Transformers the Game ReviewCain Dornan
Im willing to be that youve already scrolled to the bottom of the page to see the games overall score. Chances are, youre not really surprised with the score that it has received: it is, after all, a movie-to-game adaptation that sports big licenses and a presumably rushed development cycle. As gamers, were all too aware of how developers and publishers alike love to use these big-name licenses to squeeze out releases that fail to impress on any front, yet still manage to top the sales charts weeks after they hit retailer shelves. As with anything, if youre boasting a name branded across your product that can be associated with something else of quality, youve got yourself a winner, regardless of how great or in this case, disappointing the product itself maybe.
Transformers: The Game has turned out to be yet another run-of-the-mill licensed game to hit retailers. It has the uninspired, repetitive gameplay. It has the bland storyline that fails to engage the player in any shape or form. And it has the disappointingly short single player campaign that can be completed far too quickly. On the up side, however, the game does offer some solid graphics particularly in the Xbox 360 version which offers some detailed, partially destructible environments and robotic character models that gleam with precision detail and great animation.
Basically, while Transformers: The Game doesnt exactly play well, it does look good. Not the hardware-pushing Gears of War good. But decent; there arent many blurry-textured models, clipping frame rates or awkward animations to be found here.
Choosing to ditch online play completely, which we consider to be a good move considering that it would have likely been a tacked-on afterthought that offered no gameplay life, the game attempts to serve up an engaging single player affair that allows you to play through two separate campaigns, although we admit both are very similar in structure and the missions offered. You can choose to play as either the Autobots or the Decepticons, each with their own campaign, as you set out to retrieve a precious item that holds the lifeforce of all robots. If you play as the Autobots, your aim is to locate it and prevent the Decepticons from gaining control of it. Adversely, playing as the Decepticons will see you also fighting to gain control of this illusive object, all the while defeating the Autobots and causing utter chaos and destruction as you smash and crash your way through the various environments.
Neither campaigns are too long, with missions in both campaigns very similar to each other. Youll proceed through a small variety of environments, moving from point to point and fighting robots from the opposing side in generic battles that involve little more than mashing the attack buttons. Some variation is introduced as you play as various transformers throughout the game, each equipped with different weapons, moves and vehicles that they transform into, allowing for some interesting gameplay for fans of the classic cartoon series or the movie. Youll also encounter the odd opponent who requires you to do something different in order to attack, such as throwing an object to halt a spinning rope from tearing you apart when you try to attack.
The lack of variation in many of the games missions is disappointing, as youll spend most of the time moving from one spot to another, hunting down an enemy and then partaking in a fight sequence that either involves fighting a single opponent, or mowing through a horde of oncoming enemies. There is the occasional mission that does offer some needed variation, such as going on a rampage as a Decepticon transformer through a city, smashing through buildings to locate a fallen comrade. However, this also involves gameplay conventions that are present in almost every other mission in the game.
Add to the lack of gameplay variation a storyline that fails to engage on any level. While it is based loosely off the occurrences found in the movie, it doesnt follow it too closely, allowing the game to be played without any key spoilers of the movie being revealed. Unfortunately, the weak storyline and dull campaign progression fails to cover for the uninspired gameplay. A disappointment given the great past stories we were treated to in the cartoon classics and the recent movie.
A key annoyance issue that plagues the game is the difficulty of being able to hear the instructions that are given to you. While the voice acting is solid, during missions its extremely difficult to hear what is being said over the loud bashing and crashing noises that fill the game. Voice work is presented far too quietly, with the games music and sound effects stifling out voice-overs whilst in-game. With no option available to alter sound effects, music or voice volumes, this causes a real pain and annoyance when youre unable to hear what your next instruction is.
As mentioned earlier, the game serves up some solid visuals that look and flow well. While some of the character models of less-important people, such as citizens and vehicles that roam city streets, as well as some objects that scatter the street, look fairly ordinary whilst in-game, the games overall visuals are quite solid. The transformers themselves offer solid detail and fluent animation as they smash and crash their way through partially-destructible environments that fall to pieces and explode beautifully. Transforming between a robot and your vehicle is smooth and well animated, with no delay in changing between either forms. While some of the scenery can get a bit overused between areas, most of the games locations look solid.
Dedicated fans of the Transformers world may find plenty to appreciate as they control some of their favorite transformers, but most gamers will tire of this typical movie-to-game adaptation quickly. Theres no engaging storyline to be had, and the gameplay is far too repetitive to play through both campaigns completely, despite them being rather short. All that proves to be decent is the games visuals, although, they arent stunning enough to cover some the games countless shortcomings. Worth a rent if it sparks your interest, otherwise wait until this one hits the discount bin.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.