Transformers The Game

2008-12-07 17:02:42

Transformers the Game(Xbox360)

As a child of the 80's I can fondly remember the days of my youth, when I would wake up and watch episodes of GI Joe and Transformers while munching down on my morning cereal and waiting to head out to the bus stop down the road. 1980's cartoons were great in that they didn't pull any punches and had a lot more depth than your average cartoon found on cartoon network these days. Granted these cartoons featured a lot of bad animation when looked at without rose colored glasses, but they were still fun as a kid.

Enter 2007, where media producers have taken to raping the childhood of those in their 20's. Transformers, TMNT, and from what I hear word of GI Joe may be next. Of course I took notice when I started to realize that Transformers were being re-released, things like the classics line of toys told me something was up. My childhood obsession was being remade, and Transformers I noticed far more than TMNT mostly because after seeing the revamped toys in stores for TMNT, I lost interest rapidly, especially when they made April some kind of fucking judo heroine rather than a helpless TV reporter who was always getting captured. Girl fucking power I guess... kind of dilutes the basic premise of most TMNT shows in the past. Now I'm no misogynist but they really should have kept with the basics of TMNT, which was typically helping helpless humans with the almighty power of mutant ninjitsu! But I digress, this is about Transformers the Game.

So after seeing all the previews for Transformers and hearing about the game based on the movie. I started keeping my eyes on the movie game. Now I know that movie games in general suck due to living off the license style production of these kinds of things. but after seeing how detailed the transformations were I was thinking to myself, if they spent this much time detailing the models and making the transformations so smooth, there's no way they could fuck this up, this is one shiny game. I immediately preordered and decided what the hell I'm enough of a Transformer Fag I'll pony up the extra 10 for the bonus content.

Now for those of you lucky enough to avoid this abortion of licensing, here's where my details for this polished turd of a game begins. Anyone who hasn't seen the movie or played the game and somehow wants to, should probably go away, but it's really not worth the play time.

So launch day comes before the movie comes out and I pick up by "Cybertron Edition" Xbox 360 version of Transformers the Game. Cybertron edition was a special edition that was exclusive both to Gamestop/EB Games, and Xbox 360. I take the wrap off the game and slide off it's cardboard condom. I am not impressed with the cardboard condom, it just makes it more difficult to get the game out when I want to play it, plus it's so damn snug, just a pain in the ass to get a cardboard rendition of the regular box with a little texturing done off. But okay they did this because the interior just shows pictures of Optimus and Megatron without any real text. But it's just a bland version of the movie propaganda that I could've easily downloaded off the internet. Inside the main case there is a fat stack of shit on the left held in place by a pair of tiny green plastic moldings. the Game sits on the right as usual but seems to have more depth to the DVD holder, this I assume is so I can stack the game and the Special Edition DVD on the same spindle. I dunno about you folks, but I don't like to scratch my DVD's to fuck by having the polished side come in contact with the printed side of another disc. So I never did this and for the most part left the exclusives DVD in it's protective paper case. Now one thing I protest is that they wasted all this money on a cardboard case for this game, but they couldn't make the damn case like those 2 disc DVD boxes you get with movies or like the one that Soulcalibur III(PS2) came in? is that so damn hard to use that scheme to hold 2 discs instead of a lame paper sleeve? Paper sleeves for Optical Discs should have gone away with the idea of big boxed PC titles. Almost everyone uses plastic cases in mini cardboard or the multi page plastic DVD setup.

Anyway the Shitty packaging was a good indication of just how absolutely fucking worthless that damn DVD was anyway, the paper sleeved special features DVD was nothing more than a collection of all the trailers for the game/movie that you could download from the game producers website, or off of Xbox Marketplace. Nothing special about this disc, if you have the internet(which if you don't have internet but you have a next gen console you're a fucking retard.) you can be just as special without buying the Cybertron Edition. Also the Cybertron edition was touted as having 2 extra levels not featured in the original title launch of the game. This is inaccurate, what you actually get is a comic book in the bundle of shit on the left of the case that basically summarizes what was said in the prequel book down into about 6 pages. On the cover of that comic you get a code to unlock the cybertron missions. Doing this disables your ability to earn achievements until you shut down and restart the console. The biggest question is why did I pay for this damn code when it's going to shut down my acheivements? how fucking stupid. Here we as developers are going to share with you our code to unlock the cybertron levels since you are such a fan and bought the special edition, but hey if you use it we're still going to call you a cheater and disable your achievments, which is a major feature of any xbox 360 game. It is gratifying to get achievements, it is not gratifying to buy a special edition and use the knowledge from the special edition to eliminate that option to gain achievements. It's like paying for a cell phone with PDA features but as soon as you use the internet you can't make phone calls unless you shut off the whole thing and restart it.

Other than that the manual is included in the game case as well as usual, nothing more special to report on the case. So I toss it into my Xbox 360 and spin it up ready to kick some decepticon ass. the opening sequence is beautiful and the menu system while a little clunky is really good at conveying the transformers feel. I launch the Autobot campaign and the shits starts to hit the fan.

First thing after the cutscene where Bumblebee lands on earth I am presented with the gameworld in daytime. Now it would make sense that since the transformers transform to disguise themselves and prevent detection that they wouldn't start out in robot mode. But what does this game do? it breaks that logic by starting you off in the middle of a playground in a park in robot mode starting down a hill at the days usual traffic. I might as well just wave to the passersby and exclaim to the rooftops that I'm bumblebee a robot in diguise! What they should've done was have you start off at the car lot in car mode, so that you can drive around town until you need to be a robot and smash shit up. There's a point to this being a bullshit way to start the game, and that's because when you're in robot mode you're visible to humans as being an alien robot ass-kicking machine, and even if you're trying to be nice and not cause trouble cops will surround you if you're in robot mode too long even if you're just sitting still, after the cops show up the helicopters show up to shoot rockets at you, and then the suburbans, then the buggies and the tanks. There is a progression to this, the longer you stay a robot. Which basically means free roaming as a giant robot turns more into an exercise in Rampage the game rather than an enjoyable thing to do. Most of the time you spend in the game outside of missions should be in car mode if you're an autobot. I'll talk more about the decepticon situation being different in a bit.

So after a brief period granted to you to learn the controls Optimus' face pops up on the screen and the musical score is muted slightly to tell you "Get to the meteor crash sight, there should be no autobots on Earth right now so the decepticons may have picked up your trail." Alright! sure thing boss Transform and Roll out! Now as I said before the transforming animation is really good. Only beef with it is that as a transformer the character should be pretty comfortable with transforming and be able to transform anywhere by having mastery over their body. Sadly you cannot jump and transform at the same time, which would've made for some epic looking escapes from rooftop battles and the like. I was picturing things such as Jazz from the original cartoon opening sequence, where he battles it out with a decepticon is thrown transforms in midair drives back around at full speed and then transforms into a robot again to tackle the decepticon, fucking kicking rad robot martial arts! but not here, hell if you transform while driving in max speed you slide on your heels for about 30 feet without any kind of control on the direction your travelling in. The other shitty thing you'll find in most missions is that the same thing will be repeated to you every 2 minutes until you reach the destination for the next mission. So Optimus keeps popping up saying the same corny line 50 times. Reminds me of too many other licensed titles like spiderman "get to the daily bugle!" Players don't necessarily need or want these repetitious reminders like we're fucking retarded apes. If you MUST remind us of something every 2 minutes have at least more than 1 phrase to remind us with, vary it up a little. not the same damn phrase every 2 minutes until you want to drill holes in your head to sooth the pressure. This also destroys all desire to play in free roam, which you can do in any chapter of the game after you beat it by picking and choosing. Sadly after beating a chapter you'll still forever hear the first mission of that chapters "reminder".

I get to the mission marker and it's some kind of construction area, and these meteors just start crashing down all over the place and bumblebee now has to fight. Who is it? is it barricade? is it starscream? is it anything from the fucking movie? nope, it's a bunch of "decepticon drones". Now when I think about Drones, I think about Droning, and when I think Droning, I think Boring as FUCK. Not only are these drones basically nothing like anything remotely from the movie or tv series, but they are also the cheapest weakest sign of this games failure. First off, the Drones that are faced on Autobot and Decepticon are the exact same, there is no difference between them other than a paintjob, which is bullshit. Decepticon drones should be shit like insecticons, constructicons, things like that, not Generic Forklifts, Sports Cars, and Pickup Trucks. so in the first mission you've got to defeat a whole bunch of decepticon forklifts and the occassional sports car. You can get an achievement here by not using any weapons. Which you might as well get since using any weapon aside from throwing things is largely useless. Every Transformer has a primary fire and secondary fire weapon built in, So while you may be thinking "sweet! transformer weapons! I'm going to obliterate these piece of shit forklifts with my missles or machine gun" you would be wrong. As you shoot at your Decepticon targets, they throw up energy shields, deflecting all of your bullets. it is an entirely fruitless effort to attempt to dispatch any drone with the weapons. The only exception in this case is the final levels when you play as Optimus Prime or Megatron as their weapons are special cases and can actually dent 50% of the drones in game. The only purpose for these shitty guns is to blow up civilian equipment, be it cop cars, or buildings.

Now that we've set the stage for combat and described what not to do, let's look at combat itself that works. Combat with the drones involves using your Lock on feature(which is preferable since the enemies move around a lot and the controls of this game are too clunky to aim otherwise) only problem is that the lockon feature is about as predictable as playing the lotto. Apparently the game cannot lock onto any enemies that are within 15 feet of your transformer, so it will always overlook the obvious target to lock onto and will instead lock onto anything that is closest to 20 feet away without going under. which means that if you close in or are being closed in on before you lock on, you're never going to hit the enemie your trying to hit. apparently transformers are farsighted like a mother fucker, they can only make out things 20 feet away or more with their targetting computers. Once you achieve a lock your fighting consists of 1-2-3-uppercut, basically a sequence of punches and kicks for 3 iterations and finally a "big whammy" move that prevents a huge combo by punting the enemy 50 feet away. Meaning you now have to reattempt to acquire the target. Now if you manage to hit a big whammy on a drone without locking on then you will have the advantage of being able to finally lock onto the fucking thing.

So that's the lame ass fighting controls. but it doesn't end there. Oh no, some missions you may be faced with 2 very special drones. One is a tow truck drone, which when in robot form spins it's tailhook at rapid speeds making it invulnerable to all damage while the rotor is spinning. To stop this process and begin beating it down you have to throw something at it, meaning you have to run towards an object to throw(almost anything will do, even little baby trees and the like) and then you have to acquire a lock onto the drone(which is hard since it closes in on you pretty fast and picking up something take a while) and then toss the tree at the drone. This will momentarily stun the drone and stop the rotor, you can then deal about 3-5 hits on the drone before it cranks up it's rotor again typically while you're in mid combo and it will knock you 50 feet away from the drone. I am simply amazed that a small metal hook spinning at helicopter speeds is capable of sending a 3000lb or more robot flying away as if it was hit by a nuclear missile in the chest. Aside from the tow truck there is also the armored car/cement mixer drone(basically the same drone with different skins for different maps) This drone is invincible to weapons, as well as invincible to melee attacks. The only way you can kill this drone is to throw a tree or some other object at it to knock it down, then pick up the drone while it's prone and throw it which will cause about 30% damage every throw. Apparently these drones are such fatasses that they hurt themselves by their own weight. Now couple these types of drones with the fact that they usually come with complements of regular drones and they get damn annoying as they will often find you and beat the shit out of you while you're fighting the normal drones, or while doing the special things you need to do to beat them the normal drones will either beat you up causing you to drop whatever it was you were going to throw, or they get in the path of the thrown item making you need to get a new item to throw. This is compounded in the later levels when helicopters will shoot at you at the same time you're fighting the drones, and will generally set cars you are about to throw on fire, making them blow up before they even hit the drone, and it won't count for anything.

All missions of the game can be described as either: Kill x drones, Race to point x through 15 checkpoints to beat y opponent, race to x targets and do x amount of damage. Everything is timed when you're doing missions and submissions, and you will have to retry many a mission. If you beat all of the regular missions you get to the cybertron missions as well as getting some skin unlocks(robo-vision Optimus Prime and G1 Starscream repainted) for your transformers. The cybertron missions that were supposed to be cybertron edition only appear in both versions of the game, the CE version just comes with the unlock code. All that level consists of is either Megatron or Optimus and they have to kill 25 drones. That is all.

Now the things that were included to add replayability are rather lame as well. First of all there's the energon cubes. While energon cubes are kind of a nice nod to the original series, they are everywhere on the map, there are literally 100 cubes per map, and if you want to complete 100% on the game you have to get all the cubes. Every 20 cubes you pick up though you can unlock a submission, which all the submissions consist of are collect 20 cogs, push x decepticons out of the ring sumo, and destroy x drones. All of them are fairly easy to beat and are just there to provide some idle entertainment mostly during free roam. You also have to perform a few skill feats to get 100% completion, things like powersliding, jumping(while in car mode) speed, throwing, and attack combos give you these points, you have to do them long enough to fill a meter to earn the award. All this does is unlock pictures in the picture gallery, as does most of the additional replay content. In addition to this there are autobot and decepticon symbols all over the map and they grant you G1 Optimus and G1 Megatron respectively. Sadly G1 Megatron doesn't transform into a gun, he just takes to the air as a flying robot when you transform him. But lets look back at the Cubes. Now 100 cubes may sound not too terrible, especially when you can find them all over the place, but as you get closer to 90 or more cubes, they become insidious, many people will relent the chase and pick up the official strategy guide. Only problem, the strategy guide only shows 99 cubes per map, so even the strategy guide is a pile of shit. You're on your own for many of the cubes in the game, and usually it's always the 100th cube that's the hardest to find. It's a frustrating excercise, and is typically the last one you'll ever do in the game, after this, you unlock G1 Jazz skin, only problem with this is Jazz doesn't start any of the chapters, so your only option is to perform a mission as that character and then die, you will come back as that character instead of the default character per map.

What they should have done for the fans would be to make is so when you beat a chapter you can launch that chapter and in the pause menu you could pick your transformer. but instead you're stuck with defaults of Optimus or Bumblebee. Decepticons are more lucky in regards to this, all of the Decepticons start different missions, so you can just pick the chapter that hosts the decepticon of choice to play as them. Why not this for the Autobots? Even that would've been nicer than having to run a damn exploit to get the character you want to be. Decepticons get raped in the ass however by the fact that they are always being gunned at by humans. Autobots can turn into cars and hide for a little while and Johnny Law will ignore them as long as they stay as cars. Decepticons are helicopters and jets and are in government airspace illegally so decepticons are always having to shoot down helicopters and ospreys just to get them off of their back. Decepticons are lucky however in that their weapons are super destructive especially on human targets.

In any case this game is shit, the drones you fight aren't varied enough to be worth thinking twice about, many of them include a shitty gimmick just to make them harder. Weapons are fucking useless as tits on a bull, replay value is tanked by shitty catch em all gimmicks and lame sub missions. Free roam is bullshit in that unless your an autobot and like to drive around town all day you're going to be shot at all the time by humans and it's not long before they start using tanks that blow you across the map. This game isn't even worth renting, it isn't even worth using as a coaster for a glass of beer. This game went back to the store as soon as I got 100% and I only did that because it's god damn transformers and dammit, it should've been better. The only redeeming qualities this shitstain has is that the transformations and transformers themselves looked great, and the buildings blow up and fall apart very well graphically. but the plot, controls, and gimmicks are so bad as to remind you why you should never buy a game built around a license. It will never be as much as nice as you'd like it to be.

My overall rating 2/10 - The game is shit, it has all of 2 good qualities and all the additional features and extras are lame shit that isn't worth paying an extra 10 bucks for when you can find all that shit free elsewhere. Promised exclusive levels and failed.

Graphics: 7/10 - Transformers were well presented, transformations were fluid, environment was engaging, combat animations were relatively generic and cookie cutter however.

Sound: 6/10 - I can't say I honestly remember much over the droning of Optimus telling me to do something over and over and over again, or the bang clang bash sounds of combat, or the sounds of driving and squealing of tires. The games sound effects were so loud as to produce headaches if you were trying to find the music composition, in fact the musical score was certainly unremarkable.

Controls 1/10 - Cars handle like they're made out of shitbricks using moist dog turds for tires, helicopter handles alright, Scorponok handles like a slow piece of shit that he is, utterly incapable of doing anything above ground other than die, and doesn't even transform. Control Layout was good but none of it worked.

Gameplay 2/10 - some of the spots in the game were enjoyable, but most of it was just throw item at drone x to stop y power and pummel until y power is re-engaged, rinse repeat. Otherwise it was a racing game with transformers.