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Transformers: Cybertron Adventures

 

Transformers: Cybertron Adventures

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: Action Games
 
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Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision

Features:

Rated T for Teen (Fantasy violence)
2 player local coop
Unique campaigns told from perspective of Autobots and Decepticons

I admit that I was a little concerned when reading through the instruction manual; I soon realized that Transformers Cybertron Adventures didn’t feature a button to transform. Created exclusively for the Wii, Transformers Cyberton Adventures (TCA from now on) shares only a release date with its console brethren. Let’s get on with finding out if my initial concerns were justified or not.

Graphics

For a Wii title, TCA looks very average. Given the fact that it’s an on-rails shooter, it looks worse than average. The game starts out promising enough with rendered cut-scenes that are impressive visually and artistically. Character models are reasonable and appear to be a hybrid between G1 and what’s found in the movies. The action moves along at a fast enough pace. There really wasn’t any slowdown that I noticed but I did experience more than my liking of tears between the joints of various textures. Speaking of textures, they are bland in the environments and the characters and seem to rely more on colour than anything else. Normally I might grant a Wii title a little leeway here because of the nature of its hardware, but after being spoiled by Dead Space Extraction, there really isn’t an excuse.

Sound

Transformers’ sound fares a bit better than its looks. The game earns points for using what sounds like the real voice of Optimus Prime; but authentic voice acting ends there. The rest isn’t bad though. I wish Megatron sounded a bit more menacing and Starscream a bit whinier but if you know the series well they do a reasonable enough job with the character voices to get by (at least there’s voice acting). The opening cinematic also teased me with really great surround sound. I was disappointed this didn’t translate into the actual gameplay.

Besides Optimus’ voice, what sound does everyone relate to with The Transformers? The transformation. It seems awfully muted though. That’s one of the coolest sounds ever. Sucks that it is so quiet in this game.

Gameplay

TCA is based on the Transformers’ home planet of Cybertron. After years of war between the Autobots and Decepticons, TCA revolves around the Decepticons trying to unleash a weapon they hope will win the war, while the Autobots try to stop it. This is a pretty general description of the story. There’s a lot more to it but I’m not one to risk spoilers! I found the story to be very strong. It was actually the part of the game I enjoyed the most.

Essentially this is an on-rails shooter with some limited controls, and I caution those that might be looking for a more traditional action/adventure type of game. Players can choose between campaigns told from the perspective of the Autobots or the Decepticons. Either story plays out along the same time frame. I found it fun to play the campaign missions alternatively.

Often when people see Wii versions of multi-platform games they immediately think it is a kid’s version or something dumbed down. Created specifically for the Wii, TCA is not a port from other consoles and definitely not a kid’s game. It has relatively complex controls that may scare off younger players, so parents beware. You might be thinking, “It’s an on-rails shooter, how complex can it get?” It isn’t overly but I just want to be clear that just because this is a Wii game, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically for kids.

Aiming is handled by pointing the Wii remote at the screen and using the trigger-like B button to fire. The control stick on the nunchuk handles the various types of weaponry that you weild. For example, players can switch between a regular battle rifle, sniper rifle, rocket launcher and gatling gun. Each weapon has its own characteristics typical of what you see in other games and you must choose between weapons to deal most effectively with what you are fighting against.

You play in either robot or vehicle mode, but unfortunately you don’t get to choose. You simply follow the path the game provides and transformations are made automatically. The vehicle sections allow you to control speed and direction, but you are limited within a road, for example. With robot sections there is no control over movement other than choosing to duck behind cover. You simply follow the course of the game, take out the bad guys and move on to the next. This does get a bit repetitive, but thankfully there are some boss battles to break things up.


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