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TransFormers (PlayStation 2)

76
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  CKeen The Great (145)
Written on  :  Dec 06, 2011
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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Summary

One of the best, most challenging games for PS2.

The Good

Holy cow, this game is amazing. And it's also incredibly underrated! Almost nobody I know has played this game but I think it's about time it gets the recognition it deserves. Transformers is apparently based on the Armada series featuring the same characters from the show, but the game isn't particularly storyline-heavy and it is perfectly accessible to non-Transformers fans (I'm not a Transformers fan myself).

So, what's this all about? The Transformers are huge robots native to the player Cybertron which are split into two different factions: The Autobots, defenders of equality and justice led by Optimus Prime and the Decepticons, evil tyrants who want to conquer the galaxy led by Megatron. As the war goes on on Cybertron another race of robots known as the Mini-cons, very small robots with the ability to fuse with the Transformers allowing them to gain new weapons, flee the planet and their starship crashes into the Earth. Both the Autobots and the Decepticons then land on the planet in hope of capturing as many Mini-Cons as possible and finally gaining the upper hand in the war.

You can take control of one of three Autobots: Optimus Prime, Red Alert and Hot Shot. Each of the three characters can walk on foot and use various weapons, jump and so on, but they can also transform at any given time into a vehicle. Each character has a different transformation, with Optimus Prime being a very strong Truck, Red Alert an off-road car and Hot Shot a very fast racing car. Each characters also have different stats like speed and defense. But to be perfectly honest, Optimus Prime is pretty much the only one I can use to full effect since the other ones simply can't take enough damage before they die.

Which leads us to a major point of the game. This is without a doubt one of the hardest games I have ever played, even on the "Easy" setting. The game throws a LOT of enemies at you (some of which are very big), and the boss fights are incredibly challenging. There's all kinds of foot soldiers, mechas, starships, exploration drones, battle commanders, artillery pieces and many other enemies trying to tear you into pieces, and you'll have to fight them both on foot and on wheel if you want to win!

The main objective of the game is as already stated to collect as many Mini-Cons as possible. Each Mini-Con is actually a weapon or a powerup, however, which you can equip to your Transformer. Since there's about... 8? Mini-Cons in a level, that's a LOT of weapons you can equip, and some of them are simply awesome. There's a heat seeking rocket launcher, an electric pulse gun, a super-charge plasma gun which can fire huge projectiles if charged enough, a protective shield, increased armor, increased melee combat, grenade launchers, enhanced blasters, enhanced jumpers and even a Mini-Con which allows you to fly AND use the grenade launcher to drop grenades while flying, basically turning you into a bomber plane!

Gaining Mini-Cons will be no easy task, however. Other than the many Decepticons guarding the Mini-Cons, you'll have to find them first. Another big point of the game is the fact that the levels are HUGE and wide open! This isn't a completely linear third person shooter like Ratchet & Clank, but it involves a great deal of exploration and sometimes the levels may remind you of Shadow of the Colossus because of how big they are, and even though they're significantly smaller than the huge, single level in SotC, they are MUCH better looking, much more colorful and most importantly much more alive, as there's enemies waiting for you at every spot. But the levels definitely look great as you explore the Amazon Forest, the South Pole, the Atlantic ocean and other locations to stop the Decepticon army. Each place features very high quality graphics and even though there's more than one amazon level and more than one ice level (you'd think they could use a few more additional themes), they all look great in their own right. Shadow of the Colossus is generally cited as being very innovative thanks to the "open level" approach, but Transformers did it first as it was released one year before that game, and to be frank, Shadow of the Colossus is just boring while this game is a lot of fun. And if you think this doesn't have a giant boss well be prepared to be proven wrong because it does. It's Tidal Wave, one of the biggest and most bad ass video game bosses EVER made.

The game's AI is also quite effective. Enemies won't just run at you firing blindly but they will attempt to take cover, jump above obstacles and pick alternate routes to ambush you, making the fights very satisfying. The sound department is equally effective, with some very catchy tracks which become "heavier" when you're in the middle of a battle, and good explosion and weapon sounds.

The Bad

The game doesn't do anything particularly wrong to be honest (if you can stomach its extreme difficulty), but it's what it doesn't do that might disappoint some gamers. First of all, with such a powerful engine it's kind of a shame that there's such a limited number of levels. Sure, they're very fun to play and are very large thus take a long time to finish, but there are no levels set in a human city for example. Just think about how awesome that would have been.

Also from what I understand, one of the main Decepticons from Armada, Demolisher, seems to be missing. There is concept artwork for him in the bonus section but he never shows up in game. It would have been awesome if there was a desert stage with him at the end boss since he seems to fit well for deserts.

Lastly, I'm kind of disappointed there are no Mini-Cons that allow you to gain vehicle weapons. Sure, running over decepticons while transformed is a lot of fun but that doesn't do a damn thing to the bigger enemies which show up very often later on.

Overall I'd say the biggest problem of the game is that it's so good that it makes you wish it was longer.

The Bottom Line

To conclude, Transformers is an excellent game and one of the best third person shooters for the PS2. Its incredible challenge will surely make you frustrated quite a few times, but this also makes the game incredibly rewarding once you manage to get past a very hard part. Highly underrated, and highly recommended.