Movie licensed games have generally sucked something fierce. Very rarely are any of them ever any good, and the same goes for movies based on videogames. Something gets lost in translation. Development is typically rushed to coincide with simultaneous launches, and gamers are the ones who suffer the most. There are a few diamonds in the rough (X-Men Origins: Wolverine was pretty good), but they’re few and far between. Activision and Luxoflux’s adaption of the second Transformers cinematic masterpiece falls somewhere in between.
Truth be told, I wanted to reenact Gamefly’s “Bad Game” commercial and throw the disc out the window. I thought to myself, “Another shitty game based on a movie. And they ruined a childhood favorite. Great.” I actually blacked out from the rage and ‘woke up’ on the other side of my apartment with torn and tattered clothing. True story.
But my anger subsided rather quickly once I managed to reprogram my brain to work with the new control scheme. You see, transforming from a robot state to automobile state is the most frustrating thing about this game. Instead of a single button tap to go from robot to car or vice-versa, you have to hold down the right trigger button, which also acts as the accelerator. And it’s also the weapon trigger when you’re in robot mode. You can see how that would get confusing and irritating. Too many times I ended up transforming when all I wanted to do was try and shoot a Decepticon.
This, as you can imagine, is a huge problem. The control scheme changes from one form to another with very little continuity. As much as I want to blame Luxoflux for screwing this up, I just can’t. I’ve racked my brain over different control schemes to make the game better, but I can’t. It’s something that you have to deal with throughout the entire game and it doesn’t hinder you during multiplayer either because everyone else is probably having the same issue. Oh yeah, trying to get a headshot (regardless of which Transformer you are) from hundreds of yards away is nearly impossible. You can’t even see the enemy’s freaking head!
With that being said, another minor fault with the game are the missions. You can pick between Autobot or Decepticon campaigns, but there are very few missions and they tend to be repetitive. However, if you’re like me then you’re going to repeat each mission to collect enough Energon cubes to unlock G1 episodes (among many unlockables) or attempt to finish in time to grab platinum status and crack the leaderboard. And having two separate campaigns adds a smidge of variety to keep the game interesting. You are, after all, a freaking Autobot/Decepticon and that is pretty damn awesome. But is that enough?
It is, but barely. The overall storyline is nonexistent, and as much as I hate cut scenes there are only a few that don’t lend anything to the overall story. The ending was pretty lackluster, too. And thanks for making me sit through the entire ending credits before taking me back to the main menu, Luxoflux.
Sounds like I hate the game, huh? Well, I don’t. I actually think it has a lot of replay value despite its many shortcomings. The multiplayer mode and unlockables are enough to keep me playing and worth checking out if you haven’t already played this title. It’s better than the first so there’s always that. And Ironhide is probably the best character to play with. Just sayin’.
But does it appease and appeal to the existing Transformers fan base? It does for this fanboi. A few months back, I previewed the game and the folks from Luxo and Activision hinted that there might be some unlockable skins for certain characters, which I immediately took interest to. The G1 cartoons are there, but I was disappointed that the only characters with changeable ‘skins’ are Ironhide (black/grey to red/yellow) and Breakaway. It would have been nice to unlock the real Bumblebee, but alas, the little VW Bug is nowhere to be seen and we’re stuck with that abomination of a Camaro. So, yes, I think the existing fans will enjoy the game and new Transformers fans won’t know any different. It’s good enough and thus falls in between a great game and a craptacular one.