The internet is awash with the saying, “Hollywood is out of ideas.” Perhaps for this beloved childhood franchise I should instead say, “Everything old is new again.” However you choose to phrase it, we are being inundated by Hollywood with remakes of everything under the sun. With some CGI magic, one of my personal favorites, Transformers, is now up to bat.
I have to say, despite my reeling discomfort at the idea that Michael Bay was producing a movie version of one of the coolest things to come out of the 80’s, the movie turned out pretty well. I was optimistic to see what the transformation (pun intended) from 2D animation to 3D CGI would do for the franchise, and overall I wasn’t disappointed.
But of course, any movie produced by a toy company is ultimately designed for the franchise potential, and Transformers probably has the best potential for some really cool movie tie-ins of any movie this summer. My brother called me the day he saw Transformers to inform me that he had run out to buy a Bumblebee action figure, and he’s 24. Naturally, when I found out that I would get to review the game for the Nintendo Wii, I was excited. But how exactly does Transformers: The Game stack up? Read on, find out.
The Nintendo Wii probably has one of the most intuitive interfaces of any console I’ve ever played. What can be more natural than moving your hand? So it only seems to make sense that the software written for this hardware should be equally as intuitive
Sadly, right out of the gate, Transformers disappoints. I really, really wanted this game to defy the stereotype that movies don’t make good games. The whole concept of transforming robots battling each other just seems to make good gaming sense. Yet, like other mech games, the controls just sucked.
Instead of an easy level detailing the controls, or any kind of tutorial, you are just dumped right into the action and expected to pick it up as you go along. Ok, I am an experienced gamer, this isn’t so bad… you think. After several frustrating attempts at the second level playing as a Decepticon, I just about threw my Wii-mote through my television. Self control 0, poor programming 1. I was always more of an Autobot man anyway, (despite my inner love of carnage and senseless destruction).
Lack of a tutorial wasn’t my real beef with this game. My problem was the camera angles. I spent too much time and effort trying to get the proper angle, and as a result I didn’t really enjoy playing this game. Instead of leisurely losing myself in a fantastic world of robot ic fun, I was reminded that I was at the clunky controls of a poorly programmed video game. There always exists a willing suspension of disbelief, there are always things that a gamer is willing to overlook to enjoy the gaming experience… but when the camera won’t stay on the action, and you have to be constantly aware of the ever changing and quite annoying camera position… it’s really hard to focus on any other elements in the game.
Graphically, this game didn’t do anything revolutionary, but it really didn’t have to. The graphics were consistent with the platform and the series, and looked pretty good.
One thing I can’t stand in a series is invisible walls, and Transformers: The Game had a few obstacles which felt like invisible barriers. The free range environment was fun, you could climb buildings, romp around in the street or through people’s yard… but there were times when you couldn’t get over a fence, or under a road as you burrow underground. This wasn’t too problematic, but it was noticeable.
Audibly Transformers: The Game sounded good! I liked the music, and audio effects were well timed. Sound helped boost the playing experience and padded the score a bit. Voices were from the movie, and consistent with the series. Game audio worked well with the video presentation, and the experience was definitely enhanced by the audio
The storyline followed the movie, with the mode of play set so that you start as an Autobot, and once you’ve played through those missions you move on to work as a Descepticon. I liked how you could play both sides, and I also like how you didn’t have to complete one without first completing the other.
This game seems overall to be presented well, but it lacks the polish and finesse of a good game, and overall the experience was mediocre. I was tempted to say that this title would be good for kids, but with some aspects being difficult and frustrating, I won’t.
Transformers: The Game seems to suffer the same faults as many movie franchised games do. It just feels unpolished and rough. There are many fun aspects of this game, and like I said previously, it is quite fun to play as your favorite characters in an open environment. Plus, just playing some of the Decepticon missions and smashing things is really a good time.
The MSRP is $59.99 at the time this review was written, and that just seems a bit high for this title. Granted, this is a standard price point for a next generation console game, but… this title will sell better from a bargain bin.
Transformers: The Game has definite merit. It’s a fun franchise, and it is a fun game. It suffers from some flaws which rob it of its potential to be a much better game, but fans of the movie, and fans of the series will still appreciate this game.
Gameplay was fun when not worrying about camera and control issues. Switching from car mode to robot mode was fun, and in between missions, just messing around on the world maps was pretty fun. A hardcore gamer would definitely be put off by many of the quirks that Transformers suffers from, but the casual gamer should have a good time.
Overall, if you can get past the very annoying camera issues, poor controls, and minor obstacles, Transformers: The Game is a fun play. I wouldn’t run any red lights on my way to the store to buy this game, but if I found a good deal on it, I’d add it to my collection. Let’s face it, Transformers are cool.