Uninspired gameplay and frustrating, laggy motion-controls hurt what might have been an otherwise decent videogame adaptation of the popular animated series.
For one of the last major Wii titles Transformers Prime: The Game is a decent, but flawed entry into Hasbro's ever-popular franchise. Fans of The Hub's hit animated show will most likely overlook its most obvious faults, namely uninspired gameplay and laggy motion-controls, though others will look elsewhere for their robot fix. With a bit more polish, Classic Controller support and possibly some online multiplayer to complement its offline options, this could’ve been a great title to help the Wii go out with bang. Perhaps the upcoming Wii U version will rectify some of the control issues to help make this a decent, if uninspired licensed game for fans. But as it is, Transformers Prime will sadly see the original Wii go out with a quiet whimper.
October 30, 2012
Written by Chris Mitchell (senior editor)
It took me awhile to warm up to it, but The Hub's Transformers Prime series
quickly became one of my favorite shows and entries in Hasbro's franchise. Now
the series finally gets its first game in Activision’s Transformers
Prime: The Game for the Wii. Those who haven’t followed the series need
not worry about the story, as it features a self-contained one that anyone can
step into. It kicks off with the always evil Megatron discovering a dark energon
meteor that contains an even more evil entity by the name of Thunderwing, who
happens to be an affiliate of Unicron (an evil god-like robot the size of a
planet in the Transformers universe) and lives only to destroy the Autobot
matrix. It’s up to you to help out Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobot
gang to stop Thunderwing and Megatron from accomplishing their wicked plan.
While nowhere as polished or action-packed as its high-definition cousin
Fall of Cybertron and suffering
from some control problems, there’s still some robot fun here to be had on the
fading console for fans of the show and characters alike - just as long as you
keep your expectations low and threshold for laggy gameplay high.
The story is told through missions as you play that focus on one of the main
Autobots from the show, whether it’s Bumblebee, Ratchet or even Optimus Prime.
The levels will sometimes alternate between you fighting in robot mode (though
you can transform into your vehicle mode at anytime) and strictly vehicle mode
missions where you’ll have to race against the clock to finish the level. During
the robot mode levels where you fight off a steady stream of Decepticon foot
soldiers, you’ll eventually make your way to a boss at the end that fans are
sure to recognize such as Starscream to even Megatron himself.
All of the characters play and control the same way, for the most part, with
the only differences being how fast or slow they can pull off attacks, move
around, and other such moves. As you fight, your "upgrade" meter will steadily
charge up, which will give you a few moments of increased speed and strength
along with a super weapon of the Autobot’s choice when it’s filled, such as
Ratchet using a giant crescent wrench or Optimus with a giant axe to fight off
Unfortunately, the control setup isn't that great, hearkening back to the
darker days when unnecessary waggle would make an otherwise straightforward game
a frustrating expeirence; that's true here. The analog stick for movement and
the buttons for locking onto targets and firing your ranged weapons is fine, but
the melee fighting actions requires swinging the Wiimote around. This would be
fine on any other Wii title, but there’s some noticeable lag between your action
and it registering on the game. This makes for some frustrating, clunky feeling
controls that could’ve easily been fixed with some classic controller support,
which is lacking here. To mix things up, you can use a different number of
swings of the Wiimote while also holding the A button to change up your attack
combos. But with the lag, it makes it difficult to time your swings and pull off
higher combos, especially later on when the action gets intense where you have
to switch between this and long ranged combat constantly.
The sounds and visuals are just about what you would expect from one of the
last major titles developed for the Wii. The graphics, while decent, still
feature some muddy textures on both the characters and backgrounds. The sound is
one of the game's saving graces, as all of the voice actors from the series are
intact here -including Peter Cullen and Frank Welker - making you feel like
you’re playing an actual Transformers Prime tale. The game is also slated to hit
Nintendo's newer Wii U and will no doubt feature better graphics, but I'm
curious if they'll just upscale the character models used here for a quickie
There’s also an offline multiplayer mode featuring the usual suspects such as
deathmatch, a capture the flag-like mode, etc., that can be played with one
player against the computer or with a fellow human via a splitscreen. You can
only choose from any of the Autobots at first, but as you play through the
multiplayer mode you'll can unlock Decepticon characters to use and join in on
the fun as well. Having multiplayer is a nice feature and welcome distraction
from an otherwise blah campaign mode, but it's hard to see even the most devout
Prime fans spending that much time with.
For one of the last major Wii titles Transformers Prime: The Game
is a decent, but flawed entry into Hasbro's ever-popular franchise. Fans of The
Hub's hit animated show will most likely overlook its most obvious faults,
namely uninspired gameplay and laggy motion-controls, though others will look
elsewhere for their robot fix. With a bit more polish, Classic Controller
support and possibly some online multiplayer to complement its offline options,
this could’ve been a great title to help the Wii go out with bang. Perhaps the
upcoming Wii U version will rectify some of the control issues to help make this
a decent, if uninspired licensed game for fans. But as it is, Transformers Prime
will sadly see the original Wii go out with a quiet whimper.