REVIEW – Transformers Prime (Wii U)
Game – Tranformers Prime
Version – Wii U (retail)
ESRB Rating: ‘E10’ – Everyone 10 & Up
Release Date: 11/18/2012
Obtained – Review copy courtesy of Activision
In a single sentence, Transformers is a classic TV cartoon show that has made it back into the current pop culture. It’s about a robot aliens that have the ability to transform between a vehicle form and a giant robot form. While I am not a huge fan of the franchise, and from what I’ve heard the new Transformers Prime TV show is a great show. Does this new game do the series justice? Perhaps this review will transform your thoughts about this game.
Transformers Prime is basically one of those ‘beat’em up’ type of games with some driving portions. Pretty much you control an Autobot and must defeat a Decepticon and their minions on each level. The player progresses through each portion of the stage by defeating all of the enemies within each area. Once cleared, the next portion of the level becomes available for exploration. The player cannot advance as a visible indestructible barrier prevents the player from moving forward.
There are some driving portions mixed in, and the player has to remain in vehicle form and navigate through the portion of the level while the screen advances itself and the player must stay alive. Throughout either portion of the level, the player has a health bar that can be lowered from damage received from enemies or from falling/getting knocked off the course. The player has radar view of the map which shows where enemies are, along with power ups, energy diamonds and artifacts. It also shows the direction the player should be headed. Also, there is a boss fight in one of the segments of the level. Most segments are in the fighting style, but a number of them are driving only.
Along the way, the player can destroy some rocks, pillars or some other objects to acquire small energy diamonds. These are just collected and matter when the level is completed and helps the player earn a higher rank. The player can earn between a C, B, A and S rank based on time used to complete the level, energy diamonds collected and damage received. There are goals for each of the 3 categories, and to earn the S rank, the player must surpass all 3 goals on the level. The player gets an A rank by surpassing 2 of the 3 goals.
Also, the player can pick up cyberion artifacts. Each level has at least one and up to three to find and by collecting these, it will unlock images within the gallery. These are not counted in the rank, but these also count towards the emblems (achievements) the player can earn while playing. There are 50 emblems to collect and vary from earning an A rank or higher on a particular level, to defeating 10 or more enemies by throwing them off the level. There are also level specific ones like finishing within 20 seconds on the timer for that level.
Finally, there are only 13 levels in the campaign mode, which 4 of these levels are a single segment meaning that it is a boss fight only. So for about a third of the levels, the player simply fights a single boss before moving to the next level. These are also bunched up at the end, so after level 8 the end of the game quickly approaches. The final level is just an extended boss battle as the player takes on the different forms of final boss. Between each level and some segments of a single level, there are cut scenes which help make the story very enjoyable to follow.
Besides the in depth campaign portion of the game as I finished up, there are a few other modes to try out. One is simply the gallery to view all the concept art the player unlocks from collecting the cyberion artifacts. There is a characters menu which adds the different Autobots and Decepticons from the emblems earned. This gives the player information on the character and allows the player to zoom in and have the character spin to see all of the details of that character. The player also has a mode to view the game credits whenever they wish.
Another major portion of the game is multiplayer. This is a second major strike against the game as this game only supports local multiplayer. The player can only play against a friend or CPUs in this mode. The game provides 3 variations of multiplayer though. First is a simple brawl (death match) style of play. The player(s) and/or CPUs fight each other and the last player standing is the winner (each player/CPU has a single life). Next is a variation of this mode called Battle for Energon. In this mode, the players have a limited health bar, but respawn after being defeated. After a kill, 10 points are awarded to the player with the kill, and 5 points are deducted from the defeated player. The player with the highest amount of points after 5 minutes is the victor. Finally, there is an Emblem battle. This is sort of like capture the flag as the goal is to collect the emblem and stay alive as long as possible.
The controls are pretty simple and work well for this game. In campaign or multiplayer the controls are the same. The GamePad and Pro Controller behave in the same fashion, just the driving portion is different with the Pro controller. The player uses the left control stick to move the Autobot around, the right control stick to move the camera/view. ZL is used to lock onto an enemy or boss and ZR is used to fire the Autobot’s projectile. Y and A are used to perform the melee attacks with Y being used for strong/heavy attacks. The game allows the player to make combo attacks by pressing particular combinations. B makes the Autobot jump while X is used to transform into vehicle mode or return to Autobot form.
While fighting enemies, the player’s upgrade gauge will increase. It can also be increased by collecting the green power up icon found on the radar. Once this is full, the player can use L to upgrade their Y/A attacks to do more damage to enemies or bosses. This only lasts for a period of time as once the meter is drained the attacks return to normal. Using R brings up the player’s shield, which is used to prevent damage or block enemy projectile attacks from landing home on the player. The shield can only take a particular amount of damage and if broken the player (or enemy) is temporary stunned and open to free attacks.
On the GamePad, a larger radar is displayed on the screen. The cut scenes are shown on both the TV along with the GamePad screen. The player can also touch the screen to activate the upgrade mode during normal play. While in the driving portions, the player uses the gyro sensor on the GamePad to steer the vehicle. If the player is only in vehicle form on a normal level, the control stick is used to control the vehicle. The game tells you at the beginning of the ‘forced’ driving portions that the GamePad will be used for steering.
The graphics and visuals are very impressive for a launch title game. The game runs in 1080p and all of the characters, backgrounds, objects and even the little details are shown with plenty of detail. The human characters looked a tad blocked, but as I’m not a die-hard fan of the series, I believe that was by design. All of the Autobots and Decepticons looked very professional, and a player can even see all of the initial designs by accessing the gallery. The images are high quality as well.
The music and sound effects are also very fitting and match the game well. The music is action packed and fit the game well. While the tunes are not exceptionally catchy, they do a good job adding to the environment. The sound effects are top notch and the transformations and landing sounds are very fitting. The sound comes out pretty clear from either the GamePad or the TV. All of the voices are also done as voice acting and sounds very clear. Also the voices done are the done by the same actors as the TV show.
Concluding Overall Impressions
While the single player mode is quite enjoyable, the main issue with it is how short the mode is. Multiplayer was also remotely decent, but with the lack of online multiplayer it was missing that something extra that can keep the player coming back to play. In this regard it felt like a port of a portable version (such as 3DS) or Wii version of the game which made it disappointing. The graphics and sounds fit well and are impressive. I would recommend this game to fans of the series as the story is very enjoyable, but I would also recommend that this game be picked up as a rental due to it’s length.
6 out of 10