Transformers: The Game
Michael Bay’s latest, the action movie Transformers based on the toy robots with the same name from the 90s, has divided the movie watching audience. Either you thought it was great or you thoiugh it sucked completely. There doesn’t seem to be a way in between – actually you could say the same for all of Michael Bay’s movies. I have to admit I’m part of the first category, but there can’t be any discussion about the game: it’s just plain bad.
Transformers: The Game is one of the many movie licensed games that manages to completely disappoint in just about any aspect. The story is quite similar to that of the movie: the heroic Autobots duke it out on Earth against their nemesis, the evil Megatron and his loyal minions, the Decepticons. At stake is the AllSpark, some gigantic cube with immense powers. I know, the clichés are all around but I can’t help that.
In its core, Transformers is a pure action game. Eithers as an Autobot or a Decepticon you get to kick and shoot everything that moves. And that’s where the biggest negative point of this game surfaces: the game is waaaaay too simplistic.
This is without a doubt the Paris Hilton amongst action games. There are only two attack buttons (for quick and hard attacks) and you’ll constantly be performing the same combos until all evil robots are lying down on the ground. As for the rest, you have two ranged attacks you’ll hardly ever use as they do almost no damage at all. Against bosses you’ll often have to throw something so they get stunned and you can start bashing them again with those same combos. There’s nothing more to it.
The fighting is constantly interluded by parts where you race in vehicle form -you are a transformer, after all- from checkpoint to checkpoint like a chicken without a head .
The road behaviour of the vehicles (OptimusPrime is an 18-wheeler, Bumblebee a Chevrolet Camaro) is horrible and you’ll take much wider curves than you’d like to. Controlling the flying Decepticons (Starscream and Blackout) is done with the Sixaxis. This is a nice addition, but nothing more.
As you can probably tell by now, Transformers: The Game won’t win any originality awards. You can also rule out any beauty prizes, as the game looks like a tuned-up PS2 title with little detail in the surroundings and special effects that could use some sprucing up.
Only the Transformers look somewhat decent, even though they never manage to get to the level that we should expect from a PS3 game, let alone they look like the CGI masterpieces from the movie. When there are many explosions at the same time (and trust me, that happens quite often), the framerate tends to throw the towel into the ring as well. The game does deserve some credit for its completely destructable and quite vast environments (which you explore freely in between missions).
For those of you who like to explore their surroundings, there are a ton of things to collect. Each level is filled with 100 little cubes, a couple of icons and some challenges.
Those who take the time to collect everything (count 20 minutes per level) can unlock all kinds of artwork, screenshots or movies. It’s not all that interesting, but the collecting does extend the game’s lifespan a bit. Those who only play the missions should know that they’ll finish both the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns in about five hours. If you want to unlock everything you can add 2 more hours to that.
We end with something about the presentation. The story is told in a pretty sloppy way by butt-ugly CGI cutscenes (which look even worse that the in-game graphics!)
that have a voice-over by the original actors (Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox,…). Unfortunately their acting is hardly worth listening to (sometimes too enthusiastic, sometimes as uninterested as the average city official). The score consists of wannabe-epic muzak and the explosions sound as spiceless as they look.
So if you’re searching for an incredibly boring and repetitive brawler, look no further. Transformers: The Game does justice to the dubious reputation of movie-licensed videogames. The gameplay is foolish, the presentation is a mess and the graphics could have used some more time in development. Avoid this one!