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Transformers: The Game (X360)
Publisher:  Activision Developer:  Traveller's Tales
Genre:  Action Release Date:  06/26/2007
ESRB:  Teen More Info on this Game
By Phil Theobald | June 26, 2007
Every time I play another mediocre movie-licensed game, my circuits sizzle.
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Pros Cons
Some missions can be enjoyable and challenging; lots of Transformers fan service. Combat is sloppy; driving controls are floaty; missions begin to feel repetitive.

Like many guys my age, I grew up watching The Transformers after school. And like everyone else, I felt the knife in my heart when I first saw the new robot designs for Michael Bay's upcoming movie based on the '80s cult phenomenon. Time (and some kick-ass trailers) healed all wounds, however, and I have grown to accept these new interpretations of Optimus Prime, Megatron, and the other citizens of Cybertron. With my excitement over the new movie growing, I was really looking forward to playing this game. Besides, my Transformers fanboy-itude caused me to slog through the horrible Japanese Generation 1 Transformers title for PS2 -- this new game had to be better than that one.

Luckily for everyone, it is, but it's still not nearly as good as it should have been. Following the plot of the movie, the game centers around the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons coming to Earth in search of the AllSpark, a mysterious, cube-shaped relic that is the source of the Transformers' power. There are two separate campaigns to play, one for each of the warring factions. Although there is some overlap in the maps that both sides fight on, there are a few unique stages for each.

Each level is an open map that you're free to explore. At first, there's not much to do except wander around and search for hidden objects like Energon Cubes and hidden faction symbols. These items unlock secret goodies in the aptly named Bonus Features menu. As you roam around, you'll have to fight the occasional enemy drone, but your main enemy will be local law enforcement. The game is designed to make you take advantage of your "robot in disguise" status. As long as you're in vehicle mode, the locals will ignore you. Once they see a 20-foot robot stomping down Main Street, however, they open fire.

To start actual missions, look for a glowing pillar within the level. Heading into it triggers the next event in the storyline. After clearing a few missions on the current map, the level will be complete and you move on to the next map. If you haven't collected all the items in the stage, you're free to revisit past maps and even replay the previous missions. Typically, the missions involve fighting a group of enemies, then transforming and speeding to the next "Action Zone" before a timer runs out. The missions are typically pretty fun, but this pattern results in a lot of the missions feeling the same. The sometimes-arbitrary time limits placed on the missions seem to be just an excuse to force you to transform since the Transformers' vehicle modes are much faster than their robot modes.

Here's where the problems start to pop up. When controlling a "car" Transformer, you'll find that the controls are extremely floaty, as if there is little weight to the vehicle. Bumping into an obstacle sends you careening out of control, and it's extremely easy to get caught in the scenery. I often found it easier to transform and walk back onto the road than to deal with the awkward car physics. Considering that one of the coolest aspects of the Transformers series is that these giant robots can turn into cars, I shouldn't dread having to do that in the game.


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