As I run around Transformers: The Game, I grab onto telephone poles, fences, giant hotdogs, and whatever I can get my cold steel hands on to defend myself as Decepticons bear down on me.
- Unlock-able old school Transformer outfits, destroying environments.
- You can't control your robot.
Once the nostalgia buzz and/or movie hype has worn off, Transformers: The Game is a pretty average action title with nothing to take your breath away.
When I start grabbing chairs, telephones, soda cans, and other loose objects around my house to throw at the television in response to the horrifying mess the controls are, I'm suddenly aware of why life should not imitate gaming.
Less Than Meets the Eye
Playing Transformers: The Game on the Wii is not like playing the other versions. For the first time since the early days of the NES I am utterly in awe of my inability to grasp the controls of a game. The hardest thing to get used to is that the motion of the Wii Remote is responsible for both looking around in the game as well as melee combat. You need to waggle the Remote to begin punching and kicking during fights, but that makes the Transformer shake his head around like he's having a seizure. I've seen the movie and I'm positive I would have noticed if Optimus had epilepsy.
Straight As a Board
Aside from having any semblance of good controls, Transformers: The Game is not a bad translation, though that's not saying much. The game is linear--as most every other movie-to-game title is--which is simultaneously its greatest strength and weakness. There's nothing special here to jar your gaze away from whatever other game you're playing. The straightforward flow makes it easy to know what to do and where to go next, and in a game with such large environments, it's nice to have an agenda.
Those large, inviting environments are just waiting to be explored--but thanks to said linear gameplay--that venture would be like a Lewis and Clark expedition; other than a few stray collectibles, there is no reason to strap on the moccasins and spend all that time in the wilderness. There are All Spark pieces to collect on each level, but the extras they unlock are not worth the effort.
The missions that push the game forward are formulaic: drive somewhere, beat something up. Speeding through narrow streets in cars that feel clunky and difficult to control is irritating. When you do catch your opponent, the fight is unbalanced because most of the major firepower at your disposal is ineffective, and you'll have to resort to melee attacks.
Dressed Up in a Cardboard Box
The game is at its strongest when you're moving around the world in robot form. The characters aren't too clunky or burdensome, and all of the different Transformers feel slightly different. It's actually fun to scale the face of a building and throw large air conditioners and radio antennas across the city, though you have to play as a Decepticon to actually score points for doing this.
In the end this game isn't worth much more than a rental. Paying $99.95 to play through the movies story is just too high a price to pay for a mediocre adventure game. Though this is one of the better Transformer games around, chances are you'll have more fun dressing up in a cardboard box and beat-boxing as you pretend to be Sound Wave.
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