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Transformers are massive! Not just big-building-massive but worldwide-popularity-massive. The toys sell in their millions and since the 80's cartoon show the Transformers have always had a truly massive following. And so with no surprise the game to the latest Transformers film is released and I - the ever pessimistic - expected it to be rubbish, because as massive as Transformers is it surely couldn't avoid the movie to game curse that ensured that almost every conversion was just plain bad.
But here I have to admit that I have been proved wrong. The genius here is that although the game is in some ways pretty average, it manages to hit every button that I want hit when I purchase the game. If you are about to buy this game you are either going to be a Transformers fan or a parent of a Transformers fan. With this in mind it caters for its audience well.
What better way to reward persistence than free episodes.
Perhaps most cleverly there are a wealth of extras that you open up as the game goes on. The best of which are actual cult episodes of the 80's cartoon series! What better way to reward persistence than free episodes. This doesn't happen too often in a game and I wish it would. I remember having purchased Mortal Kombat deadly alliance (not one for the feint hearted I grant you) and being treated to a twenty minute documentary on how the game was created. This was brilliant. It's a real gem of a concept. Why not give games special features like they do on DVDs. It rewards the gamer for playing the game.
This reward system can make of break a game. Some games make you work for it like Enter the Matrix on PS2 while others simply ask that you complete the game like Uncharted Drakes Fortune PS3. For me though, one game did something no other game had ever done before it. Goldeneye on the N64 rewarded the persistence of its players by giving them whole new levels to play. Complete the game on secret agent mode and win the Egypt level, complete it on 007 mode and win the Aztec level. Let's see more of this sort of grown up old school thinking in new games - please. Oh yes, which brings me back to Transformers.
As well as the bonus features, it also gives you two games to play. Perhaps I should say two stories to play rather than two game play experiences. You see, you can play as the goody Autobots, follow their story from start to finish, or play as the baddy Decepticons and see how their tale develops. It's a simple idea but one that matches the which-side-are-you rubric of many a playground game.
It's a simple idea but one that matches the which-side-are-you rubric of many a playground game.
As a child getting to play a baddie was always a great idea. You get to be naughty and not get into trouble for it - score. Whilst probably not sending out the best moral message to your kids they will love being the bad guy for a while. And it's interesting to see how they deal with the option of wreaking havoc on all en sundry.
On balance, the game is fun, easy to play and borrows sensibly from other games and the toys themselves. It delivers an enjoyable game that gives you more than you deserve and if you are a fan it's well worth the mullah.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: