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Less than meets the eye.

PS2 Review: Transformers: The Game

This smash ‘em up action title adds some visual spice to a crowded game market while trying to make a successful elevation from the movie to game adaptation. The enemies are endless as the protagonist Autobots protect earth from the destructive Decepticons. Players choose the side. It’s a bit harder to beat the good guys, but the baddies have more bang in their plot (like most hero/villain yarns). Bumblebee begins the mayhem by engaging the first wave of baddies in various tasks. The camera shaking visuals during his initial movements and subsequent fighting makes a nice first impression, but can wear down as quickly as the crumbling pavement beneath his feet.

Transformations from vehicle (including helicopters, cars and planes) to robot requires some strategy. Constant situational changes won’t work, so plan your attack based on speed or power then transform accordingly. The bumblebee car is fast, but doesn’t handle as well as comparable racing games. There’s a learning curve with just about every vehicle. Would it make a difference if gamemakers made all the vehicles function as well as the corresponding elite vehicle centered game (e.g. planes as good as the “Ace Combat” series, etc.)? Perhaps, but probably this lofty goal would’ve eaten a lot of memory and time during the recreation of this popular toy series.

The game also takes a page from a certain green Marvel hero by making almost every object interactive and destructible (or at least assist in the destruction). The long distance combat engagements impress while the music and Optimus Prime’s voice gives players a sense of danger and urgency to quickly continue their quest boosting the action entertainment level. Some environment interactivity also boosts the fun as players get to literally go underground.

The storyline has several button mashing chapters with wide open ended movements (the standard graphic map helps you navigate and track targets) with cool cut scenes among the action. Force fields require some tactical variants, but decrease the action level. Do gamemakers really care if players scoff if some enemies are beaten easily? The answer is probably no. Most players want a smooth interface and constant attacks, so the storyline takes a backseat here.

The action never stops, but it’s only for one player so friends can only watch. Faithful fans will enjoy the bonus movies and the detailed graphics while others might tire of the constant button mashing fighting and familiar missions that could use a little more variety and optional attacks. This game can be conquered quickly even with the bonus missions.

Transformers: The Game is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence. This game can also be found on: PC, PS3, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360.


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