Transformers (PS2)

by Obsidian

Transformers is a third person action / adventure game set in recent Armada universe. For you older fans, this is not the same storyline you remember from the 80s cartoon. It is quite similar, and some favorites like Megatron, Starscream and Optimus Prime have returned, but those of you expecting some retro-80s goodness are in for a shock.

In this version of Transformers, Megatron has nearly gained control of Cybertron with the help of his Decepticlone army when he receives a signal from a lost race of Transformers known as the Minicons. These Minicons can combine with larger Transformers (both Autobots and Decepticons) to enhance their abilities. These power-ups include weapon upgrades, stealth & shield upgrades, a glider and all kinds of other nifty stuff. Essentially your goal is to find all of these little guys and use them to help you kick the Decepticons shiny metal butts.

I’ll admit right now that I’m a huge Transformers fan, but was expecting a pretty ho-hum game due to the fact that it was based on Armada. The toy line was overly gimmicky thanks to the Minicons and was backed up by a 52 episode mess of a cartoon featuring awful plotlines and sub-standard animation. However, these Minicons work exceptionally well in a game setting. Rather than getting granted jump power-up number two after completing a level, you can find power-ups by exploring the levels and equipping a Minicon complement suited to your current mission. You can choose a load-out of up to four Minicons, but can not simply equip all the most powerful ones and head out to conquer. Each one affects your power output, and certain combinations will overload you. This means there is some strategy involved when choosing your load-out, and is a good part of the fun of this game.

Speaking of exploring, you will be doing a lot of that in Transformers. The levels in this game are HUGE, and incredibly detailed. I found myself walking around a lot of the time simply marveling at how good this game looks. You’ll travel through lush rainforests, snowy mountain ranges and all kinds of places in between. The character models look just as good as the environments and are animated well; and there are a ton of enemies, all of which look and behave differently.

The controls are a little less forgiving. You will die in this game. A lot. The movement of your Autobot of choice (Optimus Prime, Red Alert or Hot Shot) is moved with the left analog stick and your right controls your aim. At the two hour mark I was still having trouble aiming and moving effectively, but after a while it just sort of clicks and you don’t have to think about it anymore.

Each of the selectable characters has pros and cons and can transform at the touch of a button. That’s right, no funky combos or anything complicated, just push Triangle and you’re done. The transforming feature is cool; it’s fun to drive around in vehicle mode. There are some spots where you will need to transform, and it can be useful for dodging / outrunning enemy fire, but you’ll spend most of your time in robot mode.

Finally, like any true action game there are bosses to fight. In keeping with the overall appearance of the game, the boss fights are a sight to see. I won’t give away too much here, but each one is quite a challenge, and my first boss fight took nearly 20 minutes to succeed at! As you go through the game completing various mission objectives and defeating bosses you will be treated to some great looking CG cut scenes that advance the story. The story is a little thing, but is enough to keep you focused on what to do next, which is all you really need.

If you like free-roaming action / adventure games, Transforming robots, beautiful graphics or transforming robots I highly recommend you try this game. If you’re looking for a simple game you can blast through in three to four hours you might want to look somewhere else.

  • Transformers (PS2)
  • by Obsidian
  • Published on June 1st, 2004

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