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Transformers review
Transformers: Robots in Disguise


Based on the cartoon series (2nd generation), Transformers is a very good game overall. The basic premise involves you playing as one of three selectable Autobots as you set out over vast and beautiful landscapes to destroy and thwart the plans of the evil Decepticons. The game is beautifully rendered and runs almost flawlessly on the PS2 and let's face it, Transformers rock!!!

STORY 9/10
The story is your basic good versus evil where you fight your way through a level only to face a huge and usually oversized boss at the end. Everything is tied together with wonderfully crafter CG cutscenes as well as intermittent radio wave transmissions. As you progress through the game the enemies become bigger and harder to defeat but the storyline never really seems to falter or become dry and tedious. It could have been a little longer but meh, gameplay is really where it's at anyways right?

The controls are very good in my opinion. Transforming is done with absolute ease and the each of the controllers buttons are utilized to near perfection. Walking can be a little clunky and slow at times but you get used to it very quickly and win't even notice it much after a while. The weaponry sytem is also well thought out and with all of the various options available you can fly, go into turbo mode, zoom in better etc. etc. Driving controls are also good although in rougher terrain you often flip very easily. Solution: Transform and roll out.

Transformers is basically a free roaming game with multiple different landscapes. There are save points all along the way which is good and as you progress through different types of consistently tougher enemies, you can collect tons of Datacons (Unlockable extras) and Mini Cons (Weapon/Ability upgrades) along the way. The MiniCons are what make this game so cool. Depending on what loadout (combination) you use you can have all types of weapons, shields, skills like gliding or stealth etc. etc. The variety is truly a plus and in many cases necessary. In addition to the shooting you will also need to employ a certain amount of strategy when it comes to finding ways in and out of areas. Some levels will require you to navigate your way around a starship with multiple paths and hatches whereas others are wide open expanses like the Alaskan wilderness. In terms of difficulty there are several to choose from and as you might imagine, they go from challenging to insane. A couple more secrets or unlockables would have been great. Perhaps getting to play as the enemy or some sort of temporary enemy control would have added to the fun.

The graphics are absolutely gorgeous in this game. The different landscapes include the Amazon jungle complete with ancient ruins and villages to beautiful Pacific Islands complete with majestic views from incredibly high mountain peaks. There are Alaskan wilderness levels, Spaceship to explore and even a fight out in the Mid Atlantic. The character animations are pretty good overall and the weaponry variation unique. One really nice touch is the effects of destroying an enemy Decepticon. The robot simply explodes into multiple pieces which then scatter around the area before disappearing. Every little detail was thought of when they worked on the graphics and I must say that some of the views you can get are absolutely magnificent.

The camera angles are pretty good overall. There are times when it can get a little clunky (e.g trying to climb up inside the Mountain Cave, Navigating around narrow ledges) but other than that the third person perspective works fine. When in first Person Mode you really can control the camera to your hearts desire by also being able to zoom in multiple times for long distance shots and also for simply getting an idea of what lies ahead. All in all the camera serves its purpose well in the game for the most part.

FMV's, MUSIC and SFX 9/10
FMV's are beautifully rendered although cartoony but then again, Transformers is a cartoon after all. Cinematics look good and everything draws you into the fantasy of it all with the possible exception of perhaps the dying boss animations. Some of them look a little cheesy to me. The ambient level music selection is really nice and the music always switches to a more nerve wracking variety when danger looms or an ambush begins. I enjoyed the music selections though. It ties in really well with the dramatic scenery of the various levels you get to play through. SFX are also well done. The weapons all sound unique and explosions sound really believable when coupled with the stunning visuals. And who can forget the good old transforming sound? They hit it right on the mark.

Replay value is somewhat questionable I think. There are many Mini Cons and Data Cons to find but once you have done that there really isn't much to do anymore other than just shoot Decepticons in the area. The three difficulty settings do provide an added challenge, the hardest of which also has each Mini Con and Data Con hidden in a different spot which can certainly add time to your efforts. All in all though once you have completed the story based missions (about 7 hours) it will boil down to how much tolerance you have just collecting each item again in a harder mode. The extras (Unlocked by finding Mini Cons) do offer quite a few things to view including the old G1 television spots as well as character renderings and storyboards.

Overall I think Transformers is a very good game. The initial play through is absolutely engrossing and addictive but sadly once that portion is over, the replay value will leave you longing for more to do. Gameplay is very good, the story is very good, Graphics are extremely nice and the cutscenes and music selections are also exceptionally well done. This game is certainly worthy of owning but depending on the type of gamer you are, a rental will suffice. You can complete this game easily during a rental period, probably with time to spare.

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