find that the local police are inclined to shoot first and ask questions later. The game also borrows GTA's heat concept, so the more you run around as a robot and bash other robots, the higher your heat and the more police you'll face. You can lay low as a car for a while to bring your heat down, although it seems that your heat level is scripted in at least a few of your missions.
Open-ended gameplay is a wonderful thing as long as there's plenty for you to do outside of the missions. This is not the case with Transformers: Autobots in which all of the action pretty much takes place in the story and optional missions, and it doesn't help that these missions are pretty repetitive. You can roam around looking for Decepticon drones to fight or to find new vehicles to scan into your database, but there's not a lot of content outside of the missions. Sightseeing isn't much fun either, as the city is created on a DS and therefore features a lot of repeated buildings in a rather sparse environment.
Transformers: Autobots would still be fairly fun in spite of these shortcomings if it weren't for the game's camera and broken target locking. During battles the camera seems to prefer to give you a frontal view of your Transformer which doesn't really work all that well for combat. How can you hit what you can't even see? Even when the camera's cooperating with you the target lock probably isn't. It loses its lock all of the time, including when you're pumping a steady stream of bullets into a nearby target. More often that not, you'll die simply because the computer-controlled attackers hit you with deadly accuracy while you were stuck trying to get your aiming reticule to stay on target.
Transformers: Autobots does have a few things going for it. All of the voicework is well done and includes members of the original cast reprising their roles to lend authenticity to the game. I also like the fact that jumping Transformers crack the pavement when they land. The coolest thing the game has going for it, though is its online component. The deathmatch play isn't anything all that exciting, but there is also a mode in which you compete against everyone who bought the Decepticons version of the game. Each week you can download a special bonus mission, play it on your own, and then upload your score. The scores from everyone that played the game that week are tallied and the winning side is given possession of the Allspark. You'll be awarded with special tokens that can be used to unlock game content. This mode more than anything else has the best chance of keeping you playing Transformers: Autobots beyond the first day.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 64%. Apparently the life of giant robot is pretty repetitive.