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It’s nice that Decepticons can wreck the environment without being admonished for doing so – too much ‘collateral damage’ can be a recipe for failure in the Autobot missions – and you can even unlock bonus extras for mindless destruction. However, it’s annoying to note that while Bumblebee can fail a mission for trashing buildings in the Autobot campaign, he seems to have been given free license while you’re playing as the Decepticons. You’re trying to block his vicious wave attack and get in close for the kill. Meanwhile, he’s busy levelling an entire suburb without any qualms. I thought he was here to protect humanity? And while I’m moaning, why did two of the environments (the desert military bases in the Decepticon campaign and the secret government base in the Autobot campaign) have to be so ludicrously dull? Brown sand, brown military buildings, orange corridors…. did the art budget suddenly run dry?
Imagine for a moment that you’re back in the eighties, and that you’re a Transformers loving child in the run up to Christmas. For months you’ve been asking for Jazz or Starscream, and beneath the Christmas tree you’ve seen a package of exactly the right size and shape. But then the big day comes, you open the parcel and find… Kevinator, a cheap Gobot knock-off who transforms into your mum’s beige Vauxhall Cavalier. Wouldn’t you be a little disappointed, maybe even heartbroken?
Well, that’s the Transformers feeling summed up. It looks like a great giant robot game, but in disguse it’s nothing more than another depressing movie tie-in that shows a glimmer of promise, then buries it beneath a mountain of half-assed missions and tedious, already well-worn gameplay. If Traveller’s Tales had had the time and the inclination to take the game’s strengths – the attractive graphics, the excellent animation, the spectacle of big robots battling on the city streets of Earth – and expand on the open-world aspects, then we might have had a winner. Instead, we have a game that consistently fails to deliver. The real tragedy is that, come this weekend, these guys will be slugging it out with the equally underwhelming Harry Potter for the top spot in the nation’s games charts while other, better titles languish in the doldrums below. Come on Autobots, is this really a world worth protecting?
Rubbish in disguise. For several glorious minute it looks like Crackdown with giant morphing robots, but then Transformers transforms into something much less exciting. Why bother?