|System: DS, PSP, X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vicarious Visions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 19, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
July 5, 2007 - Suit up rookie! It's time you learned to fight the good fight and join the ranks of the Autobots. Your first trial by fire? Fight the Decepticons and locate the Allspark. All without killing any humans and causing only minimum property damage. Such is the story that awaits you in the Nintendo DS exclusive, Transformers: Autobots.
The game starts you off by having you choose a name. You don't quite know what it's for, but you soon find out that your chosen moniker will be the name of your on-screen character. You'll be able to download missions, as well as communicate with other autobots (even the illustrious Optimus Prime). Most of the other Autobots are pretty happy you're helping out their cause, and have no problem dealing with your greenhorn (or is it greenbot?) attitude.
The game is structured in such a way that it's like an open world system, but you'll eventually have no choice but to select missions in a linear fashion. Once you accept your mission, you'll receive some pretty specific instructions. As an Autobot it is your duty to defuse the Decepticon threat as quickly as possible without involving too many humans. And points are also taken off for property damage, so be careful where you swing those huge robotic arms!
As far as the different locations go, Transformers: Autobots will have you going all the way from the thriving metropolis of Casino Town to the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. All environments are 100% interactive and you can pick up and use virtually anything around you as a weapon to thwart the Autobots. Just make sure that no innocent bystanders are hurt, and you keep everyone's goods intact. Wouldn't want the natives to be upset with you I mean, it is their planet.
One really cool facet of this game is that, although you are locked into playing as your own character, you're not limited in what you can transform into. Virtually any vehicle you see on the street you can "scan" and transform into. And it's not just limited to cars, you can also transform into jets, helicopters, and basically anything you see around you. My personal favorite is the tiny little red sports car. That thing really zooms, trust me!
In addition to the one-player mode, Transformers: Autobots offers a good amount of material in the form of multiplayer modes. The first multiplayer mode comes in the form of a multi-cart DS connection that allows you to test your transformers skills against those of your friends. You'll participate in several competition type missions to see whose transformer really has the right stuff!
Though this multiplayer mode is pretty cool, I have to say that the Nintendo Wi-Fi supported "Battle for the Allspark" is the most unique, (and dare I say revolutionary?) use of the Nintendo DS' Wi-Fi capabilities. I can honestly say I've never played an online game quite like this, and became thoroughly addicted to the concept. Here's how it works: You begin by connecting to the Autobots command center through Nintendo's Wi-Fi. Then you'll receive a daily mission. Once you receive this mission, you disconnect and play through the mission as many times as you need to get the best possible score. Then once you're confident that you've done the best you can do, you upload your score to the network. Your score is then compared to other Autobots, and added to the total Autobot score, which is then compared with the Decepticon score (the score of the people with the Transformers: Decepticon game who completed the day's Allspark mission). You can check back the next day to see which team won. And if the Autobots win, you get a special Transformers token that allows you to access special content and unlockable vehicles. Plus it's a great ego booster!
Graphics are surprisingly good for a DS game and feature remarkably detailed characters and environments. The opening cutscene is worth mentioning as well because it really tries to create an almost PlayStation 2 quality scene. Sure the frame rate is kinda sluggish, but I appreciate the attempt to do something graphically complex on the DS. Other than that, the levels look very clean, and the Autobots look very good in all their mechanical glory. The only complaint that I have (and it's a minor one) was that I expected more color on the Autobots. I always associate them with bright colors.
As far as controls are concerned, Transformers: Autobots is near-perfect. The face buttons are used for weaponry and jumping, whilst the d-pad is used for pointing your transformer in the right direction. The camera is controlled by the L and R buttons, and you'll use the touch screen to transform and to scan vehicles. The only problem I have with the controls is using the touch screen. Because you're using the face buttons for fighting, having to hit the touch pad with a stylus just in the nick of time to catch that pesky Decepticon is just impractical, and creates that awkward button-to-stylus fumble that all too many of us are familiar with. But other than that, the controls are relatively straightforward and easy to pick up.
Sound quality is excellent and features wonderfully executed voiceovers by original actors from the film. Music is also very good, and the game features its own original Autobot score. This is definitely one game that you want to have the sound turned up for!
Overall, I have to say that I am very pleased with Transformers: Autobots. For a licensed game, I think they've done a very good job of creating a unique game experience that stays in step with the source material while creating a new enough experience to make the game fun. Plus the Allspark Wars function is awesome!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer