Transformers: The Game Review

Publisher: Activision  Developer: Traveller’s Tales  Genre: Third Person Shooter  

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox 360, PS2, Wii

As many games have proven in the past, stomping around in a giant robot rarely fails to offer an enjoyable time (perhaps no more so then Atari’s and Melbourne House’s own 2004 Transformers game). Such is their appeal, that we’ve got to wonder how one could be messed up. But with the movie tie-in, Transformers: The Game, Travellers Tales have done a good job at doing almost that.

Being a film licence, there’s not a lot of new here. Transformers: The Game is essentially a light sandbox game, where outside of the primary missions, you can try your hand at the enjoyable sub-missions or seek out the hidden items, both of which unlocks the obligatory bonus content, that consists of the usual artwork and film trailers – how original!

Unlike Atari’s game, Transformers: The Game has an emphasis on melee combat over shooting. With this being a film licence it needn’t be said that this is kept simple (on the Wii version you move the remote from side to side to do this, but it doesn’t really enhance the game, so, if possible you‘re probably better off with one of the nicer looking versions). Objects can also be picked up and tossed at your enemies, but doing this simple action can be tricky, requiring you to line your Transformer up correctly before you’re able to pick anything up and once you’re holding an object, the problems don’t end. Unlike other games where such objects would sensibly go transparent, here they don’t, which means your vision is obscured by the larger objects, this being another in a long line of problems.

Graphically, the robots themselves look large, mean and detailed, but your surroundings, whilst impressively destructible don’t fare as well, lacking the detail that we crave from our new (yes new not next, because that’s just silly) gen machines. The PS2 version can get away with the lack of detail, because that’s a bit wrinkly these days, bless it. No version can get away with the nasty bugs and glitches though, when you’re driving along in your vehicle form, you’ll find yourself all too often getting stuck on debris, a nightmare particularly when it’s a speed requisite mission. Needless to say, when you fail a mission here, it’s not always your pathetically poor skills at fault.

The primary missions are exciting but repetitive, not in the way that each different mission is the same as the last, but the fact that you’ll be doing the same thing over and over on each mission, for example one mission may require you to blow up robots and that’s all it consists of, whilst another will require you to destroy cooling fans multiple times and escape from the resulting blast, yes multiple times, less one note missions certainly would have been nice.

Many of these missions are lengthy, but don’t feature any checkpoints whatsoever, which means upon mission failure, you’ll often have to replay an unreasonable amount causing needless frustration, particularly when it’s the fault of the games’ glitches rather than your own.

Even though both the Autobots and the Decepticons have their own campaigns, there are still only around five or six hours of gameplay here, this can be extended by doing all the optional tasks, but it doesn’t really make up for the fact that there’s no form of multiplayer mode whatsoever, which is strange for a game, which would have been perfectly suited to epic multiplayer skirmishes.

If you’re going to play one Transformers game to get in the mood for the movie, make sure it’s Melbourne House’s hugely enjoyable Transformers rather than this average, cobbled together film licence. Transformers: The Game does have its enjoyable moments, but all too often it’s hidden behind glitches and frustrations, lets call it enjoyment in disguise then!