Activision invited TeamXbox down to Los Angeles recently, giving us a chance to try our hand at Transformers: The Game. The title is slated for release at the end of this month, right before the new Transformers film hits theaters in North America on July 3.
Before we were able to get our hands on the controller, Activision and developer Traveller's Tales gave us a peek and ran down the game's features. First and foremost, the companies indicated that they worked tightly with Hasbro to make sure the game would best represent the convertible toys. They also tapped Blur Studio to create an exciting intro movie that gets you in the mood for what's to come. Blur is well known to gamers for, among other things, the Halo Wars trailer that Microsoft debuted at last year's X06.
Transformers: The Game features two campaigns: One of them centers on the “good guys” Autobots, while the other focuses on the Decepticons under a “What if the bad guys won?” premise. There are nine playable Transformers, four Autobots and five Decepticons.
The game is designed to be an open world, though not as much like the Grand Theft Auto series. Here you have certain objectives to complete that'll push the story forward, beginning with Bumblebee needing to make sure Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf in the film and also voiced by him in the game) gets to a used-car lot.
The Transformers: The Game world is also much more interactive than the GTA games in that you can destroy a lot of the environment and use most anything as a weapon. When we took over, we bashed tall smoke stacks and threw chunks at enemy bots; flicked cars like they were models; and bashed buildings until they were ragged skeletons of their former selves. The developers said there would be “plenty of collateral damage,” and they weren't kidding judging by the rubble left behind after every robot-on-robot scrum.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Transformers title without plenty of vehicles. With the push of a button, at any point you can flip your current robot into a sports car, jet or other form, then back again. The game designers made sure there are opportunities to take both forms in the missions.
There are five levels in each of the campaigns, with four chapters making up each level. With various unlockables—including comics and other Transformers-related art—and achievements tied to your completion skills, there's some incentive to replaying levels after you first finish them, in order to try and snag everything.
Traveller's Tales also had the benefit of getting the actual Transformers' models from the movie, which is why the in-game models are highly detailed. Their conversion to and from a vehicle is smoothly animated. Transformers fans will surely want to spend some time scrutinizing the characters.
We played a little of each campaign to get a feel for the game. In the Autobots campaign, for instance, we had a mission to destroy a series of antennas on top of a cluster of buildings (which showed up as red markers on the helpful radar), then take out the generators that powered up those devices. Each chapter also throws a few Decepticons in at random to up the challenge, and each time one is destroyed, a heart cube is left behind, which builds back the playable character's health bar.
In another level, we had to head off a series of Decepticon cars before any of them reached a specific location. To accomplish this (and after a few failures), we figured we had to drive to a midway point and head them off, then shoot at them to pull them out of car mode and take out that batch of enemies. This process needed to be followed for a few groups of robots in order for us to progress.
In the Decepticon campaign, one of the levels involved going to a section of group of buildings and trashing them in order to find a hidden bot. Once he was out, we proceeded to render a sound thrashing on him, as a good—well, bad—Decepticon should.
Later, a level using Starscream—the Transformer that turns into a jet—we had to go from location to location to take out a series of turrets that were electrically “bolted” to and holding down a single Transformer. Again, there were a few spots where this was set up, and it was a race against time as we went through them one by one.
Throughout, the interactive gameplay is also broken up by occasional pre-rendered cutscenes that give you a chance to relax for a second and take in the Transformers battling in the streets. Much of the action takes place in a city called Tranquility, which the developers described as “like Small Town U.S.A.”
While Transformers: The Game doesn't look like it'll go down in video-game history as an epic release, it will satisfy the die-hard fans looking for a Transformers fix. And it should serve as a fun introduction of the robots to a new generation of kids who may not have been around to catch them before this.
Finally, be sure to look for a full review of the game in a few weeks, when it's ready to hit store shelves.
Just to add to Guns_LotsOfGuns post, I've been playing it for a couple of days and finished both the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns.
It's pretty easy and it's very, very repetitive and can be quite buggy in places too. If your not a big Transformers fan then you'll probably be better off either renting it or waiting for a price drop.