Thursday, July 30, 2009

Video Game Review: Transformers PS2

REVIEW: Transformers for PlayStation 2by: TriPredRavage
I think by now it’s safe to say that, while the Unicron Trilogy provided us with some great toys and a series to watch, the show plots weren’t all that spectacular. Which brings us to this game.

This game was delayed several times before its release, even being delayed for about a year after its original proposed release date. I can actually remember seeing a behind the scenes for the making of this game in a movie theater once. But I must say, it was worth the wait. This was the first Transformers game to do it right.

The game took only the essentials from Transformers: Armada and put them to work. This being Transformer designs, the Mini-Cons, and Unicron.

The game begins by showing the Mini-Cons escape from Cybertron and landing on Earth. We then move to Cybertron where a battle is raging and Optimus is getting whooped. This is also where we get our first classic Transformers quote spoken by David Kaye’s Armada Megatron “I would have waited an eternity for this.” A beacon then arrives from the Mini-Cons that Megatron tracks the origin of back to Earth. The Autobots and Decepticons then take their leave to Earth in order to retrieve them.

Each Mini-Con obtained can be equipped as a different weapon for your Autobot, as well as having their signature Mini-Con partner from the Armada cartoon that can Powerlinx to add power to attacks, but at the cost of draining the Autobot’s health.

Once all drop zones are completed, the Autobots return to Cybertron to defeat Unicron. The Mini-Cons Powerlinx together to form a flight-pack and cannon for the played Autobot to stand a chance against Unicron.

The game features three playable Autobots: Optimus Prime, Hotshot, and Red Alert. Several Decepticons make appearances as bosses, including: Megatron, Starscream, Cyclonus, Tidal Wave, and of course, Unicron himself.

The level designs are huge and a player can easily get lost along the way. Each level has several Space Bridge ports that act as checkpoints and ways back to the Autobot hanger to change Mini-Cons and played Autobot. Overall, the levels feature a “point A to point B” feel, with a starting point and destination to be reached.

All that said, we now get to the nitty-gritty.

This game is beautiful and features what I think are some of the best graphics the PS2 had/has to offer. The cinematic graphics are so clean and clear, the locations and robots look real, which is quite the feat for the time. The gameplay graphics are just a step below them with the reduction in quality being rather negligible.

The game also features the best rag-doll physics I have ever seen in a videogame. I know that sounds like a rather irrelevant thing to say, but it actually provides some strange entertainment to the game.

Everything is vivid and vibrant in this game. The colors are bright, the locations are expansive and detailed, and at no point is there any location that has the dark brown and grey of today’s games. Even the inside of a Decepticon aircraft carrier, which is later revealed to be Tidal Wave, is vibrant and exciting.

The voice acting in this game is great. Some veterans return, such as Garry Chalk and David Kaye reprising their roles of Optimus and Megatron respectively, as well as Daran Norris (voice of RiD Heavy Load) returning to Transformers as Red Alert, while others feature new voices to the Transformes franchise. Nonetheless, the acting is strong and the characters are played well.

There are also several scenes of homage to other Transformers titles within the game. Several characters speak classic lines, while Megatron’s death in the game is very familiar to Galvatron’s demise in Armada.

Sadly, the game does feature its incredibly small roster and only features Autobot gameplay. I personally would have at least liked to have seen Armada Jetfire enter the fray, but I understand that it would have taken away from when the Mini-Con who gives the glide ability is introduced. Of course, they could have introduced Jetfire instead of this Mini-Con, but I digress. I can excuse not being able to play as the Decepticons, but it would have been nice to have a little more variety on the Autobots’ side.

Finally, the game has an incredible amount of bonus content. From video players, to music players, to production models and concept art, it has it all. It even features classic G1 public service announcements that I found to be some of the best bonus content in the game. It’s a very fulfilling experience.

I wholeheartedly believe that this is the best Transformers game to date. Transformers games of today should be building off of this game, rather than experimenting with other things. Yes it has its FEW shortcomings, but the game itself is a great experience. You got a lot of bang for your buck and nowadays it’s even cheaper. If you passed on this game and ever thought about purchasing it, do so. Especially with its reduced price due to its five years of age, you will not be disappointed.

Next time, we move to the sandbox…

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