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ROTF DS Decepticons: First Thoughts

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by , 24th June 2009 at 10:53 PM (785 Views)
The original Transformers DS game(s) had their fair share of flaws, but they were fun. Like, really fun. And really, fun is what a game needs to be; your shiny game with a great soundtrack isn't going anywhere if it's not any fun to play.

Transformers: Autobots and Decepticons were two games that emulated the Grand Theft Auto style of gameplay, only rather than steal the car, you turn into it. I really enjoyed the games, especially the Decepticon version, which brought in an interesting new storyline involving the power struggle between Megatron and Starscream. But it wasn't without its flaws. Glitches abound, the limited draw distance is a drawback, and the combat involves some of the worst control I've ever seen. Basically, it was just "shoot the other robot more than he shoots you." No strategy could help you; you just kept firing your weapons or smacking him in the face and hope for the best. So I was hoping for that to be fixed in the sequel.

Today, at Fred Meyer's, I saw both the new games were on sale. I grabbed the Decepticons version, and after growing tired of Ninja Gaiden, popped it in.

Right away, you get a speech from The Fallen, reflecting Starscream's from the first game. And then you're playing. No introduction to what's going on; you're just standing at a dock and Soundwave tells you what to do.

And that's all that happens for the rest of the introductory mission. Soundwave tells you what to do. He'll say, "Hold L to lock onto enemies." You do so. Then he interrupts your lock-on to tell you "Good. Now shoot him." Was that really necessary, Soundwave? Don't you think we could have figured out the "shoot" part from the "lock on" part?

You start as Starscream, but soon, your new character falls from the sky, and you begin playing as him. Basically, you get introduced to all the controls again. They're more in line with GTA: Chinatown Wars, I noticed. That's probably a good choice. One thing I miss is being able to shoot in vehicle form, though. It wasn't always useful, but it was a nice touch, at least.

It was only once I completed the game that I realized this game's biggest flaw. They've scrapped the open world (well, four smaller open worlds) for mission-based gameplay. I'm sure this allowed them to fit in several improvements, but it removes a great deal of the appeal for me. Being able to take a giant robot around town doing whatever you want was great. Having your hand held through rigid missions isn't.

And where's the storyline? There's barely any. Soundwave tells you, as Starscream, to meet with Grindor and Sideways. You do so. Then you start playing as the rookie, and you follow more of Soundwave's instructions. Then you wind up in Europe, collecting data and blowing crap up, and suddenly the voice acting's gone. I mean, yeah, Starscream's voice was too different for my tastes, and the voices have some really weird effects layered on them, but it was still a nice touch. What happened? You guys just randomly decide, "OK, no more voices. Text's enough from herein out." It's the same as with Disgaea. Sigh...

Basically, this is a disappointment next to the original. I guess we'll see if it improves any, but if I had to guess right now, I'd say I'm likely to sell this to GameStop and help finance Spirit Tracks, C.O.P., or the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Yeah, I'm bitter. Grr...

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