Why? Because in the concept phase of this game, it wasn't all bad; you're given three different types of damage that the various Transformers can deal, swapping from melee to normal beam weapons. Enemies are vulnerable to these affinities and strong against the rest, creating a neat kind of forced swapping between your two different robots you can take into battle. Swapping is, frankly, almost constant, but it also creates a weird kind of handicap if one of your characters has fallen because a bunch of enemies have to be felled to revive them. Sure, there's regenerating health and energy (used to fire your projectiles), but often this can mean that you're ill-equipped to fight a room of enemies if your buddy has gone down, which can end your adventure rather quickly when pestering enemies (like the aforementioned robo-bees) are present and being regurgitated rather steadily from their hives on walls.
Developer Vicarious Visions even tried to mix up some of the level designs, rewarding players for picking multiple Transformer types that were small and could fit through spaces, burly and could smash through walls in vehicle form or could fly through high-up openings, but these were apparently an effort to encourage replay value for the usual hidden trinkets (in this case Energon Cubes for experience or Data Discs that can be equipped pre-mission to boost stats for both Transformers).
The whole experience system is interesting in that you're encouraged to fight enemies, but that combat is so boring and troublesome when you can be blasted off platforms by melee-based enemies that it becomes almost better to run past them just to get to the next stupid door switch and move on. The idea is that as you level up, you're allowed to build your stats pre-mission in strength (armor), strength (attacks) and regeneration (the refill speed of your health/energy bars), but again this is only useful if you actually want to keep playing. Which you won't. At all.
We would love to applaud the game's visuals, replete with animated textures and some neat transforming animations, but honestly the game looks painfully corridor-based, and when you get out into the open that often means a bunch of frustrating jumping sections that are hampered by the d-pad-based controls. The audio, too, could be praised for maybe offering the odd sound bite from the voice actors but the only time you'll hear them aside from being beaten over the head by duplicate quips when swapping characters is in the pre-mission briefings; in-mission it's pure text.
We completely understand the need to scale things down for the DS; it's not an enviable task, but things like constant falling deaths on the Decepticon side and boring, constant combat on the Autobot one mean neither of the ridiculously stupid two offerings are any fun. This is a game that starts out boring and ends in complete frustration - no matter what version you actually choose. So don't - don't choose. Either. They're both massive wastes of your money and would be better spent, combined, on the far more entertaining HD versions.
Jun 29, 2010