Transformers: The Game Review
After playing the two console versions of Transformers, both of which were nearly identical, I thought it'd be nice to see the different PSP version, seeing as how it was done by another developer and has different features. Yet again, I found myself meeting with disappointment for the third consecutive time, more so than before. Transformers for the PSP is actually worse than the PS2 and PS3 versions significantly. The entire game is dumbed down, plays far worse, and is more linear than the console versions.
Transformers makes a poor first impression on you as soon as you start playing it. Visually, it seems to be stuck somewhere in between an Nintendo 64 and PlayStation game running in a slightly better resolution. This is most certainly not anywhere near even a 10th of the PSP's true potential.
Terrible geometry, hideous draw-in distances, repetitive textures, and some of the worst animation issues I've seen make Transformers one of the worst looking PSP games to date. What's weird is that, unlike the PS2 and PS3 versions, the CG movies are actually well compressed and don't have image artifacts marring the entire screen. But when you have visuals as bad as this, it's not something you're going to really care too much about. Nothing about the bots makes them pop or stand out, and the amount of detail is astonishingly bad. The textures are so poor and flat that it's almost comical. Not even the framerate was decent, seeing as how it stuttered frequently.
Where as on the PS2 and PS3 versions you're able to switch between playing as an Autobot or Decepticon, the PSP version doesn't let you do that. Instead, you'll play a few missions with the Autobots, and then a few as a Decepticon and that makes the game a lot more linear. The PSP version basically takes whatever shrivel of fun the console versions has, and downsizes it some more, leaving you with a dried-up product.
Gameplay features nothing that you haven't experienced before. Your bots can punch, jump, shoot two kinds of attacks, block, struggle to pickup nearby objects and hurl them. Oh, and of course, then you get to transform into a car or aircraft and drive around sometimes shooting stuff down. Boring. There's absolutely no sense of scope, nothing grand about the game. The adventure is linear, and the fights are beyond tedious and unimaginative. And as far as the missions go, they tend to last no more than five minutes each. Oh, and those are boring too.
Then there are the driving controls, which are nothing short of broken and clumsy. Maneuvering the car around is like taking control over soap. The car just slips and slides every time you try to point it somewhere, which also makes some of the chase-missions an utter pain in the ass. Then you'll find yourself struggling with the actual controls, aiming, targeting, walking around. Good luck with that.
Sure you get to play as a number of different Transformers (more than the PS2/PS3 version), but replay value is seriously lacking here, folks. The game will take about 7-10 hours to complete, at most - and that is even assuming you'll be able to tolerate the game for more than 30 minutes. And forget about the multiplayer, it's limited to ad-hoc and if the game already plays poorly, what's the point of wanting to play it with others?
Being a movie game and all, that means the thing to look out for is voice acting. Before I get to that, I should mention that in terms of sound effects, Transformers is basically deaf. Despite the chaos you cause, the explosions are barely audible, which diminishes the scale of the game greatly. Everything beyond the explosions is totally generic, and the voice acting doesn't do much to make up for any of it. Yes, Megan Fox, Shia LaBeouf and Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) voice their respective characters, but that doesn't really lend much in terms of quality. Voice acting is decent, but nothing spectacular.
If you're the informed gamer, then you expected nothing less out of Transformers. This is the epitome a game that was quickly thrown together with the most basic and juvenile concepts videogaming has. There is nothing worth your time here, as everything about Transformers The Game reeks of mediocrity. As soon as you boot the game up and notice those grainy visuals, coupled with the poorly compressed cut-scenes, you know what you're in for. From there on, nothing gets better, as the gameplay is as generic as you can imagine. Avoid Transformers, you're $40 are better spent elsewhere.
7/30/2007 Arnold Katayev