Review: Transformers Movie Game PSP & DS

With the hype of the upcoming Transformers Movie, I could not wait to try out Activistion's video game rendition. The following reviews are for the handheld versions for the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS.

First up is the Sony PSP platform version. I knew beforehand graphics and sound would not be a problem for this little handheld powerhouse. I was not disappointed. From the opening cut-scene using clips from the movie to the characters on-screen transforming from robot to vehicle and back, the graphics met my expectation. The background music is the same background music on the official Transformers Movie website which is very Michael Bay-ish meaning most of the musical scores in his movies being very intense, setting the mood for intense action and I gave extra points for including Peter Cullen and Frank Welker who were the original voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron which was well welcome. Throughout the game, you play both the Autobot and Decepticon sides depending on the mission, starting off as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Blackout and switching to Shockwave just in the first few missions.

Alas, the positives end there. The controls were not intuitive and not typical of an action game even after playing through the initial training level instructing the player on how the controls worked. I found myself aiming up and down instead of jumping, shooting instead of melee attacks and the speed of the characters during game play felt like just one speed meaning there was no running or walking, but just joggin in robot mode and in vehicle mode it felt like it was set at cruise control. Blackout was very difficult to pilot for his missions. Also, the point of view of the game sets you at about 25 degree angle so that took time to get used to also.

I did not get a chance to play the multiplayer on-line options since the game is relatively new and there were no hosts or other players on-line at this time.

Overall the most enjoyable part the game was just transforming from robot to vehicle and back and hearing the voices of Peter Cullen and Frank Welker.

Tech Specs: PSP
Gameplay: 6.0
Graphics: 8.0
Sound: 8.5
Controls: 4.0
Rank (Average): 6.5

Like most multi-platform video games of the same title, the handheld Nintendo DS version of the Transformers Movie was a lot different from the Sony PSP version in overall gameplay and story. There are actually two versions of the game sold separately, so you choose the faction, Autobot or Decepticon, you want to play at the time of purchase. The cut scene going into the game used pretty much the same clip from the movie as the PSP but at a lower definition. Depending on which game you picked up, introduction of the game is narrated by their respective voice counter parts, Autobot's Peter Cullen and Decepticon's Frank Welker. Both games starts the player off as a rookie protoform and to find your Earth contact, Bumblebee for the Autobots and Barricade for the Decepticons and the both are on the quest to find the Allspark Cube.

The first level like most games these days is a training level for the player to get used to the controls and functions within the game. You are not able to transform until you scan a vehicle and throughout the game a player can run around scanning more vehicles to unlock in the inventory so you can use the different forms thoughout the game. The controls on the DS version was a lot more traditional and fluid for an action game and it did not take long to get used to. The quality of the sound was not as good as the PSP version even with the Volume all the way up, I could barely hear the game itself. The DS version was a lot more fun than the PSP version but gameplay got repetitive and boring and I found the map function difficult to read when navigating to the destination.

Again, like the PSP version, the part of the game I enjoyed the most was the ability to transform from robot to vehicle and back and driving around.

Tech Specs: DS
Gameplay: 7.0
Graphics: 5.0
Sound: 5.0
Controls: 7.0
Rank (Average): 6.0

*Tech Spec Scores are on a 1 to 10 Scale with 1 being Poor, 10 being the Best.

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