An Hour With… Transformers 2

I’m upset no publications asked me to review this. DON’T THEY KNOW WHAT I AM? Still, it does mean I haven’t had to stick with an experience that’s roughly analogous to someone repeatedly poking a pen into my eye while muttering things I can’t quite hear. Instead, just an hour – well, more like two by my count – has been enough to form a staunch opinion about this robo-movie tie-in.

This is the plot of the game, as far as I’ve gathered. The evil Decepticons have come to Earth, and rather than just shooting the shit out of it have decided to have a series of races around a tiny handful of city blocks that are mysteriously encased inside a glowing energy field that cuts them off from the rest of the world. It is very important that the Decepticons move between a series of exactly-placed glowing spots as quickly as possible, or they won’t win as many of the points they need to, erm, take over the world or something. Decepticons love points! They also love talking to each other in incomprehensibly quiet, guttural voices.

Oh, and they also mean to become slightly stronger by collecting some inconveniently-placed graffiti of the Autobot symbol, which in turn allows them to buy power-ups. Presumably just tweaking stuff with a spanner was out of the question, then. Well, they are aliens – it’s not my place to question their ways.

The Decepticons also have to beat up some Autobots as they race around, and if they leave even one alive then one of their glowing spot destinations will remain encased inside an indestructible forcefield. The indestructible forcefields also glow.

The poor Decepticons have another handicap – they can only remain transformed into their vehicle modes if they keep a certain button held down. Should they let it go, they immediately revert to robot form. This means the Decepticons’ fingers are very tired. Even more tragically, they have to punch their foes using the tiniest button in the world. I am unsure of the Cybertronian name for it, but we Earthlings call it ‘the middle mouse button’. It hurts to click this thin, wheel-shaped control repeatedly: pity the Decepticons! Fortunately they can shoot stuff rather more easily, but even though they’re constructed from advanced alien technology that can traverse galaxies and transform into any machine instantly, they haven’t worked out how to efficiently vent heat from their guns yet, so they can only let off a few shots before the weapons lock up.

They also live in an alternate universe where there isn’t a single colour. And despite being dozens of feet tall, they are unable to damage bricks.

Man! No wonder they’re so angry.

At least, that’s the plot as I understand it. I could be wrong.

Oh, and I could have played as the Autobots instead, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the same deal. I’m not going to play this dreary, hand-abusing thing any more, but it is a little better than the first game, I think. But I might only be saying that because you can unlock entire episodes of the old cartoon series.

44 Comments

  1. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    So, Transformers: Roflcopter of the Fallen?

  2. drewski says:

    Transformers the Game 2: Somehow Worse Than The Movie

    Just when you think you’ve seen everything, they surprise you all over again.

  3. Ian says:

    “They also live in an alternate universe where there isn’t a single colour. ”

    Come on Alec, you know as well as we do that colours are for nancy-boys and n00bs.

  4. Serondal says:

    Alec you just haven’t found the button that causes the game to transform into something fun yet, but I don’t blame you if you don’t want to keep looking for it ;)

  5. Muzman says:

    In the first game some reviewer pointed out that 20ft tall robots, that can survive re-entry and things, hitting each other with aluminium breakaway streetlights is kind of stupid.
    Reportedly this particular stupid actually happens in the new film.
    Mike Bay leaves no stone un-turned.

  6. Markoff Chaney says:

    I wonder if you would have to hold down the button that makes the game stay fun the whole time too? Maybe it would be something like the PageUp key so you can’t use your mouse and have fun at the same time.

    I like the part where you collect the other guys’ tags to power up. Silly autobots, if only they hadn’t imbued their spraypaint with augmento-nanobots before they went on a bender with a can the world would be safe still.

  7. Serondal says:

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone can screw up a transformer game so badly.

    The most obvious game to make, for me, would be a 30 vs 30 FPS/3rd person combat game set in massive maps (say in between BF 2’s largest map and Arm-A’s island to give you plenty of room to zoom around in and fly around in for the planes and helicopter bots) Make all buildings destroyable and have some sort of objectives and diffrent game mods. Maybe one game mode you’re trying to protect a city from the enemy who is trying to destroy it and there is no respawn. Another you’re trying to caputre enough randomly spawning energon crystals to repair your ship and get it into orbit or some such crapier :P Maybe another one where you have to destroy the enemies based before they destroy yours (maybe combine the two so that you have to destroy their base and launch yours)

    Add in ambient humans and vehicles with a penalty to points for the autobots if they kill them and a bonus to points of the bad guys kill them and you’re pretty much done son

  8. KindredPhantom says:

    Diogo Ribeiro wins best comment of the day.

  9. Clovis says:

    Sounds like there are some annoying walls. At least we don’t have to deal with these so often anymore.

  10. jonfitt says:

    I am amazed that someone could manage to make 2 Transformers games nowadays that were not fun. It’s truly a marvel. Imagine the contusions you have to invent to make stompy robots that turn into vehicles, fight, and shoot lasers not fun.

    I played the first one for 5 minutes in a Gamestop and was appalled.

  11. Serondal says:

    The way they’ve handled the transformers peroid is sad. I mean, we’ve got all this extremly advanced technology to render them with and instead of doing some awesome designs where the transformers actaully WORK they just made them so complicated when they transform most people probably don’t notice it is all BS. Parts that are huge coming out of parts that are small and parts that open up into larger parts 20 times and random shit coming out of no where O.o

    I would much rather they trasnform in a way that makes sense and could be turned into a toy that actually works. I remember the transformer toys when I was young were made of meteal and it took pratice to get them to transform right without breaking them :P

  12. mandrill says:

    This game is what happens whent a game is designed by a committee of accountants who want to milk as much as they can out of a franchise. I’m willing to bet that the lead designer of this project was a chimp called Mwenge and wrote his ideas down by smearing his own excrement on his ‘habitat’ walls. No, sorry, I’m pretty sure you’d still end up with a better game if that was the case.

  13. Serondal says:

    I’d play an excrement smearing sim before I played this.

  14. Clovis says:

    I was really disappointed with the 5 billion moving parts Transformers as well. And then the “camera” is always shoved so far into the action that you cannot even tell what is going on. And then there’s Shea LeBouf. I don’t understand how people liked this movie.

  15. Mechalith says:

    Surviving atmospheric entry (it’s not re-entry, they didn’t start out in our atmosphere) is mostly a matter of heat dissipation. You can do significant damage to one of NASA’s orbiters with a claw hammer, so the streetlight thing isn’t totally retarded. Now, if they were blasting one another with flamethrowers, that would be impressively stupid.

    Does sound like an amazingly craptastic game though.

  16. tapanister says:

    Man, I remember a few years back a friend of mine pirated the first game (it really was a friend, I knew it was gonna be godawfull and didn’t bother wasting my bandwidth on it) – it was indeed such a waste of bandwidth that could have been used on some good porn instead.

    It’s just sad what the industry is doing with movie licenses much better than the transformers, so going through the trouble of playing even an hour of shitty cashcows like this to put a review up isn’t necessary.

    But at least the review was funny, so ,eh, the game did serve a purpose in the bigger scheme of things after all.

  17. Serondal says:

    Mechalith – I hate to be a huge nerd here but shuttles and the like that can survive entry into the atmopshere can only do so durning certain windows and at certain speeds. The autobots in this movie came blasted into the solar system and through the atmopshere at extreme speeds that would have caused an asteroid their size to explode like a nuclear bomb while they were still in the sky so . . . the fact that they could survive THAT is impressive. THEN they crashed into the surface of the earth without slowing down what so ever, again very impressive. But when you smack them with an extremly weak lamp post (that would really have just snapped since it is hollow and made out of weak metal) they seem to take extreme damage from that O.o Also their own weapons pumped heavily into their enemies chest don’t seem to do anything but falling from a building hurts them rather bad (even though they rocketed into the ground at insane speeds without any damage) and our own weapons seem to be extremely effective against them as well. All of this is very strange.

  18. Serondal says:

    Oh yea and their is Senior Lebuff. I would much rather they had Hannah Montanna and the Joanas brothers personally if they were going to go with Nickelodeon stars for the movie.

  19. MrBejeebus says:

    I dont understand what the hell this is on about, maybe its cos I don’t care about Transformers…

  20. Serondal says:

    It wouldn’t help if you did Bejeebus lol

  21. Ian says:

    Yeah, I totally hate it when those movies about giant space robots aren’t scientifically accurate. I’m in it for the mechanics, damn it!

  22. theanorak says:

    @jonfitt

    Yes. Boggles the mind. Just reading your description of the premise makes my hands twitch in anticipation. It’s easy to see how a developer might not unlock all the potential, but to make an absolute turd would take *effort*.

    @serondal (the game proposal post)

    Yes. Please send this to as many devs as possible.

  23. Optimaximal says:

    Could it well be too do with the target market? Despite the protestations of us fans, the current TF movie-verse is targeting the impressionable kids with rich parents market (and/or Wii owners).
    By comparison, stuff like Wanted: Weapons of Fate & Batman: Arkham Asylum have a player base that aren’t going to just waltz out and buy turds.

  24. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to point out that the arguably *worse* property that was Transformers Armada (think Transformers + Pokemon) actually resulted in a really shockingly good game.

    link to dailymotion.virgilio.it

    The developers behind it wanted to do a sequel too, but Atari managed to lose control of the lisence, so we get shafted by these trainwrecks.

  25. Phil H says:

    Seconding Dominic White, the Armada-based game was great fun

  26. Serondal says:

    I want a Lord of the Rings Transformer cross-over where the auto-bots get switched out with the fellowship. so a small group of 7 or so auto-bots have to fight Sauron and his minions in hand to hand combat and Prime puts the ring into his core making him ulta-powerful but ends up turning evil and destroying middle earth BUT THEN the fellowship get the all spark and destroy megatron with magic only to return and shove it into Prime’s chest, there by destroying both the all spark and the one ring which are pretty much the same thing but from different realities.

  27. Clovis says:

    Transformers + Pokemon sounds excellent! Pokemon is a really good game. I found the ability to capture animals in an RPG and then use them to be a huge advancement for the genre. They evolve and stuff too. The number of combinations of characters and whether or not to evolve them makes it surprisingly complex. The story is not actually as bad as the cartoon either. Team Rocket aren’t complete morons in the game. I kept waiting for someone to use this in an RPG aimed at adults.

  28. Sam C. says:

    @Clovis: I’ve been thinking about why the Pokemon mechanics aren’t used more as well. A Pokemon roguelike anyone? Collect Transformers/tanks/combat aircraft from salvaging your defeated opponents as you explore random landscapes? I’d buy it.

  29. Serondal says:

    I’m almost certain there is a Pokemon like roguelike (to many likes!) But I couldn’t tell you the name of it.

    There is an SNES game that is very similiar to pokemon where you collect and upgrade robots part by part, is a lot of fun.

  30. SirKicksalot says:

    Just came from the movie. They don’t fight using lamp posts.

    Pretty cool movie, but the first one was much better.

  31. Phil H says:

    @Seribdal – The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon titles are indeed rougelikes. I’ve only just managed to avoid adding them to my collection.

  32. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    You can watch the original cartoon in the game?

  33. Mr.President says:

    It is very important that the Decepticons move between a series of exactly-placed glowing spots as quickly as possible, or they won’t win as many of the points they need to, erm, take over the world or something.

    Glad to hear that the legacy of Superman’64 lives on.

  34. PC Monster says:

    I wish I felt any pride about calling this out months earlier as a piece of gaming slurry, but in reality it just makes me sad.

    As far as I’m concerned there is only one Transformers film. These two hollywood abominations have nothing to do with the franchise I’ve had such fun with over the years.

    Lastly, have you noticed even people who like the movies make excuses for them? “Hey, what do you expect from a Michael Bay movie based on toys?”

  35. M. P. says:

    But I might only be saying that because you can unlock entire episodes of the old cartoon series.

    ?????
    Did no-one pick up on this? What did he mean? Unlock the episodes to watch or unlock them as levels? Does it unlock the G1-look Transformers as well?

  36. Dominic White says:

    While G1 episodes may be a nice perk, the Aramada game went one better – the unintentionally hilarious Public Safety Announcements from the show were among the bonus items hidden around the game.

  37. Aldo says:

    I’m almost certain there is a Pokemon like roguelike (to many likes!) But I couldn’t tell you the name of it.

    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

    I think there’s a series of ‘mystery dungeon’ games which are basically branded roguelikes (i.e. Final fantasy). Not sure, though.

  38. Dominic White says:

    @Aldo – You are correct. There are a few Japanese studios that do assorted ‘light’ roguelikes, like the Shiren The Wanderer series (which can be almost as cruel as Nethack in places), Pokemon Dungeon, and the surprisingly good and absurdly cute Chocobo’s Dungeon.

    It’s a genre that’s pretty popular in the east, despite its origins in the west. Further irony – roguelikes get shat on from a great height by western critics. Go figure.

  39. Hulk Hogan says:

    Micheal BAy is so awful even things associated with things he worked on automatically become awful.

    Can you play AZ DA GHETTO BOTS 4ROM DA H00D ALL UP IN HERE LIKE SOME KIND OF ROBOT JAR-JAR-BINKS, WORD NIGGA, FA-SHO BIATCHES!!!!

  40. flash games says:

    What a shame. As I watched the movie, I kept thinking, “This is video game material.” I should have realized a movie game is a movie game, regardless of how video-game-material-esque the movie is…

  41. Dan says:

    Now that they’ve flogged the incredibly bad toys with the incredibly bad movie, and the apparently incredibly bad game, can we please get the next iteration of toys, which look mysteriously like the originals, supported by awesome games and awesome movies, perhaps taking a nice leaf out of the IDW comic series?

  42. Catastrophe says:

    I found the 2 movies really good, obviously had faults, but very enjoyable non-the-less. The games look poo mind you, but the movies were good.

    The reason they didn’t use the looks of the original Transformers in the movies was due to them finding it hard to explain why ALIEN robots looked like HUMAN vehicles. The explained it in the first movie – they can change into any mechanic/robotic object that has similar mass to them.

    I must admit though I wasn’t pleased about the Decepticon turning into a woman, Terminator stylee.

  43. Cradok says:

    I suspect that at least part of your problem with the game is that the Decepticons are all shit, with the minor exception of Sideways. The Autobots are all much better and enjoyable to play.

  44. James F says:

    I refuse to believe that this game could possibly be worse then the movie it’s based upon, if only because the movie itself was god awful.

    In all seriousness though, it sounds like they should give you the option to toggle the transformation button, or at least map it to something less stupid then the middle mouse button.