When the new-look Transformers models were shown off for the first time, fans moaned about Bumblebee being turned from a Volkswagen Beetle into a Chevrolet Camaro. The creators explained that it was because they didnâ€™t want their super-realistic movie to include a bright yellow clone of Disneyâ€™s Herbie, which makes perfect sense to us. Fans would have been better off campaigning to get Soundwave in the movie, although the similarly cool Shockwave makes a guest appearance in this game as a boss, which just about makes up for Soundwaveâ€™s exclusion. If heâ€™s not in the already announced sequel then thereâ€™s bound to be trouble. Mark our words.
First things first – we canâ€™t deny that developers Travellerâ€™s Tales have put effort into making it look the part. The character models are packed with detail while the transformation animations look spot on. Environments are impressively destructible – they catch fire and crumble, while wreckage litters the street ready to be picked up and become part of your arsenal. Create too much damage and citizens will start running for cover, the police will turn up, and eventually the army will be called in. You genuinely feel like youâ€™re in control of a huge robot – the screen shakes when walking, cracks in the pavement are left in your path, and if you take a blow from a rival you donâ€™t just fall over on the spot – you go flying through the air before crashing into a building or whatever’s in the way. Itâ€™s a shame that the camera doesnâ€™t always cope with the carnage.
Youâ€™re able to play as either Autobot or Decepticon factions, both of which have the same ultimate goal: seek and secure the life-giving All-Spark. The Autobots start out in the suburbs, while the Decepticons begin at a military base in the desert.
Although mainly focused on destruction, the Decepticon missions show greater ingenuity and are generally more challenging due to tougher time limits. Their opening, featuring helicopter Blackout, includes a spot of airborne dog fighting, and later you get to play as Scorponok who can tunnel underground.
The Autobot missions donâ€™t vary much from racing between checkpoints chasing Decepticons before punching them until they explode. The mission set inside the Hoover Dam is a mistake – it’s far too claustrophobic for giant robots. Another involves blowing up petrol stations to cause a diversion, which doesnâ€™t fit in with the plot at all – the Autobots vow to protect humans, not set them on fire.
The last set of missions for the Autobots hint that the developers ran out of time – theyâ€™re just a series of boss battles where very little skill is required. In fact, most bosses can be destroyed in the same way – throw something at them to weaken their shields then simply pummel them with punches. You can shoot and block, but there are no additional moves beyond the ones you start with and thereâ€™s no encouragement to transform into vehicle mode during battles. What’s more, even though the environments are expansive, most battles take place in a small circle. Leave this area and a countdown timer appears instructing you to return or fail the mission.
If all you plan to do is whiz through the storyline then you wonâ€™t get more than five, maybe six hours of play. Return to completed areas, though, and youâ€™ll find sub-missions and collectable bonuses including movie trailers and G1 transformer skins. Some of these bonuses can only be unlocked by throwing objects stupidly far distances or by performing power slides around corners, which is a nice touch. Itâ€™s also unlikely that youâ€™ll unlock all the achievements on your first play, although youâ€™ll have to be a pretty dedicated fan to want to return and unlock the more nonsensical ones like â€˜Transform 500 timesâ€™ and â€˜Ram 250 carsâ€™. Dedicated? Make that idiotic.
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