More than meets the eye, that’s the slogan for one of the most popular toys of the 1980’s. Twenty years later kids everywhere are still discovering that Transformers are just that. With the Transformers movie they’ve come back to the forefront of popular culture. So, of course that means that they’re getting a video game based on said film, right? I mean, what would a major motion picture these days be without the licensed game? You’re sort of right because Transformers: The Game is only loosely based on the film and loosely doesn’t even begin to describe this game.
First off, the Wii is not on par with the other two competing platforms available, but it is DVD based and as such you’d expect some decent looking graphics or at least nice cut-scenes, right? Well, no. The game looks about as good as something from the end of the last generation’s life cycle. Even the trailer for the film which ends up as bonus feature looks like it’s a bootleg. It’s poor especially considering what the Wii is clearly capable of in terms of graphics. The game just doesn’t look anywhere as good as the film and the Transformers themselves look pretty poor. What’s worse is the fact that the cut-scenes are ugly as well. The main character isn’t very detailed and neither is the girl who plays his love interest. Now that might not be as important as the Transformers themselves, who look rather blah also, but because the game centers around him you get to see him an awful lot. Then the icing on the cake is the generic bots they throw at you over and over again. Now, maybe you saw the movie maybe you didn’t, but I did and I don’t remember any generic “foot soldier” type bots in it. It’s amazing how this game strayed so far from the film that at the very least managed to bring back a lot of nostalgia to those of us who grew up in the 1980’s.
About the only redeeming quality of the game is the fact that they got a few of the key actor’s to return for additional voice work. So, when you hear Optimus Prime’s voice for the first time you know it’s him. But aside from some of the actors doing voice overs, the rest of the audio is so humdrum it’s not even really worth going into detail about. The sound effects are as weak as clock radio speakers, the music is okay, but nothing remarkable and what’s not voiced over by the original cast of the film is dull and uninspired. I’ve heard better voice acting from telemarketers to be honest with you.
And then there’s the gameplay, or what someone thought was gameplay. Fighting consists of shooting those aforementioned generic bots then punching them because they put up a force shield around them, (I know you’re thinking ‘force shield? Since when do Transformers have those? Yeah, it’s a weak programming move) punching them is achieved by waving the Wii remote around. Combat is dull and repetitive, but is broken up on occasion by driving sequences that aren’t as dull and repetitive as they are hard to navigate and tedious. On one mission early in the game you have to cause a distraction by blowing up a few key locations, (again, I know this is in stark contrast to everything the Autobots stand for, not to mention their purpose of even coming to the planet to save man, not kill them) and at one point you’re to get on the highway, well, if you take a wrong turn and end up in the wrong lane you can’t simply turn into full robot mode and walk over the center divider to cross, no, that would be too simple. Instead your time will run out and you’ll be forced to begin the mission anew. So, let’s get this straight my 20 foot robot can’t walk over a three foot high concrete divider? Who’s genius idea was this? This pretty much sums up the gameplay in a nutshell. It’s boring, not at all like you would want it to be. I’ll say this, though, being able to go from robot in full run to car with the push of one button is cool and makes the game a little more fun to play, but since the camera likes to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you’ll never get to enjoy it like you should. You do also get to play as either Autobot or Decepticon if you’re feeling particularly masochistic and there are plenty of unlockable extras for you if you really like to inflict personal pain.
I really don’t want to say that Transformers: The Game is a quick cash in to go along with the movie, but it sure does feel that way. Everything just feels so dumbed down and last generation that it’s hard to even want to look at the Transformers the same way ever again. Even hardcore Transformer fans should do their best job and stay far away from this game. You’re better off just playing with the actual toys. Seriously.
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