When I was about halfway through the story-mode of Transformers: Prime, I came to a revelation: while looking closely at the characters, I noticed that the wheels were not round but were in a octagon shape. Now I’m sure you’re wondering: “why does this matter?” It matters because in this day and age, the shape of the wheels almost certainly correspond to how much time and effort a developer puts in their game. Let’s face it: If a developer doesn’t seem to care enough to make sure the wheels of a car are actually round, then they are probably going to cut corners in other areas as well.
As for the game itself, Transformers: Prime is a by-the-numbers licensed game that pretty much does what it needs in order to market the cartoon and nothing more. The Autobots discover a plot by Megatron to slam a meteor into Earth. Thankfully, our heroes arrive just in time to thwart the Decepticon’s plans. However, in the process the meteor breaks up, separating the Autobots across the planet while also revealing the Decepticons true intent: To free an ancient mega-powerful transformer whose purpose is to destroy the Autobot Matrix. Naturally, your three human friends manage to get involved at the worst time, with two of them getting captured in the process; which leads to one of the Autobots (Rachet) being forced to reassemble the Matrix-destroying transformer — AKA the games eventual main boss.
Transformers: Prime is broken down into four game-play segments; the first is the action/adventure segment where you attack generic Decepticon soldiers using your guns and a few variations of the tried-and-true melee combo attack. These segments serve as filler for the second segment: the boss battles. These battles consist of you dodging their attacks while they’re in vehicle mode, firing at them to chip away at their health until they transform into their robot form. Once in robot form you can use some melee combos to speed up the process. The third and fourth segments are almost identical in which you transform into vehicle mode and race to the next checkpoint. One key difference is that some of these levels force you to use the Wii U motion pad to turn left and right instead of the right stick. While this sound like a unique idea, in practice, it turns into a mess where you’re often crashing into walls and objects and repeatedly falling into cliffs. Thankfully, the game is set to a low enough difficulty level that a fall only takes away a few points of health so it never becomes frustrating, but it is annoying nonetheless.
As I said earlier the graphics are nothing special. To be blunt, it looks like they literally took the regular Wii version and upped the resolution to 720P. The models are blocky and the environments are bland and generic. It is the ultimate phone-in job; but hey, the graphics are in HD! Graphics aside, there’s not much else in terms of Wii U exclusive features. You can use the screen to check on progress on collecting the games optimal items: Energon Shards and Cybertron Artifacts (both items help unlock extras and characters in mutiplayer). You can also touch the Autobot insignia on the screen to perform upgraded attacks for a limited time, but this is pretty useless considering the fact that you can do the same thing by simply pressing the left trigger on the controller. You can also play the game on the controller, but doing so will negate the games only improvement over the original Wii version (the HD visuals).
Transformers: Prime for the Wii U is a textbook example of a forgettable launch game. The graphics are nearly identical to the original Wii and the Wii U extras are throwaways. While nothing about the gameplay is outright offensive in the sense that the controls are responsive (outside of the driving levels) and work properly; the game’s levels suffer from a repeated case of déjà-vu when it comes to level design. The only variation is with the boss battles themselves, and even those are forgettable. Even the mutiplayer was thrown together. Besides there being no online play to speak of, it pretty-much consists of a couple variations of your basic deathmatch. The game was literally thrown together. The graphics are the same as the older Wii version other than it being upscales to HD. The gameplay is almost identical thought each chapter. Even the mutiplayer was almost an afterthought.
- Transformers: Prime fans will have some fun playing through an episode of their favorite TV show.
- The graphics are the same as the older Wii version other than it being upscales to HD.
- Makes almost no use of the Wii U controller, other than a generic item status screen and the ability to play the game on your pad.
Summary: While competent to a degree this games mediocrity will ensure that it --like many launch titles -- will be forgotten in a couple years.
- Format: Wii U
- Developer: Now Production
- Publisher: Activision
- Release Date: November 18, 2012