The hugely-successful Transformers movie franchise spawned a series of related games that performed nearly as well as the films; with each generation, many aspects improved. Here is an assessment of the very first, well-received product from High Moon Studios.
Transformers – The Game, the first video game that formed the massive package of advertising that went along with Transformers 2007 live-action film, was supposed to be a huge success from the get-go, with scintillating graphics displayed in the video game trailers.
Marketed as a third-person shooter, it featured a fully-interactive three-dimensional environment that faithfully mimicked the movie plot. Players could choose either the Autobot or Decepticon campaign, with each one beginning just like Transformers 2007; Bumblebee saving Sam, or Blackout destroying the military airbase.
Transformers – The Game, however, suffered from a few serious flaws – although it was still a fun game, as long as you ignored the missions and just blew stuff up. Not for that price though. As can be expected, the Decepticon missions were a lot more fun, mostly due to the sheer power that the evil robots wielded – which is rather like the situation in “real” life.
Streaming through well-drawn, but poorly-lighted environments in repetitive cities can get tiresome for the goal-oriented player. After all, just because graphics are beautiful, doesn’t mean we want to see the same ones every other level.
Optimus Prime and other mighty robots weren’t allowed to do much, which was puzzling until the realization hits you that the programming and time investment to make this better simply wasn’t necessary; you have the game, after all.
Even when you had some seriously destructive weapons, the game designers decided to make them useless against Decepticons, so you’re only chance to see them in action was to skip a mission and just go off on your own and blow up trees and cars. It could be satisfying… for a little while.
Basically, it seemed as though Transformers: The Game suffered from precisely the same thing as all the movies suffered from: they didn’t have to concern themselves too much with creativity and plot strength because, hey, it’s the Robots, Themselves, and with such a strong fan base, everyone’s going to come and see it anyway.
Other than this line of reasoning, there is little excuse for the failure of the physics engine to do things right – chalk this up to rushed programming – when there are comparable games out there that pretty much get it right.
Unfortunately, although the game was capable of providing entertainment in a pure, mindless environmental shoot-whatever-you-see mode, this makes it little different from some Atari game or other, except for the visuals. It looks like Activision and crew chose advertising over quality this time around