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Rail! Entertainment > Docs >

Transformers the Game, the Review

By Frosty - 08-26-07

Just a few quick words as a preface here…
I am not here to ‘hate’, just to review my experience with the game. I know there isn’t a perfect game, but things could definitely have been done differently. Honestly. I just have some ideas that could have put this game way over the top.

I bought this game as a fan of Transformers and owning a copy of the PS2 Transformers Armada game. This isn’t a horrific review, I did enjoy playing the game, just not as much as it was hyped up to be, not nearly as much. I have to say my opinion on replay is relatively low as I can barely muster the desire to try to get past the place I am currently stuck at in the game with only 20 percent of the gameplay complete. Try it, and I think you will agree. If I was going to give you a one sentence review of this game it would be something to the effect of: Be ready to spend most of your time looking at this screen saying ‘Chapter Failed’. You will see this screen at least 50 percent of your playing time if not more. If I had to sum up the game in a word, it would be ‘repetition’. 

The voices of Peter Cullen and Frank Welker were a fantastic touch of nostalgia. It took me back to the eighties when I watched Transformers as a kid.

Let me start by providing some info on the Armada game as a bit of a basis for comparison. I like the Armada game, but gameplay is difficult. The controls are tedious to manage as you have to control the camera and your character at the same time. Often boss battles can be tough as you have to control so much at the same time. The idea was awesome. Transforming into the vehicles and driving, then transforming back into robot mode and kicking some posterior is great. It took many hours of gameplay to ‘master’ the controls enough to complete the game. The graphics are pretty good, (keeping in mind I was raised with the original Atari and 8 bit Nintendo) Oldschoolin’. You find and can arm minicons that assist you with different abilities and weapons. Finding them can be tough and of the three playable Autobot characters, only some minicon combinations can be used. Certain characters can have more powerful minicons than others, but there are limitations to those characters as well. Overall the fans would enjoy the game, but it will take an inordinate amount of play time to get used to the controls.

I spent months reading the various reviews as they came out announcing the game and basically stating the possibilities that made this game an excellent choice to purchase. The concept was Grand Theft Auto meets Halo, or something of the sort. Fully destructible environment with a ‘free world’ feel to it. Not to mention cruising around the city as a robot picking up cars and trees and throwing them around. Being able to play as an Autobot or a Decepticon is also a bonus.

When the game for Transformers came out I was enthusiastic about getting it to say the least. I checked the Sunday ads and found the best deal for the game on the PS2 platform. I rushed right out and purchased it for $45.99 plus tax. I got my partner in crime at the time to ride shotgun out to the store. I raced through the construction ridden parking lot of the store, dodging oncoming traffic and self absorbed shoppers to get to the single entrance (the other was closed for this construction remodel. I speed walked through the store dodging sales associates and cashiers who were loitering around as if they were on strike just filling the aisles. For some reason they would walk three deep through the aisles together just talking about random stuff. I figure it is to anger the shoppers and deter them from getting where they are going. Who knows? I had to constantly dodge the people mulling through the items on sale, having discussions with five of their eight family members and fifteen other closest friends they brought with them to shop. (Not sure why that happens so often, and I think it’s a tad unnecessary. Just like the people who take this same group of eight family members and fifteen friends to stand around in the DMV while they wait to get their ID cards). *Note for the DMV crowd, IT’S CALLED ONLINE TRANSACTIONS, OR GO BY YOURSELF!!!! DAMN!!! Getting back on track. I was in a hurry to get the game so I was hauling as much ass as possible to get there, nearly being impaled on passing shopping carts with jousting rods in them and squeaking past people popping out of aisles unexpectedly. My partner in crime at the time took a slower route, I think my enthusiasm for the game was a bit much for him. Then came the wait in line as it took the cashier an hour to ring up a single item, then another 45 minutes for the customer to make paper, print out his own check, then another fifteen minutes while he signed his name. I got two words for that guy “CHECK CARD”. DAMN again. Feel my frustration yet? This is why folks shop ONLINE.

After the grueling drive home, I got the game loaded into the tray of my PS2, turned on the game and rushed right into playing it. The cut scenes gave away some of the movie details as the game came out a few weeks before the movie hit theaters. I was overjoyed at first just from the concept of the game overall. Then after a few hours of playing I came to some definite conclusions. I hate to admit it, but I felt like I wasted a lot of money and should have waited until the price dropped to about $19.00, or bought it used for even less. 

The graphics are actually good for this game. Fairly detailed environments and the transformations were enticing. The movie accuracy of the characters clearly took the designers and developers a lot of time and hard work. Controls in the robot mode are a bit clumsy to say the least. Trying to pick up a fallen light post to swing at an angry oncoming Decepticon that is handing my posterior to me was humorous at best. I kept kicking it away instead of actually picking it up. Driving in vehicle mode was all or nothing. When you ‘step on the gas’ you burn out and then you are gone. Often this makes you swerve about pretty wildly. I spend a lot of time playing driving games, they are my favorite, so I am pretty decent skill wise at driving, and even with my skills it was pretty tough to get used to this sliding around wildly. On the good side, there is a nitro option with good blur effect. The vehicle modes look good, and some vehicles actually handle more like you think they should. For example, Ironhide is a large GMC truck, and handles sluggishly as such.

Let’s get to the real stuff here, the meat and potatoes of it if you will, the ‘free world’ aspect. You can pretty much do what you want, except for the endless nagging of Optimus Prime’s voice telling you what you are ‘supposed’ to be doing, every so many minutes of roaming as you please. This happens even when you are playing as Prime, guess Prime talks to himself in this one. There are definite ‘borders’ to this ‘free world’, guess I am just spoiled by games like GTA San Andreas. You have to throw things at most of the enemies to actually damage or destroy them. Optimus Prime’s weapons don’t even dent most of the enemies, Melee attack is the order of the game so it seems. There are a lot of ‘mini games’ or ‘sub missions’ in the game, some are challenging and the concepts are fun. Overall I spent a lot of time feeling like it’s a vicious cycle. Rush to get to the bad guy, destroy him and rush on to another point to do the same again. The ‘destructible environment is more frail than destructible. Just going near the buildings makes them fall and catch fire. So many times things got destroyed when that wasn’t even close to the intention. You can plow through almost anything in your way vehicle wise. Buses, cars, trucks all just fly away from you when you come rushing through and hit them. Oddly enough though, the little things will bring you to a dead stop, fallen trees, light posts, buildings, curbs (you would think a semi could plow right up over a curb at top speed while using nitrous boost, but Nooo). 

Driving through tunnels to escape a bomb that will explode just a few seconds later, you can easily hit the wall, and if you do it’s ‘Chapter Failed’ screen time. The headlights of the vehicles appear to be ‘on’, but there isn’t any light shading and cruising through dark tunnels they aren’t the least help at all. There aren’t any weapons upgrades, so your weapons remain pretty much useless. Only with the exception of destroying the environment. 

Some parting words as I bring this to a close. I have done a very minute amount of mapping and a larger amount of gaming. I realize the tremendous effort this must have taken to create the game. Such small words for the amount of time sweat and tears to be put into creating something. The hype for this game was massive. I feel that it let us down in some respects while living up to others. I will end this with a list of ‘rants’ if you will. The game is what it is and to really know how you feel about it you will probably have to play it, just ponder on my words before cranking out the bucks to purchase. Perhaps renting it first or borrowing it from a friend would be a good idea.

The things I would have enjoyed seeing or improved would have been:

  • Drivability of the vehicles.
  • Diversity of Missions
  • Upgrades for the weapons
  • Weapons that are effective against enemies
  • Buildings that don’t self destruct just from walking by it
  • Possibly music in addition to the soundtrack score
  • Less clunky controls
  • More accurate targeting system
  • Better camera controls
  • Less nagging to continue on the path of the game (more of a free will environment)
  • Multiplayer modes (Deathmatch would have been a smash)
  • A few more characters to play
  • Better combat engine
  • A little more plot (rather than just bash the decepticons in the same manner repeatedly)
  • Less glitches and bugs
  • Different unlockable content – I have heard this referred to as ‘Promo Content’ verses ‘Bonus Content’ as there are several movie trailers here






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