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Review: Transformers Prime on Wii U is no Fall of Cybertron, but still quite enjoyable

Transformers Prime Screenshot - 1111862

When it comes to developing Transformers games that don't have tie-ins with High Moon Studios' Fall of Cybertron, the first question that probably comes to mind is "Why bother?"  After all, when the long-awaited sequel arrived a couple of months ago, it set a new standard for licensed game quality that few folks will barely be able to match.

But that didn't stop Activision from cranking out a different notch in the Transformers regime for the Wii U, one that focuses on the Prime storyline that's featured in the animated The Hub series of the same name.  And while it lacks the distinction and long-term replay value of Fall of Cybertron, I'll happily admit that it's not bad, for what it is.

The game follows missions that are akin to the storyline taken from the TV shows, putting you in control of various characters throughout the series (including Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots) as you battle enemies and take on varying tasks.  It's cut and dry stuff, filled with mostly forgettable villains (save for Megatron) that you have to beat up repeatedly, but it'll satisfy the core audience, in this case kids looking to be their favorite cartoon characters.

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And even though the gameplay isn't fairly deep, it is quite good considering the usual low levels that most licensed fare dwells in.  The lock on shooting and running around clicks with barely any error (save for cheap shots that send you flying to the ground) and the melee combat is better than expected, with plenty of thunderous power moves that can send an opponent flying.

If anything gets problematic in Transformers Prime, it's the driving, as you have to use the GamePad like a steering wheel to get through these sections.  It's okay, but there are times you can drift off the wrong way due to a slow response time, or miss a jump entirely (with your Autobot saying "NO!" each time, sigh) and have to start the level over again.  Sometimes it's best to just leave things simple.  (For the record, the GamePad doesn't really come in handy over the rest of the game, but it manages when it comes to bashing Decepticons.)

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Along with the single player mode, which takes about a few hours at best on the highest difficulty, there's also multiplayer, but it's nowhere near the depth of Fall of Cybertron.  Up to four people can take part in simple robot-bashing combat.  It's hardly in-depth, but young ones and those who argue that Megatron CAN defeat Optimus Prime may want to give it a go.

As for the presentation, it's hardly next-gen stuff, but it isn't bad.  The locales and animations match up with those from the TV show, and some of the level designs are rather creative when it comes to getting around.  And kudos to Activision for bringing in a lot of the voice talent from the show, including Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime and Frank Welker as Megatron.  Nothing wrong with the old-school.

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While Transformers Prime could've used more meaningful content along the lines of Fall of Cybertron, at least it gets enough right to recommend it to fans of the show and those needing a capable action game on the Wii U.  It hardly amazes, but when it comes to licensed fare, it transforms and rolls out in style.

Good

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Robert Workman
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