Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


(Activision for Playstation 3)

By Michael Palisano

Based on the hit summer film, Activision's Transformers for PS3 brings explosive action to the console audience. Players can choose to play as either the Autobots or the evil Decepticons as they struggle against each other. Transformers also lets players change forms instantly from one to another, play as different robots and battle through a series of open-ended and fully destructible environments. The game looks good, and it's straightforward mission structure makes it instantly accessible, but the question is whether there's enough under the hood to keep you playing beyond the first few levels. Read our review and find out.

Activision's Transformers: The Game is a decent attempt at bringing the movie's action sequences to life in an interactive form and does a good job in recreating the action sequences of its cinematic counterpart. Before you begin your first mission, you can choose which side you want to play as, the good Autobots led by Optimus Prime who are battling the evil Decepticons in search of the AllSpark, a mysterious force that keeps them alive. Transformers' gameplay is relatively simple and mostly involve destroying any rival robots or objects you encounter. Most of the missions are fairly straightforward in terms of objectives, usually requiring you to defeat foes or reach a certain point before the allotted time runs out. The map and HUD are fairly easy to understand and most players should have little trouble getting the hang of things quickly. You can usually locate and battle foes easily, since most of the level layouts are quite simple and easy to traverse. This makes the game accessible to a broad audience, though this dumbing-down comes at a price - it makes things a bit too easy at points, and lessens the challenge. Along the way, you'll see humans and their environments as well. It seems like an intimidating task to battle all these little beings from your vantage point, but these humans pose little threat for the most part since they don't really cause damage to your indestructible armor. They are basically obstacles that slow you down and get in your way, which is kind of fun initially but becomes annoying as you play through the game. However, you can do a lot of damage to the levels. These fully destructible environments are decently rendered and there are some cool explosions during the game. However, things begin to lose their impact after awhile since it's so easy to destroy things, it becomes less satisfying.

One of the coolest aspects about Transformers is the ability of you to change forms with the press of a single button - you can switch between robot and vehicle form instantly. This lets you fight the robots head to head for maximum efficiency or use a standard vehicle to blend in. When you are in a standard vehicle form, you have some weapons, but they aren't as effective. However, the robots generally move much slower and draw the attention of foes much faster. The enemies usually attack in waves and their numbers makes them more dangerous. When you are battling them one-on-one, they don't pose as much of a threat. The exception to this are the boss battles which can be quite intense. You can choose either a standard or strong fire weapon when in robot form and can also choose to battle them at close range using melee combat moves. Players can also target specific enemies using the Lock on button, which is helpful when battling multiple opponents simultaneously. The standard controls are fairly decent and effective, but Transformers also includes support for Sixaxis functionality. Sadly, this doesn't add much to the game and feels more like a hastily added feature than something integral to the game, which is disappointing. When you have finished them off, they'll drop power-ups and health items which can help you replenish your energy bar. Transformers' control system is very simple to use and understand and the robots are fairly easy to control. Taking them through each level doesn't require much effort and each is surprisingly responsive and simple to use. Each of the Transformers you encounter in the game has a different vehicle attached to it, which range from cars, to tanks, helicopters and more. This adds some variety to the game and makes things a little bit less predictable than they might have been otherwise. It's also cool that each side in Transformers has a completely different set of missions to complete, which means there are two entirely different tracks in the game. While the standard missions and characters are decent, players can also unlock a few extras such as movies and artwork and can even unlock some of the classic "Generation One" characters if they get deeper into the game. This gives you some motivation to keep playing, but your endurance will probably be sorely tested by Transformers' disappointing level designs.

The single player experience is decent for a short time, but quickly becomes predictable and tedious. You'd think that the developers would have added online play, but this isn't included. This represents a huge missed opportunity and makes the title feel less like a game and more like an interactive commercial for the movie. You get a few tastes of the film here and there, but these teases aren't really satisfying. The gameplay itself is entertaining, but doesn't offer much in the way of challenge or innovation, it feels like a paint by numbers experience. Visually, Transformers is a decent-looking title but doesn't really offer much more than you'd expect. The robots themselves look decent and animate nicely and the game's levels are decent, though lack in imagination in terms of layout. There are some impressive lighting effects such as reflections and weather, but the game chugs along at a slower frame rate than you'd expect it to. The developers added some film sequences between levels to make things feel more like the movie, and the cinematic soundtrack is nice as well, but this only emphasizes the problems with this title's pedantic design. Unfortunately, like many movie cross-overs before it, Transformers is limited by its need to recreate the source material and doesn't expand or elaborate on the movie to any significant degree. While it's fun to control the morphing robots for a short time, the game's predictable mission structure and simplistic combat makes things become repetitive all too quickly. While it's cool that you can play on either the good or bad side, the missions themselves lack imagination and suffer from a sense of déjà vu. Transformers: The Game lacks significant depth or replay value but does a good job of recreating the feel of a summer blockbuster move. It's shiny, there are huge explosions and nice special effects but the end result is ultimately shallow and forgettable.


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