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August 13, 2007
Transformers - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
20/7/2007ActivisionActivisionTraveller's Tales1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Transformers is based on the upcoming movie.
In the past Transformers have been small toy cars, planes and trucks that turn into giant robots that children seemed to enjoy. The fanbase has gone up significantly this year with the release of the Michael Bay movie in cinemas. It was a spectacle enjoyed by millions of fans around the globe and to date has already amassed $US600 million with many countries yet to see the movie open. As with many other big (American) summer movies there is a game tie-in and it was one we were keen to see following the superb PS2 game (reviewed here) - despite the fact that the PS2 title was developed and distributed to different companies. At the very least it would provide a benchmark to build from. Right? Well sometimes things don't work out as you would hope do they...

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Firing at the enemy.
Transformers: The Game follows the plot of the movie, and basically all transformers mythology, fairly closely. Essentially two sides are about to battle, and Earth is the staging ground. On the good side we have the Autobots who chose to protect us, and on the bad side are the Decepticons who are out to destroy anything, or anyone, that gets in their way. One of the best things about this game is that upon starting you can select which side you would like to be on - good or evil. Transformers: The Game gives you 4 Autobots (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide and Jazz) to control and 5 Decepticons (Megatron, Starscream, Blackout, Skorponok and Barricade) - although there are a couple of unlockables as well including G1 Optimus Prime and G1 Megatron. We have to admit the number of Transformers is a little low for our liking.

This third person action game takes place over several fairly large levels. The objectives though are pretty much the same find the objective (usually another Transformer or two) and then destroy it. As a Transformer you will be able to use melee combat, or ranged combat. The ranged combat is certainly the most entertaining as the Transformers can pick up parts of the world to use as objects to throw. These include lamps, cars, trees, fences or pretty much anything else in the world. In fact, for the majority of the game you'll probably revert to these ranged attacks as they offer the safest means of taking out enemies. Overall though the combat feels way to simplistic. The melee combat simply turns into a button mashing affair with little deviation from hitting the buttons as quickly as possible. The good news, and where most of the entertainment is found, is that the levels are fully destructible - although if you're playing on the Autobot side this is discouraged. The game also allows Sixaxis control for the flight of vehicles, but much like every other game so far it feels tacked on, and actually distracts from the main game (actually, in this case that may not be such a bad thing!). The game engine runs smoothly enough, but that doesn't mean there's a lot happening on-screen as it can be a little static, and the cameras could have been tightened up as well as you'll be panning around quite a bit to find enemies.

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It might be time to get out of the way!
There's certainly some disappointments with Transformers: The Game. Firstly the actualy combat is fairly boring, it often degerates into a button mashing affair and becomes pretty dull and repetitive after only a couple of missions - and that's despite using different Transformers. Picking up objects is also infuriating at times as you must be in just the right position, or at exactly the right angle in order to pick the items up to use as weapons or projectiles. Even more criminal though is the short length of the game in part due to the ease from start to end. You should be able to get through the game in a couple of hours. Charging the full $AU119.95 for this game is a disgrace, it should be closer to $AU89.95 as some games are - and even then you're being ripped off.

Another major disappointment is that the game lacks any form of multi-player. Think about it - giant robots running around a level destroying each other, and everything in their path. It doesn't get more perfectly suited to multi-player then that. While we can understand there may not have been time to implement online gameplay - given that the game had to be released at the same time as the movie - not including even a split-screen mode is extremely disappointing.

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Using objects as weapons.
Upon first starting this game I was quite hopeful. The opening pre-rendered CG intro is quite brilliant with a couple of shots that I would have even loved to see in the feature movie with some gorgeous action sequences and camerawork. Whoever scripted and designed the opening intro movie deserves a pat on the back. When Transformers: The Game starts though things fall apart. Now we must first mention that the Transformers themselves look superb, not as detailed as those in the movie, but close enough for a video game and that's not surprising given the developers worked closely with both ILM and Dreamworks to ensure authenticity.

Where it all falls apart though is the in-game graphics. To put it bluntly the graphics look - for the most part - like dog shit. The backgrounds and game worlds are dull, poorly textured, sparsely populated and a complete bore to look at and explore. While we understand that the amount of destruction in the game world limits the amount of memory available, this simply doesn't look like a next-gen title.

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Transformer modeling is very impressive.
Audio in the game is highlighted with the inclusion of Frank Welker as the voice of Megatron (in the movie he was voiced by Hugo Weaving) and Peter Cullen voicing Optimus Prime. These voices certainly add some authenticity to the game - and fans of the original TV series will be in geek heaven to hear the voices booming out of the speakers. The music is pretty average, and as soon as you turn off the system you're unlikely to remember s single beat of it. The sound effects are also a little on the weak side - you certainly don't get the same impression of size of the transformers from the audio then you did in the cinemas.

I really wanted Transformers to be good but, to be honestly blunt, it sucked. It was too short. The graphics were not even close to next-gen. The sound was average. The gameplay dull. This is really for die-hard Transformers fans only, casual gamers will not be impressed. Expect this to hit the bargain bins pretty quickly - which is exactly where it should be!

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSTranformers look ok, destructable worlds; it doesn't look next-gen.
SOUNDSome voice acting but weak effects and poor music.
GAMEPLAYI expect more from this game. It's repetitive and uninspiring.
VALUEUmmm, did someone forget to include most of the game. Too short!
OVERALLTransformers was a brilliant movie but this game just doesn't live up to the license. It's OK, but quite short and uninspiring overall.

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