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TransFormers (PlayStation 2)

76
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  optrirominiluikus (112)
Written on  :  Sep 01, 2006
Rating  :  3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars

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Summary

Over-hyped and underrated

The Good

First impressions last, and what I will probably remember most about this game in ten years is that Melbourne House used the Playstation 2's graphic hardware in ways I had never seen before, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful draw distance. It is almost like Far Cry, says my eyes, and my mind is bound to agree. Climbing the mountains and gazing out over that beautiful first level is a lot like the first time I ever sailed out on the great sea in Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker or the first time I saw the light of day in the aforementioned Far Cry. It was stunning. And it still is, the graphics are super, but that's not why this game is so good.
The action is top-notch, this really feels like Transformers should feel, heavy and brutal mechanical battle goodness. The weapons are not spectacular, but there is enough variation that you can try different tactics, and thanks to some gadgets and the fantastic view distance you can actually stand on a, say, hilltop, and watch your enemies for a while before launching your attack.
There are several kinds of standard enemies; we have the small Decepticlones (nice name, huh?) that die from small arms fire, the slightly bigger ones that can sustain a bit more damage, and sometimes wear shields. Then we have the missile launching giants, the laser spiders, the flying robots, the laser snipers and the powerleeching gorillas. There are some other minor types, too, but you mostly encounter the first four mentioned above. Choosing which Autobot you should use isn't really that important, personally I go with Optimus Prime all the time, because even if he's slow, he can take a punch or two before going down, and trust me, you'll need it.
Boss fights are quite tricky, you encounter some famous ones, Starscream, Cyclonus, and Tidal Wave. Tidal Wave must be the "coolest" boss I have seen in a game for a long time. Think about Shadow of the Colossus, and you'll get an idea. Quick reflexes and a careful consideration as to which Mini-Cons you should equip are required for success.

The Bad

There are some control issues, and it feels like Optimus Prime (or which of the other two you use) isn't nearly as powerful as he should be for the later stages of the game, it's quite hard - stupid hard - with too many enemies that are slightly tougher than your average popcorn-type enemies (one shot, one kill-type) at one time. Overall the difficulty is good, but sometimes... The story is not really worth mentioning, it's the standard fare; evil boss threatens world, noble hero saves world. Other than that I can't really think of anything, except perhaps the bit about collecting stuff. There are two types of stuff to grab; Mini-Cons (basically small Transformers that grant special abilities and weapons) and Data-Cons. Data-Cons just unlock extra material, and Mini-Cons are essential for your survival. The problem is that there is no way to tell the difference between the two unless you get close. They all glow with the same yellow light, you see. And fighting hordes of evil robots through hard terrain, suffering heavy damage and seriously hurting your thumbs just to find that you fought well and hard for an ugly render of some basic Transformer that you won't even look at... well, it's annoying sometimes.

The Bottom Line

Every magazine review I have read says the same thing; Transformers is fantastic, Transformers is next-gen graphics on the graphically challenged Playstation 2, Transformers is the best toy license game yet, and so on. But the players I have talked with pretty much all say the same thing; it's overhyped, and I sit somewhere in the middle.

I love this game, I think it's great, but by no means fantastic like some would have it, and neither is it a bad game at all, I find no boredom, the difficulty level is almost perfect when running on the Veteran (normal) difficulty setting, and controls, graphics and sound are all good. Sure, it's tough but almost never unfair - except perhaps on the last level sometimes - and the physics sometimes cause problems...but seriously, how often do you see a ten ton bipedal robot walk, run and jump like this? This is a great action game, looks and plays great, sounds totally ok but nothing special, and it's long enough, with lots of stuff to collect, that you won't finish it in one day, or even one week. Big plus for the Tidal Wave boss fight.