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Blackjack's review: Transformers Movie Game (Wii)

The 2007 Transformers Movie was a smashing hit, so it's no surprise that it would be adapted into games. Other than the PSP and Nintendo DS versions, there's the 'main' console games, i.e. PS2, XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, PC etc. Seeing that I only own a Wii (as well as a PS1 and a couple GameBoys), I had to make do with this version of the game.

Unlike the ROTF version of the game (ROTF has two versions for the consoles. XBOX/PS3/PC = best game; Wii/PS2 = crappy), the 2007 Movie game is simply fantastic in all versions of the game, especially when you compare it to the Wii version of the ROTF game.

Oh, and this is my very first game review, so bear with me.

First off, there are two campaigns, Autobot and Decepticon. Each campaign is further divided into five levels, each level with four missions, plus a Cybertron mission for both campaigns. The Autobot campaign takes place in Tranquility for the first two levels, Hoover Dam, and Mission City for the final two levels. The Autobot campaign basically follows the movie storyline, but with a few minor details. The Decepticon campaign takes place in Qatar, Tranquility, a military base, and Mission City again for the final two levels. Decepticon campaign still follows the movie plot, but with the Decepticons emerging victorious.

Now, unlikle the ROTF game where you choose a level and basically play a linear level, the 2007 Movie game means you can roam around the general area, and start the mission whenever you feel like it. Also, the graphics look awesome, and you can transform anytime you want to.

Each transformer is entitled to the following moves:
-Melee attacks Basically beats up the enemy with punches and kicks. On the third combo, usually a weapon is deployed.
-Light Weapon the light weapon is normally a rapidfire weapon that blows stuff up. It looks awesome, but most enemies can block it.
-Heavy Weapon similar to light weapon, but causes larger collateral damage, and slower firing rate. Looks awesome, but again most enemies can block it.
-Transform Press the button and your character transforms in a fluid motion.
-Jump You press this, and your character leaps forward. Unlike most action games, jumping isn't of importance in the game. Jumping/leaping isn't very precise nor useful.
-Block Your character throws up a forcefield to block any damage taken.
-Lock-On When you move the Wii remote, the cursor moves on the screen. Press the Z button to lock onto an enemy, so all your attention focuses on him. Also, during lock-on, you see the amount of health an enemy has in the circumference of the cursor.
-Grab/Throw Most enemies need a short, sharp lesson in pain to break their combos. How? Just pick up something, anything lying around. It could be a tree, a car, a piece of metal, a giant swordfish...
-Accelerate In vehicle mode, press this button to boost your speed. Essential in chase levels.

Additionally, the environment is interactive. You can blow houses into rubble with your weapons, pick up objects, destroy stuff... Basically anything that isn't the background is attackable, and could either be thrown or be reduced into rubble. Also, unlike some games (again, the ROTF Wii game), the maps are all non-linear, so you could move anywhere you want.

Battling is a little frustrating. It's alway either too easy or too hard. All those funky weapons sitting there looking cool have little to no use on 80% of the enemies in the game because of the shields (except for Human/S7 units, AllSpark spawns and Scrapper-type drones. Plus in boss fights, weapons sometimes deal a little damage). This means that you'll have to go in with melee blows for most of the fights. More annoying are the 'combos' used by many of the enemies. Longarm-type drones, Dreadwing-type drones, Megatron and Barricade create a spinning vortex that seriously damages you if you get near (flamethrowers in Dreadwing's case), and deflects any damage but a thrown object. Payload-type drones, Ironhide and Megatron also do an annoying invulnerable charge which is impossible to stop unless you dodge the attack, and beat them senseless after they finish their rush. Bumblebee as a boss uses some kind of radial blast (kinda like Blackout's in the movie), which leads into a long and frustrating fight, because you have to block and inch closer, before clobbering 'Bee with melee combos. Mixmaster-type drones are nigh-invulnerable unless you knock them down, pick them up and throw them away.

Additionally, there's a little thing. When you cause destruction to buildings, or simply transform into robot mode in crowded areas, you attract the police. Police units range from police cars to tanks to helicopters. The helicopters are a wonderful source of health.

The graphics are stunning. While not as good as the movie itself naturally, it is infinitely better than the ROTF Wii game, which is released two years later. I kid you not. The transformers all look like their movie counterparts, and their transformation and weaponry are fluid and simply fantastic. Each transformer has light and heavy weaponry in robot mode, and in vehicle mode, as well as melee combos. Each action is performed almost without any lag time, and playing this is very fun compared to the ROTF Wii game, which has linear levels, ugly graphics and no transformation.

Also, the background objects and interactable objects are amazingly animated. Compared to the flat, brick-like things in the DS game or the ROTF games for PS2/Wii, the 2007 movie game presents lifelike buildings and roads, all of which endear this game to me.

Missions range in detail. The most fun missions are simply beat-downs, you against a multitude of enemy drones and the occassional boss, sometimes with a time frame. Some missions require you to race into checkpoints in vehicle mode before time runs out, which are frustrating. The city ones are not so bad, but I really hate that mission in the Hoover Dam where Bumblebee has to race into the exhaust shafts. That mission I had to repeat like nearly ten times before I completed it. Some missions are search-and-destroy missions, destroying targets in the map within a timeframe. Decepticons also have 'Cause collateral damage' missions, where you have to blow entire buildings up during a set timeframe. Sometimes this gets very irritating.

Of course, with a variety of playable characters and enemies, this is very enjoyable, although the non-battle missions are boring. (Bumblebee's missions through the Hoover Dam, save for the final one guarding the AllSpark, are all dull.)

Cutscenes are basically throwaway, and the animation isn't as good as the game itself. Characters like Sam and Frenzy get botched up pretty bad in the cutscenes, and they sometimes contradict the missions. For instance, the player spent four entire missions blowing human bases up as Blackout and Scorponok with missiles and bombs, yet in the final scene, Blackout merely drops a tiny grenade which shorts out communications. Pathetic. Also, action portions in the cutscenes are grossly animated (Bumblebee vs Barricade comes to mind; so does the Hoover Dam cutscenes). But compared to the half-arsed cutscenes that look like DS rejects in the ROTF Wii game... Ah well.

In the free-roam map, there are shiny yellow Cubes that glow yellow. They unlock exclusive artwork and some side-missions. Completing side-missions, getting Cubes and doing 'accomplishments' (jumping/throwing stuff/blowing up bad guys for five seconds) as well as finding five Autobot/Decepticon insignias hidden in the map grants you access to a few video clips and images. Video clips are trailers for the movie and Unicron trilogy theme songs. Images range from movie snapshots, IDW comic covers, some CGI models, G1 Dreamwave stock pictures, and a few other randoms. Nothing that would make you bother complete everything.

After completing the final boss fight, you unlock Cybertron levels for the respective faction. Basically you just stand there as Optimus/Megatron, and waves of drones come crashing towards you. Slugfest ensues.

There are also some secret unlockable characters, but cheats are faster if you want to unlock them.

Playable Characters and Enemies
Bumblebee- playable. Since he's the poster boy of the movie, he is used for nine missions (including the entirely of the first and third levels). He's decently strong and fast, and playable in both his 'old camaro' and 'new camaro' bodies, although the difference is only cosmetic. His melee attack uses a slide-out stinger/axe weapon, his light weapon are tiny missiles and heavy weapon are something that look like fireballs. Also appears as a boss twice against Barricade.
Jazz- You play Jazz for two missions. He's very fast in both robot and vehicle modes, and his animation is kickass. His health is noticeably lower, though. In the boss fight against Starscream + Blackout, you'll notice that. Melee attack has him fighting with black lightsaber-esque swords (possibly the telescopic thing his toy has), light weapon is similar to Bumblebee's, and his heavy weapon is some sort of blue area blast, possibly the cryo blasts the Movie guides mentioned. Jazz also appears as a boss against Barricade.
Ironhide- After playing 'Bee and Jazz, Ironhide is a jarring difference. Notoriously slow, he does make up for it by having powerful weaponry. Ironhide is playable in three missions. His melee attack involves him punching the enemy twice before blasting them with his cannon. Not very effective, as it blasts them away and gives them time to restart their chain combos. His light weapon is a very rapid-fire machinegun, and his heavy weapon lobs some kind of mortar/fireball at the enemy. Ironhide also appears as a boss against Blackout.
Optimus Prime- Optimus is strong and fast. Playable for four missions (including the final boss fight against Megatron, and the Cybertron level), Optimus proves the most fun character. Think Ironhide, but faster and with a more effective melee attack, which would be the sword. His light weapon is his two barrage rifles, firing as fast as Ironhide's, while his heavy weapon is some sort of missile warhead. Optimus is very effective and fun to play. He also appears as the final boss for the Decepticon campaign.

Blackout- Blackout's the first Decepticon you control. He's a one-man engine of destruction. His light weapon is a chaingun, but his heavy weapon is an EMP lobber, which could cut through the defenses of even a Longarm (when he's not spinning). Also, his melee attacks utilizes the larger rotors on his back, and is pretty sweet. In vehicle mode he's the only character with 'hovering' abilities. His health's a bit low, but his maneuverability covers for that. You play Blackout for four missions. Blackout also appears as a boss against Jazz.
Scorponok- Scorpy is the weakest character, with a pinch of health and slow movement. He's considerably weaker than others. Scorponok is played in two missions. Transforming means he dives under sand/soil, increasing his speed dramatically. (Despite what fiction says, he doesn't do concrete-diving. Ouch.) Playing Scorponok is cool, if ineffective. Both Scorpy's light and heavy weapons are missiles of different colours.
Barricade- Barricade's the Decepticons' equivalent for Bumblebee. He's basically similar in playability. He's playable for five missions and shows up three times as a boss in the Autobot campaign. Barricade's melee weapon is his trademark claw-thing, his light weapon four bullets, and his heavy weapon a rather ineffective red blast.
Starscream- Starscream's playable for four missions, and by far is my favourite character. Like Megatron, when transforming into jet mode he automatically keep moving forward, so landing's a bit of a problem. Screamer's melee weapon is the FAB toy's twin claws. His light attack and heavy attack all stem from the missile rack he uses in the movie. Two different kinds of missiles (the last one creating a large explosion). When jumping, Screamer uses the two engines on his back to keep him afloat for a longer time. Screamer also appears as a boss in the Autobot campaign.
Megatron- Megatron is playable for three missions, including the Cybertron level. His weapons are deadly and effective. Like Starscream, his jet mode also moves forward automatically. His melee attack is his flail/chain thing, his light weapon basically similar to Ironhide, and his heavy weapon something like a mortar launcher, which is very effective in destruction missions. Naturally he appears as a boss against Prime.

Unlockable characters
G1 Starscream basically Starscream in his G1 colours deco.
G1 Jazz basically Jazz in his G1 colours deco
Robovision Optimus Prime basically Prime in his Robovision deco.
G1 Optimus Prime an all-new character model, G1 Prime is in his original (freightliner Semi-truck) mode, complete with ion rifle. It's kinda cool, but it's ineffective using him in missions as his melee attack deals lesser damage. (Swords pwns fists)
G1 Megatron Megatron in his G1 glory. Transforming makes him fly in robot mode instead of changing to a gun, but whatever. Megs' weapons regrettably do not fire purple blasts, but fire tiny fire-y explosions. Still, it looks cool.

Non-Playable characters
Brawl- Brawl (named such) appears as a boss in the Autobot campaign, and an NPC you must help in the Decepticon campaign.
Shockwave- Shockwave, transforming into a giant machinegun or a Apache helicopter, appears as a boss against Optimus Prime. He's totally awesome. After Prime chops him up, somehow a non-transforming Shockwave reappears in the Cybertron level.
Scrapper- Scrappers are the easiest enemy drone in the game. Transforming into forklift trucks, they can be beaten by shooting them. They attack with their forklifts, and are the inspiration for the ROTF toy Dirt Boss. Also, all Decepticon drones have lens-heads, and all Autobot drones have Prime-esque faceplates.
Swindle- Swindles, transforming into sports cars, are a notch up. Faster than Scrappers, and deadlier (stronger shields; weapons; a tendency to throw stuff) Swindles and their Autobot counterparts are also basically cannonfodder. Their Autobot counterparts are coloured in green.
Dropkick/Salvage- Dropkicks transform into pickup trucks. Basically they are the same with Swindles, but slower in vehicle mode and have stronger shields that can only be broken by thrown objects or melee. The Autobot versions are coloured reddish-orange, like Salvage from the 2007 toyline.
Longarm- Longarms are the most annoying enemies ever. With their spinning hooks, they create a vortex that really damages you. Thank goodness they're slow. Alone, they're easily taken down with a well-placed tree onto the face, but in packs, or worse, with Payload drones, they are deadly.
Mixmaster- Mixmaster drones (no, it looks nothing like ROTF Mixmaster) are heavyweights. The only way to defeat him is to ram him down (either in vehicle mode or with thrown objects), pick the Mixmaster himself up and throw him onto the ground. Very annoying in hordes.
Dreadwing- Dreadwings, identical to their toys, are airborne assaulters. Swooping in without warning, they create a large AoE flame attack that sends you tumbling. After that they attack with flamethrowers, which basically functions the same with Longarm's hook. The difference? Dreadwings can run and chase you while utilizing flamethrowers. It's a good thing they die fast.
Payload- Payloads are annoying. They barrel towards you, indestructible. The only thing you can do is get out of their way, wait for them to stop, then beat them up with melee combos. Easy to kill, but in swarms (or worse, with Longarms and Mixmasters) they are deadly.
Energon Drones- they look like metallic cockroaches, and die after one shot. Melee attacks cannot be used, as the 'roaches blow up with touch. They spawn continuously, leaving your character (Bumblebee, Ironhide or Scorponok, depending on the mission) having to mow them down quickly.
the humans- the humans utilize numerous vehicles, including police cars, tanks and helicopters. In missions, humans use stealth jets, fighter jets (essentially a spoofed-up Dreadwing's altmode) and weird-ass Robotic Drones. Also, the alternate modes of Incinerator (V22 Osprey), Landmine (Assault Buggy) and Stockade (SUV) all make appearances in the game.

Ratchet- Ratchet appears only in cutscenes. Sucks to be Ratchet.
Frenzy- Frenzy is an NPC which Barricade has to rescue from Sector 7, but only appears as a mugshot in the game and in the cutscene.
Bonecrusher- Bonecrusher must be rescued by Starscream from the military's experimental weaponry. Twice. Bonecrusher hates being an NPC.

Overall 7/10
Overall? The game doesn't tell a story good, that's for sure. Many of the missions are just there, without adding any depth to the story. Some (like Bumblebee blowing up Sector Seven stuff for three entire missions; instead of, say, a boss fight with Bonecrusher) are just stupid, and a waste of time. The cutscenes are inferior, to boot. Still, looking back at it from now, it's a far better game than ROTF's Wii game, and it was fun while it lasted, and it is fun blowing stuff up and kicking the crap out of the drones, but not the best game ever. Still, I love this game enough to give it a 7.
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