Well folks, it is that time again. The summer blockbusters have crashed amongst us from the minds of Hollywood! The movie’s budget of $200 million is pretty impressive in this sluggish economy and perhaps the dazzling special effects are just what the States need to revive it. The story has begun and the players are back. This is the nature of the sequel.
Last year in Transformers: How Bumblebee Got His Groove Back, we know that the Autobots and Decepticons have been doing battle in space for millennia. In the never ending search for the Allspark, the battle finds itself taking place on Earth, culminating in the Trans-Holiest of items frying the wretched leader of the Decpticons, Megatron. He was then dumped into the depths of the ocean keeping him, in effect, on ice for eternity.
So that’s it, right? Well no. The other Decepticons are still out there and war rages on … secretly.
Smoke and Mirrors
While not the greatest in the industry, the Wii can do its job well. The graphics are smooth and accurate. I never had any issues with glitching or confusion. The environment was a bit dark at times, but I’m sure that’s more of an issue with my older TV.
Some of Hollywood’s tricks-of-the-trade are brought into the game like odd camera angles to make you see more than what’s there. The environments are tight, narrow. We start off in the backstreets of Shanghai so there’s not a lot of exploration to do, and the nightscape means the details department can take the day off. Later in a naval scene, much less thought is put into things. The ships and ocean are little more than grey blocks on a bumpy blue floor. Quite a bit of time is put into Starscream as an F-22 Raptor with an oddly symmetrical camouflage pattern soaring over this Navy, but you’re on rails the whole time so there’s not much to look at other than the twin turbo-fan’s exhaust flames; i.e. orange glow. A freeway chase scene really exposes the lack of a hard drive because textures are almost null, you spend most of the time looking at the motion-blur effect, and there’s hardly any traffic. In Shanghai. Mid-day.
I’m not sure if I should blame the Wii for not being strong enough, the graphics people for not using what’s given to them in a better fashion, or myself for expecting too much. Perhaps all of the above.
You Can Say That Again
It is a treat for us to have the actual actors doing the voice work for the game. Right? There are some nice cut-scenes that reveal plot and the voice acting is good. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of room on a Wii platter so that means doing more with less. That means a lot of repetition. But I repeat myself.
There are maybe 1 or 2 catch-phrases per section and if the action on the screen isn’t enough to numb your mind away from it you will go crazy. Crashes and explosions make up the background noise rather than any sort of natural elements (people, cars, animals), but it makes little matter because it will be over before you know it.
The Fall of Rome
The Wii’s strength is the Wiimote. Free motion sensors and the ability to get up and get busy are totally wasted with this game. Yes, okay, I’m sure it’s very hard to do, but other games out there have been totally saved by these mechanics.
First off, most of the time is spent pointing the Wiimote at the screen and shooting stuff with the trigger. Movement is covered via the nunchuk and carries the options for Defense (C-button) and the Z-button has varied options. I can use the analog stick to move back and forth, in and out, in a 3-D environment (when the streets aren’t too narrow for such things) but I’m pointing at a flat screen (2-D). So when I am moving to my left, and trying to shoot to the upper-right corner of the TV, I am trying to draw a line that will vector my weapon to my target! In other words, trying to hit something on the screen is very tricky because I can’t point and shoot. Sometimes my weapon takes time to swing around and I’m not able to hit the target in time, or if I try to shoot something behind me the weapon fires in unpredictable directions. Shaking the ‘chuk is used for diving to the side, but don’t bother because it never actually saves you from anything.
I mentioned the camera-angles before. Usually it’s very still and stable. However, in some boss battles, the camera moves a bit to increase the size of the arena. Pan-and-scan is a crutch and this movement of the camera was a huge source of problems in trying to jump up on items to complete the very-old-hat God-of-Warlike button mashing combinations.
I’m told I’ve used up my hyphen quota and to move on.
Is that it?
I know what you’re trying to say. You’re trying to say Aww yah, that’s it! But even the Flight of the Conchords’ Jermaine Clement would be left wondering where the rest of the game is.
There aren’t separate story-lines for Autobot and Decepticons. You go back and forth playing both sides in different sections. If you got passed the suckiest boss battle ever, then you’re probably finding yourself trapped in a sort of Twilight Zone. Like some sort of never ending hallway, Bumblebee fights on and on and on, and once you get passed that, you get to do the same thing but this time as a Decepticon.
They knew the game would be over in 3 hours, and they knew that would get them fired. So they pull the old grab-the-traintrack-segment-from-behind-you-and-place-it-in-front bit to make it last a bit longer.
Sorry, no more hyphens. Promise.
Where’s the beef?
If this game were packaged along with the Blu-Ray version of the movie and came with a free bag of popcorn I’d be happy to have it. For 45+ dollars, no way. The Wii’s version is completely different from the much more powerful PS3 and 360 versions. My 5 year old found the game too hard, and my 8 year old found the game too tedious. I hit a huge impasse with the ‘suck’ mission, and only through blind luck was I able to shoot the box as it entered the monster’s piehole. Really, blind luck. I don’t think I was looking at the screen at the time.