In the 1980s Transformers debut along with the toy line by Hasbro, based off a japanese anime, much like Voltron had been. At its basis, it was very much like G.I Joe, and He-Man, where its main purpose was to make kids go nuts and buy the toys, and the TV show was just fuel for the kids to want more toys. I grew up on Transformers, and while I don’t really remember much of the time, I remember having a lot of the toys. Since the introduction of Transformers to US audiences there’s been several cartoons following the original story, and a series of live action movies based on the franchise. The latest cartoon, Transformers Prime, cuts ties from the original ’80s cartoon, and sets out on it’s own, based on the story started in the video game Transformers: War for Cybertron. And while Transformers: Prime, as a show, is within the continuity of the universe that War for Cybertron, and Fall of Cybertron, are in, Transformers: Prime – The Game is not a direct sequel to those games, but merely a game based on the cartoon.
When starting up the game you’re treated to an incredible looking intro that looks just like the cartoon. It really looks awesome. Sadly, because this is a Wii game, the pre-rendered intro looks a lot better than the actual in game graphics. If you got this game looking to see amazing graphics while you play, you’re at the wrong door. But chances are, you already know what the Wii has to offer in terms of visuals, so you have some idea what to expect from the graphics.
Transformers: Prime – The Game has all the potential in the world to be a good game. Its major problems being that it’s hindered by the lack of major power on the Wii, and it’s lack of alternate Control schemes.
Getting into the game after the intro, you’re given a menu of gameplay modes. These modes are Storymode, Multiplayer Mode, Gallery, and Options. Options is pretty self explanatory. Gallery is where you can see what you’ve unlocked in Storymode, such as Emblems, cinematics, and concept art. Getting into the main modes of this game, your first major mode is Storymode. In Storymode you progress through chapters, which are unlocked as you pass each one. You’re given a character, who’s the star of that chapter, that you must use to complete the level. The first chapter deals with Optimus Prime, and while the story given in this level is the first chapter of the overall story, it plays out more like a tutorial of the gameplay, which I don’t mind at all since it helped me to figure out how to play the game. You’ll also get action cues through many of the chapters, telling you how to do things, or what you need to do.
The other major mode of the game is Multiplayer, where you you can either do a 1 player game, or a 2 player game, keeping in mind there’s no online support for this game. Whether 1 player or 2, there’s 3 game modes in Multiplayer; Brawl, Energon Match, and Emblem Battle. All modes can have between 2 to 4 characters fighting at once. You battle in different arenas, that are unlocked through storymode. In essence, these modes are like Battle Royal modes, with Brawl being your standard battle royal, where you fight to be the last one standing. Energon Match is where you have a time limit of either 3, 4, or 6 minutes, listed in the rule editing in seconds (180, 240, 360), and must get the most points within the time limit. Points are awarded as you KO opponents, but don’t worry, they re-spawn back to life after a KO to keep the fight going until the time runs out. In Emblem battle, you have a time limit similar to Energon Match, but instead of points, you’re fighting a giant game of keep away, where you have to end the fight being the one holding the Emblem. This is probably my favorite multiplayer mode, and keeping the Emblem in your possession is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when the other 2 or 3 enemies are ganging up on you.
Gameplay and sound wise, this game is pretty decent on both fronts. From the gameplay side, this is very much a Wii game. What I mean by that is, in combat, you have to wave around the wiimote to get your melee attacks off. Aside from the inconvenience of waggling your wiimote, unless you’re into that, the layout of the controls is pretty good. This game uses the nunchuck formation, with no option to change to a classic controller layout. Changing between robot and vehicle mode is a simple 1 button switch, and fighting from vehicle mode into robot mode is encouraged in this game, as it offers slight advantages than just taking the time to switch from one form to the other. Moving the camera is done with the left and right on the D-pad on the wiimote, while down and up have their own uses during gameplay. My only real problem with the gameplay is the camera. In tight corners, or against the wall, it doesn’t move unless you move it, or lock on to an enemy. In fairness, a lot of games suffer from this problem, which means it’s an epidemic. Fix your cameras, people! Sound wise, the sound of the game is pretty good. You have voice acting from the cast of the cartoon, which plays a big part in the cut-scenes in Storymode, and really good music that fits with the tone of the game, and then some.
Overall, Transformers: Prime is a good game, with great source material to work from. Using the cartoon’s voice cast for Storymode is a good way to bring interest to people who may not watch the cartoon. Also, using the voice cast will keep the interest of the kids playing the game, as they’ll feel more like they’re playing with the cartoon than just a licensed game, I think. I have some gripes about the controls but considering the system, this is probably the best they could get to make everything work. And I must admit, there’s a certain satisfaction when you can transform, and roll out.