Transformers: Autobots

Obviously having paid a recent visit to Nintendo’s School of Pokemon Milking, Activision decided to release two Transformers games on DS – one starring the Autobots, the other the Decepticons. We aren’t stupid enough to buy both, but apparently they’re suitably different – not only do you get to play through the game from a different perspective, but each version also has an exclusive level. We’ve gone for the Autobot version, as the new-look Megatron is a bit too mechanised for our liking, while Starscream looks like one of those triangle chocolates you get in a box of Quality Street.

Transformers: AutobotsAfter an impressive FMV intro, you’re cast in the role of a nameless ‘naked’ Transformer. This alone makes it stand out frpm its pretty but soulless console counterparts, the idea being to scan and steal the identities of other vehicles. Sometimes you’ll be mid-battle and a truck or such with a cool custom paint job will zoom past, so you’ll find yourself turning your back on the battle just to chase, scan and then transform into it. Anything than encourages exploration is good in our book (tip: car parks are a good place to visit) and you aren’t just limited to cars either – later you need to scan and turn into a helicopter for an escort mission. Don’t worry: Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhide and Metal Mickey are still playable characters.

Another feature present that the console versions are lacking is an online mode. It’s pretty ingenious: addition to four-player death matches, everyday a new challenge is available to download. These are score-based and whichever faction gets the highest collective score at the end of the day wins a shard of the All-Spark artefact. The next day you can log on and see how you did compared to other gamers, and also see how much of the All-Spark each faction currently owns.

Considering it’s the first time an open 3D world has been attempted on the DS, it has turned out to be surprisingly good. Like the console versions you can throw objects around and use trees and lampposts as weapons. The developers have even had a go at some 3D explosions and including some light RPG overtones, like experience points and upgradeable arsenal. The robots themselves look a little angular and the 3D visuals aren’t super detailed, but the environments are varied. The story is better explained too, with frequent cut-scenes filled with crystal clear speech. Fans will easily spot that it expands on nuances from the cartoon series, like Optimus Prime and Megatron being brothers. Oops. Is it too late to warn of a spoiler?

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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