Transformers: The Game review

  • Transformers: still cool
  • Open world
  • Great-looking robot models
  • Fighting absolutely sucks
  • Driving isn't that hot either
  • It's almost all driving and fighting

The second-biggest sucker in the universe is a character in the shabby, movie-based action smasher, Transformers: The Game - it's the main character's dad. The transformer Bumblebee has been ordered to protect an Earth boy named Sam - because they want his grandfather's eyeglasses (honest, we're not making this up) - on the very day that Sam's dad has promised to buy him a car. So, Bumblebee sneaks into the used car lot and somehow brainwashes the kid and dad into deciding he's the best car there, so the dad buys him.

Let's consider that for a moment: he bought a "car" that would have had no title, no registration, no plates, no keys, and that the dealer was probably totally shocked to see parked in his fenced-in car lot. Only Hollywood could create such a chump.

Yet, the bigger sucker still turns out to be you, the player, because Transformers: The Game is a frustrating mess. It seems like a no-lose proposition: we have two entire storylines (one for the noble Autobots, a second (and better) one for the evil Decepticons). We have several gorgeously modeled space robots, and we have serious firepower to blow holes in mostly smashable environments and turn other robots into scrap.  

But it all goes wrong. It's arguably forgivable that every mission is some variation on the formula, "get from point A to point B and blow up X in Y number of seconds" - but when both driving and combat are broken, it's time to transform this into some other game. 

We'll start with the driving. The vehicles often have squirrely handling, you can't switch from a robot to a car while in midair, and a tree sloth could climb buildings faster than you - handicaps that add up to tranquilize what could have been amazingly fluid and absolutely genre-destroying one-of-a-kind chase sequences.

Also, while pursuing a fleeing target as nitro-powered semi truck Optimus Prime, with buses, tanks, and entire stone archways (sorry, fancy hotel) literally bouncing right off us, we came to a foot-tall concrete pedestal that used to have a flowerpot on it - and came smashing to a dead stop. Same thing happened with a barely two foot-tall brick retaining wall around a parking lot. We literally had to transform back into a zillion foot-tall robot and jump - not walk - over it.

Luckily, the Decepticon campaign has much less of a problem in this area. It's focus on mostly flying and even burrowing transformers - and the less claustrophobic environs they travel - makes navigation a much simpler affair.

But it still has other problems, which leads us to the blowing stuff up bit. Your target lock can't remember what "lock" means, but it almost doesn't matter. Why? Because, even though every single transformer has bullet-spraying space-artillery, every non-grunt enemy has a force field that renders him immune to gunfire, even in vehicle mode. You do have a basic, three or four-punch combo that you'll find yourself tediously hammering out ad nauseum, but it too will be ineffective 90% of the time because these bums block so constantly, they should transform into turtles instead of vehicles.

Luckily, thrown objects like cars, trees, and chain link fences can inexplicably tear right through an opponent's guard. So your skyscraper-perforating guns and metal-shearing punches may prove useless, but your enemy has no defense against the unstoppable power of an elm sapling you've pulled up and flicked in his direction. True, even heavy projectiles like cars rarely do more than nick your foe's health bar, but they can stun him and give you a chance to squeeze in a punch or two before he resumes his invulnerable cower behind crossed forearms again. It's also tough to aim when throwing, a handicap we didn't realize until we played the Wii version, with its more strafe-friendly, far more precise controls. So much for those bombastic giant robot battles we were eagerly anticipating.

We could go on and on about the stupidity of your enemies, the number of times we tried to grab something but instead kicked it away, the unimpressive look of basically everything that isn't a robot, the HUD that keeps getting in the way, the so-shaky-you're-seasick camera, the hell that is the Hoover Dam mission thread, and a dozen other things, but our point is made. There was limitless potential here, but it's wasted. Transformers: The Game should be a sleek, cutting-edge sports car; instead, it's an old beater whose driver's seat has a spring sticking out in exactly the wrong place.

More Info

Release date: Jun 26 2007 - Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
Jun 19 2007 - PSP
Jun 26 2007 - PC (US)
Jul 20 2007 - PS2, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PS2, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Vicarious Visions, Savage Entertainment, Traveller's Tales
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence

1 comment

  • straydog626 - February 15, 2009 6:14 p.m.

    you giys are ****ers this is a %^&#en god game ****s what the ****!!!! thear i think i made my piont!!! b%&#es F%&#ers from h#$%

Showing 1-1 of 1 comment

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000