More than meets the eye
Of all the toys I had when I was a kid, Transformers were the favourite. I had dozens of them. The original Jazz, Starscream, Optimus Prime and more. I really wanted Megatron (the pistol version, not the pants Cybertron Glider or the second generation Tank thing) but alas that was never to be. I had all the comics, issue 1 through the the last issue in the UK. I was a fanatic! I just purchased the original cartoon movie again and it is still as good as it was way back when! What I am trying to say is I loved and still love Transformers. So it was with great trepidation that I opened the packaging for a game based on a move that totally alters large chunks of the original Story!
You also have a Transform icon, which when pressed with transform you (Duh)
Well, I need not have worried! Transformers for the DS (Autobot version reviewed) follows the story of an unknown rookie Transformer. Starting with the customary training session you must go on help the Autobots find the Allspark and defeat the Evil Decepticons (or the other way round if you have the Decepticon version!). At your disposal you have various upgradeable armaments, hand to hand fighting moves which are again upgradeable and of course the ability to transform from robot to vehicle mode at will. Along the way you will get to play as other members of the Transformers, from Bumble Bee up to the man himself, Optimus Prime.
The split screen is really effectively in Transformers. The top screen displays the action, in surprisingly good detail, whilst the bottom screen is a little more involved! It’s main use is a as a radar. On the screen you will see good, bad and neutral targets as well as waypoints and side mission indicators. You also have a Transform icon, which when pressed will transform you (Duh). More interestingly you have a scan button. One of the big changes from the original Transformers mythos is the ability to change your vehicle mode transformation. At first I was a bit dubious about how good this would be, but it really adds a new dimension to the game. If you spot an interesting vehicle, like say a helicopter, you can scan it. If the scan is successful you will unlock the helicopter in your vehicle mode list. Once you are out of your current mission (in free play) you can choose between your unlocked vehicles. Some missions will in fact require that you are a certain type if vehicle. This gives a nice twist on the original Transformers theme and it really works very well.
As mentioned, the graphics are really very good. Of course this is still a game about massive robots on a very small screen. As such the action can get a little confusing. At times you will find your self trying to figure out which robot is which in a frantic fire fight. The auto locking on your guns is for the most part accurate, which is good as manual aiming is almost impossible in a hurry!
What really surprised me was how good the sound was. This is the first DS game I have played that has a full voice over through out the game. To me this is really the icing on a very sweet cake!
Wireless multiplayer is catered for in the form of 4 player capture the flag and deathmatch games. But what really impressed me was the AllSpark wars mode. Take the game online and you will be entered into a battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons to gain control of all of the parts of the AllSpark. Every day you will need to download a small single player mission. This is normally some kind of time trial, such as get from point A to point B as fast as possible or collect everything as fast as possible. Your score will then be uploaded to the AllSpark Wars website. Here your score will be added to other Autobot or Decepticon game holders scores. The group with the highest total at the end of 24 hours wins and if you are on the winning side you will get Tokens. These can be used to unlock vehicles that can only be accessed in this way! This is a real stroke of genius as it leads you into a very large community of fellow Transformer loving gamers!
Overall Transformers DS is a fun game. It can get a little repetitive, in a Grand Theft Auto kind of way. In fact that is a very good way to describe this game, Transformers meets GTA. All of the missions tend to be similar. What you have to do is enjoy the fighting and the transforming! If you have an internet connection you will get much more out of this game, AllSpark Wars is very addictive.
The Bad: A bit repetitive. Onscreen action can get confused