It is a well known fact that video games based off of movies have a less than attractive good to bad ratio. Developers either rush a game so that they can launch along side the film or do not put a sufficient amount of time and effort in to making the game, knowing that their product will sell well just for having a license that everybody knows on the box. With the release of the Transformers movie, we also have the Transformers game based on the film. The game does gave its good moments, but for the most part you’ll get a dull, uninspired and boring game that unfortunately falls to the all too well know movie-to-game curse.
The biggest problem with the game is that its core gameplay mechanics feel rushed and broken. The bulk of the game is doing battle with your enemies and driving from location to location in the transformed versions of whatever robot you happen to be controlling. This should be an epic, high adrenaline thrill ride that is a blast to play but it isn’t, it just makes you want to put the game down.
Take the combat, for example. You have two main forms of offense, long rang guns mounted on to the Transformers and a melee attack for when things get up close and personal. The guns, however, are useless. As soon as you start firing, any enemy that you encounter will put up a shield that stops any of your bullets getting through. Besides it being frustrating as hell, it also totally defeats the purpose of having the long range weapons in the first place. Aside from bullets that don’t work, the auto lock on system is broken. It will lock onto the wrong target and refuse to change, or does not detect any enemies at all. Both of these problems combine to pretty much force you to use your melee attacks. To perform these attacks, you simply mash the X button and you start throwing punches. They are a lot more effective than shooting, but also makes combat seem repetitive, lowering it to just bashing the X button until you are the only thing left standing.
Then there is the game’s driving. Hitting Y will turn the transformer that you are using into a vehicle that you can then drive around in. The problem is that the cars control really badly and you will find yourself spinning out of control and crashing with alarming frequency. Besides that, the driving is absolutely no fun at all. At least when you are walking you can at least smash up the buildings and cause some trouble.
As for the campaign mode, you are presented with two options when you start a new game. You can either play through the Autobot missions or the Decepticon missions, with both lasting you roughly 6 hours and neither offering little in the way of fun or variation. The missions that you receive don’t change during the game, offering you a set of combat missions, searching missions and driving to point A to point B missions. There is occasionally some fun to be had, though. Boss battles against other Transformers can be a nice diversion and destroying parts of the city or military bases whilst looking for something during the search quests can be a laugh. Some levels do mix it up a bit, and are actually enjoyable. For example, being able to fly helicopters and fighter jets by using Blackout’s and Starscream’s respective transformation abilities and engage in aerial dogfights was awesome. Sadly, these types of missions are a rare occurrence and then you go back to the same repetitive, linear gameplay.
During the missions you get to play as a number or Transformers from both sides, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz and Ironside, but throughout the game you a mainly going to find that they all play the same. Smaller robots are just as strong, larger robots are just as fast and they all have the same combos and attack animation, which is a shame. It would have been cool to feel as if you were playing as the different characters, instead of the same character in a different skin.
If the game has one redeeming feature, it is its presentation. From the slick menu interface to having possibly one of the coolest intro movies ever, it is a nice looking package. The title also gives you a nice set of unlockables like hidden movies, and concept art. It doesn’t hurt that the game also looks pretty good as well. The character models look great, and the transformation animations are beautiful. The city has a nice amount of detail and combat visuals such as explosions and the collapsing environment around you give the game some nice visual flair. The in-game movies aren’t up to snuff, though, and it actually looks pretty poor. The audio is pretty hit and miss. The game has some nice music in it (albeit forgettable), the sound effects are passable, but the voice acting is cheesy and annoying.
The gameplay is dull and repetitive and offers very little incentive or motivation to actually finish either of the two campaigns. The combat is broken and the driving is sloppy, giving the game the feel that it was rushed to make the movie release and cash in. However, some of the missions can provide some fun, especially on the Decepticon campaign, and the single player is pretty lengthy. It really is a shame the game turned out how it did—it wouldn’t have been hard to make this game great, there is a lot of history in the Transformers franchise that could have been used and saw fantastic results. Instead, gamers just got another lazy movie tie-in. The game is barely mediocre and will only the most hardcore fans will see the game to completion.
Originally Written By: Liam Kenna