Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Kingdom Review

Transformers has been quite busy. Since the end of the second part in the trilogy I got to review the Rescue Bots Academy show as well as the recent Battlegrounds game. Well, now we’re at the final part of the trilogy. Part 2 ended off with a ton of plot lines to explore but since each part only has a few episodes I’d say a lot of us expected there would be loose ends. The only question was, would these be in the form of direct cliffhangers or more like threads that aren’t really mentioned but you know they’re out there? I’d say it’s closer to the former to we’ll see if there’s a part 4.

This part pretty much opens with the Autobots and Decepticons crash landing on this mysterious planet. They are greeted by the locals which are the Maximals and Predacons. Unfortunately for the heroes, the Decepticons and Predacons hit it off really quickly. Meanwhile Prime has to figure out a way to defeat the Maximals and to find the All Spark once and for all. If he can get that, then all the sacrifices will have been worth it.

Now you may be wondering about what’s going on with the subplot back on Cybertron but there’s no time for that so we don’t get one. We find out what happened in the aftermath though. The Kingdom saga is only 6 episodes so those are all really spent on this planet as the gang tries to work together. The series has certainly come a long way from the original days of war on Cybertron that’s for sure.

It’s fun to see the Maximals return. It’s been a while since I saw Beast Wars but the old characters are all pretty familiar. Primal and the gang actually do pretty well in the fight. I would even argue they should have beaten the Autobots pretty quickly. The heroes have been running on the last smidges of Energon pretty much since the beginning of the trilogy so I’d expect they would be out of luck by now. I suppose Autobots are naturally tougher than Maximals so it balances out but if the fight kept going they really should lose.

We don’t really get to see the heroes fight much in any part of Transformers so it was a cool skirmish and I wouldn’t have minded if it kept on going for a while longer to be honest. The heroes look good as you would expect. Prime is still calling the shots well. While I may not have always agreed with him in the previous two parts, at this point he is committed so I’m with him on seeing this mission through to the end. Turning back now would just not make any sense and they all know it.

Prime’s so close to the goal after all. The rest of the Autobots are solid as well but Prime really gets the biggest role. Bumblebee also gets his moment to shine as he is acknowledged by Prime as being the best candidate for the Matrix and leadership position. In context I definitely think it’s a stretch since Bumblebee just joined the team but you can also interpret it as a diss to the other members not being ready for this.

For the Maximals, Primal is fun of course. He definitely does not like Nemesis at all which is why it’s hard to work with him at first but gradually he softens up. He doesn’t really have the same commanding presence as Prime but does what he needs to. Then you have Airazor who does the most dangerous jobs for the team. It doesn’t always go well for her but she stays strong and does well at convincing a Predacon to rethink things.

Then on the Predacons side you have three main members. First is Megatron II but I wasn’t a big fan of that guy. He basically worships Megatron and is always mentioning how great the guy is. He doesn’t exactly feel like a leader and acts like a minion. The guy needs to have more self respect to be taken seriously here.

Dinobot was great as always though. He looks very strong and is also reasonable. His decision to go along with Starscream for a while may have been shaky but ultimately he wisened up and got out of there pretty quickly. He was one of the best characters in Beast Wars so I wasn’t surprised that he was great here as well.

Then you have Blackarachnia. There are so many spider themed villains in Transformers that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Still, she’s a fun member and definitely likes goading Starscream on. Both of them aren’t exactly the most loyal fighters out there so they make for a good team. Both will need to watch their backs though.

As for the Decepticons, Megatron is a fun leader as always but at this point he’s just a complete villain who is running around and trying to destroy things. Gone is the Part 1 Megatron who you could make the case of having a stronger argument than Prime. That’s one thing I miss from the first part which is that we had a whole lot of nuance between both factions. Due to the show skipping the initial outbreak of what set off the war, you really didn’t know who was right. We could assume that Prime was given the entire franchise history but the fact that it was close was interesting.

Megatron insists on using the Matrix in this season but you can’t help and think that it is just holding him back. The matrix doesn’t offer any super abilities and all of the characters let him know that it refuses to be used by a Decepticon. I’d toss it or lock it up if I was him.

Then you have his loyal follower Soundwave who finally gets some action here. He’s definitely not portrayed as a big fighter here but Soundwave still gets his hype. Mainly through Laserbeak who really does good here and takes on several challengers. Finally there is Starscream who has his plans as always. You wonder if he will end up being the main villain since that happens a lot. Either way you’ll be satisfied with his portrayal. He’s as cunning and quick witted as ever.

Throughout the part we have a lot of fights between the 4 factions but gradually we are given more and more hints that something else is coming. Galvatron appeared in the opening episode after all with the golden disc of destiny and there was all the foreshadowing with Unicron early on. Well, here’s where this all comes to play as Nemesis and Galvatron show up. I wish they could have appeared more because to me this was the most interesting part of the whole saga.

In season 2 the show already delved into the idea of a multiverse with the whole Dead Zone aspect. (Which comes into play here) Well, it looks like in one timeline Unicron ended up winning and took both Prime and Megatron as his lackeys. In a Galactus kind of way, Unicron reformatted them so they would work for him as Nemesis and Galvatron. It’s very interesting and cool to see both a Prime and Megatron teaming up like this.

Sure, they may be evil and potentially not in their right minds but it’s a great team up nonetheless. I love it when a show introduces multiple timelines and parallel dimensions. There is so much you can do with that and even if you don’t go the guest star angle, you can still get a lot out of it just through discussion and lore.

Mind you, Netflix sometimes likes to go a little too far with sci-fi lore and there was an instance where I was worried this was going to happen here as well. We do get some info dumps and pondering about the universe but it ends as quickly as it begins so we’re good. The climax is really a big battle as everyone tries to fight these invaders off and it’s pretty epic. Galvatron and Nemesis were pretty outnumbered but otherwise I dare say they would have crushed everyone.

In theory we’ll see them more in a Part 4 if we ever get that. You know how I’m a big fan of cliffhanger endings so of course I had a blast with the ending. If we ever do get a sequel it’ll probably be the best part. Nemesis may not talk but he has a cool aura around him and Galvatron is as fun as ever. I like that he has a lot of plans going and was doing his best to defy Unicron. In a way he’s like Starscream in that respect as Megatron doesn’t like to work for anybody. He’ll likely continue resisting Unicron until he ceases to function.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s CGI so it won’t look quite as clean as all of the animes but you can always tell what is going on and who is who. CGI will likely never quite stack up to hand drawn for me but if you are going to go the CG route, you should always try to be colorful. That way the fight scenes will pop out at you and you can still get a lot of cool visuals. So I’d say the CG here is good because there are definitely a lot of moments where you can pause and what is happening on screen will look pretty good. The soundtrack is more on the underwhelming side though. I couldn’t tell you about a single theme in the show. I’m sure there is music of course but none of it is memorable.

It’s worth mentioning that this is another Transformers title that didn’t need to add any humans. It’s all about the bots and it works well. There’s a whole lot you can do with the franchise without even needing the humans because the Transformers world is incredibly vast. Part of the fun in season 2 was seeing the world with Soundblaster because it was a whole alien culture that the Transformers had to visit. You could make a Star Trek type story just about exploring other planets as well. The battles with Prime and Megatron are classic but those are all other avenues we could explore.

Of course in a Part 4 we need to go into the whole Unicron angle. That said, I think the toughest part about incorporating him into the mix is it’s hard to picture him being defeated. Take this trilogy for example. Both sides are incredibly low on energon and the combined armies had trouble with his heralds. What would they do when the actual Unicron shows up? They would need a bunch of the celestial Transformers and some of those living cities to do much of anything to him and even then I’d find it pretty hard to buy into them winning.

In the end I’d put this one pretty close to the Machinima Transformers show. This one went the more conventional route initially but by the end we had a lot of guest stars and pretty ambitious plot lines. This one wins in terms of it being so much longer than the few minutes per episode and it had time to do more. At the same time, I’d give Mach the edge in terms of the actual story and scale of what was going on. It was cool seeing all of the obscure Transformer characters showing up and doing their thing like the Mistress of Flame. This one wins overall though as the extra length is just too good to pass up. Now we just have to wait and see what the next CGI experience is, hopefully it arrives sooner than later.

Overall, The War for Cybertron trilogy was pretty fun. It does feel like the name was more applicable to the first two parts though as the third was mostly unrelated. I suppose the battles are an extension of what happened previously though so in that sense you can say it was still a war. I don’t think this will go down as one of the more memorable Transformer shows but I am glad they keep pumping out titles left and right. At this point Transformers has so many shows you’d be hard pressed to name them all without thinking about it. If you haven’t checked this one out yet then you definitely should. If you combined all 3 shows you’ve effectively got a full season’s worth of content.

Overall 7/10

Transformers: Cyberverse Review

It’s time to look at a recent Transformers show that ended. I suppose it’s always possible that they’ll announce a season 4 in which case I’ll review that separately but I get the feeling that this show is done for good. It’s a reasonably fun show and one that was trending upwards. Each season was better than the last which is always incredibly difficult to do. The show made it easy as the first season was pretty underwhelming with a Bumblebee subplot that took too long to form. By the end of the show it can proudly hold itself along with the rest. There are few Transformer shows it would beat but I would still say it was pretty good.

The first plot is mainly about Bumblebee’s memory loss. Something happened to all of the Autobots but we don’t know what that is. Whatever it is, Bumblebee is completely mindless now and acts pretty crazy like Crash Bandicoot. Windblade has decided she will fix his memory but to do so they will have to take on a lot of Decepticons and relive memories that Bee may have wished he could forget. We need Bumblebee’s memories, but the heroes may end up wishing they didn’t remember what’s in store for them. That’s really the full plot of season 1. Bumblebee gets his memories near the very end of the season which then ties into season 2.

Ultimately what really holds season 1 back is that Bumblebee can’t hold his own story. In most of the various Transformers shows he just isn’t very entertaining. Robots in Disguise did the best job with his character, but that’s really the exception. Once Bumblebee gets his memories back he’s a lot better but during season 1 he’s pretty annoying. Ultimately Windblade has to hold these episodes on her own. Additionally there really isn’t much of a plot here. The episodes are all pretty much stand alone adventures which are decent, but on a 15 minute runtime limit there isn’t much they can do.

Season 2 is mainly about the big battles between the Autobots and Decepticons. Now that all the Autobots are awake they are ready to fend off the attack. What they don’t know is that the Decepticons have had a schism as well and now Starscream is in command of his own mini fleet. He aims to get the All Spark and obtain unlimited power. Both Optimus Prime and Megatron may have to team up if they want to have any hope of stopping him. The tough part is really what comes afterwards because Prime knows that he definitely cannot trust a Decepticon. Can the heroes manage to stop Starscream while also constantly watching their backs against Megatron and his forces? It’s definitely a pretty difficult balance that they have to worry about the whole time but fortunately we have some pretty hype characters here to help out like Hotrod.

This season was quite the improvement over the first. The cast got expanded quite a bit and I remember being surprised that Prime was back to being a main character. I shouldn’t be, but it feels like he rarely is anymore. Both of the Rescut Bot TV shows, Robots in Disguise, then Cyberverse. It had been years since he was a true main character. Well, this show brought him back into the running and that was neat. We got to finally have the classic Autobot vs Decepticon battles once again. Surprisingly I don’t think the writers liked Megatron all that much though. Typically their rivalry is very evenly matched but in this series it was quite lopsided. Optimus Prime would easily crush Megatron and is treated as being way stronger than the other bots. It’s a good thing for Prime but it makes Megatron look really bad. He never truly recovers from that and even in the final season he ends up feeling more like a sub boss.

Finally we have Season 3. While 2 ended with a big cliffhanger about the Autobots heading to a Cybertron that was already taken over by the Decepticons that actually gets resolved pretty quick. We then get a pretty big timeskip here. I miss not being able to see more of how that plot resolved, but I’d say it was worth it because the third season really starts with a mystery feel. Another alien race has taken over the planet and enslaved all of the bots. Only a few resistance fighters are left, comprised of both Autobots and Decepticons. They will have to learn how to work together to stop this threat. Along the way we slowly find out answers about how this all happened and there’s even a twist on who the big boss is. It’s an excellent arc and definitely the peak of the series. After this the series ends with an extra quick mini arc that’s super rushed but does deliver on a solid ending.

So as you can see, the show was steadily improving as it went on. That’s a good thing because it does show that the series was starting to find its stride. It’s a shame that it didn’t keep going on but 3 seasons is a solid amount of time. Certainly enough time to give it some solid replay value for the future. I’m still not a fan of the 15 minute episodes style though. I really think that all of the titles should aim for the classic 22-25 minutes. Keep in mind that it’s 15 minutes with commercials, I’m thinking it’s probably closer to 12-13 if you time them. It’s a style that I’ve never agreed with. You work with what you get and the show did a good job with them, but I can’t help but feel like it would have been better otherwise. This series couldn’t quite keep up with the G1 shows, Beast Wars, Robots in Disguise, or Prime. It beats the Rescue Bot shows but that’s not too hard. I think I would ultimately take this one over Animated though although it’s a pretty close one. The boost this show got from season 3 definitely helps a lot.

The animation is good. I like the fight scenes and the show actually does give us some choreography with the sword battles. We have good long range battles as well and I’m just glad to have fights. The battle of the Titans from season 3 was another highlight. We got to see what these guys could really do next to the average robots. They were treated as being super powerful even if one was being manipulated the whole time. I do think the heroes shouldn’t have had a shot once the villain leader busted out the one hit laser. The show definitely does have its share of plot hax but what show doesn’t right? The soundtrack is more on the generic side though. There are no memorable tunes to point too. This isn’t surprising.

As for the writing/tone, the show is basically your average Saturday Morning cartoon material. It’s pretty light hearted and filled with fun adventures. That’s why I applaud season 3 for actually taking itself seriously. This show won’t be remembered as great but I do think the episodes did a good job of being entertaining. They also certainly don’t drag out within the 15 minutes. Mix this all together and you’ve got the makings of a pretty good show. I don’t really have any serious negatives that would hold it back. It does enough where I can recommend it to anyone who wants to have a fun little adventure. It’s not great, but it’ll do the job.

The characters are largely portrayed in the same way as usual. Prime is shown to be a great leader and fighter. This is one of his best portrayals and he really feels accurate to his G1 counterpart. Bumblebee is pretty annoying in season 1 as I mentioned and tends to get in trouble a lot. I already spoke about how Windblade is pretty solid and she definitely gets a critical role in saving the day. Grimlock doesn’t look very good here and I feel like the shows do not know how to handle his character. Basically he’s very smart in bot form and when he transforms into a Dinobot he loses his intelligence.

Hot Rod gets a big role here and even performs the heroic sacrifice at one point. His dark form is also pretty neat. He’s still one of my favorite Transformers out there so I’m always happy to see him getting his due respect. Cheetor was a surprising addition to the cast from Beast Wars, but he servers his role as mediator pretty well. He comes across as a little weak and pretty slow to react to what’s going on though. He definitely could have done better. I’ve already spoken about how Megatron is surprisingly weak in this series. His personality is still solid but it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s always getting completely dominated by Optimus Prime.

Shadow Striker is one of the highest ranking Decepticons in this show and she looks pretty good. She gets quite a bit of character development as the series goes on and is willing to bend the rules a bit. Soundwave and Shockwave have an ongoing rivalry throughout the series. It’s a pretty fun subplot and they take turns getting wins over the other. I’d say Soundwave gets the better of that rivalry since he lasts a whole lot longer. His glitching out gimmick in the final season was an odd choice but he definitely looks really good overall. The guy gets some props for basically being the second in command.

Starscream gets a big and satisfying role here as well. The guy is as power hungry as ever and doesn’t give up until he’s on top of the food chain. I’ve always liked him for that reason. He never quits and while he may not always get the last laugh, he gets a lot of victories in the meantime. I was very pleased with hos he looked here. Then you have Dead End who was a pretty interesting Decepticon. I liked the guy. He may not be particularly skilled but he always talks a good game and doesn’t let anyone walk all over him. I think he helped the dynamic a lot in the final season. Clobber also gets a big role in the final season. She’s the really strong but not too smart kind of character. Clobber was certainly helpful although she’s not really my kind of character. I liked her better than Macadams though who preferred to just sit back and do nothing. He may as well be a villain if you ask me since he would always refuse to help the heroes. Not much of an ally to have if you ask me.

Overall, Transformers: Cyberverse is a title that had a good run. It’s got solid animation and a few good story arcs. Since the show continued to get better and better you were bound to have a good time as long as you make it through season 1. Season 1 does definitely start off slow but it’s all up hill from there. It was good to see all of the classic Cybertronians again. Windblade has definitely been getting a big role in a lot of Transformers titles now and she holds up well as a main character. I’d say that she is even better than Arcee. Meanwhile Hot Rod and Optimus Prime get great roles as well. I’d like to see them phase Bumblebee out as the main character but as long as it’s an ensemble cast like this show I think it’ll ultimately be okay.

Overall 7/10

Bumblebee vs Kurama

This is a tribute to the Bumblebee film. While the movie was actually pretty good, I can’t say that the lead was quite as solid. After losing his memory he also lost a lot of his composure and nerve which ended up hurting him quite a lot in the climax. He wasn’t even really fighting back throughout the battles which was a little iffy. While he eventually found his footing it was too late. Just as it will be here since Kurama has the massive sped advantage and will easily be able to ensnare the Autobot with his whip. Bumblebee will fall to pieces. Kurama wins.

Bumblebee Review

It’s time to look at the new Transformers prequel/reboot that came out. I’ve never been a big fan of the live action Transformer films. The franchise is still awesome and the G1 animated film was excellent, but for some reason it just couldn’t make the jump to live action. A large part of this could likely be blamed on Michael Bay and the Transformers not getting enough the respect a franchise of its caliber should have. A good adaption should be amazing. This one isn’t quite there yet, but Bumblebee is certainly an improvement and is actually a good film overall.

The film starts with a really nice action scene on Cybertron as we see Optimus Prime and a lot of the classic Autobots dealing with a Decepticon invasion. They are being pushed back though and Prime decides that they have to fall back. He sends Bumblebee to Earth to protect it and ultimately they will all converge on the planet to set up a counter strike. Bumblebee manages to make it to Earth, but a Decepticon follows and breaks his voice box. He has also lost most of his memories. We then cut to the main heroine of the film, Charlie. Charlie’s going through a pretty tough time as her father died and was quickly replaced with a new one. She has yet to warm up to him and has started distancing herself from her family. Her life begins to change when she finds Bumblebee and he becomes her first friend. Can she help him protect Earth from incoming Decepticons or is this all too big for one person?

I can’t stress enough how awesome the first scene is. I would certainly watch a movie all about the Cybertron fights and I think it would very quickly go down as the best Transformers title. It would basically be a CGI film at that point but the human characters really aren’t necessary so that’s not a bad thing. There’s no reason why Transformers has to be live action, especially if it’s a prequel. It’s almost a bit of a tease since you know the bulk of this film will be on Earth, but a strong opener is always a good thing to have for any film so I think this was the right move.

Also, the action does stay at a high level even on Earth. The previous films didn’t really have any choreography. The characters would typically just slam each other with normal hits but there wasn’t much to the fight scenes beyond that. In this film you actually see a lot of good hand to hand combat. Bumblebee is a really small Autobot compared to most of the others so as you would expect he needs to fight with a lot of throws and judo combos. The film shows that to great effect and the fights here have so much more energy than previous films.

The special effects are also much better. The characters actually look like Autobots and Decepticons here as opposed to being generic robots in the last few films. The designs are very faithful to the source material. Cybertron itself looks amazing and all of the visuals are just top notch. The soundtrack is also quite good. A lot of big 80s songs pop up here. Sometimes back to back in the same scene. It’s always nostalgic to hear these tunes. I can’t say that I knew too many of them, but the style itself just feels very nostalgic right from the start. It helps make the human scenes more fun.

Jack steals the show here as far as the human characters are concerned. From the start he suspects that the Decepticons are up to no good and is pretty reasonable about it. As he explains….their name is the Deceptiocns! That should be the end of the story. Unfortunately he is outvoted by the top brass so he is forced to work with the Decepticons, but I like that he voices his displeasure over this constantly. He doesn’t even pretend to play ball with them which is good. If you’re that confident that they’re up to no good you can’t shake on it. I hope he will return for a sequel.

Charlie is the actual main character here and she’s pretty reasonable. Naturally she is going through a tough time so she isn’t in the best of moods, but she isn’t nearly as sour as other main characters who were in a similar predicament. She does a good job of doing what she needs to and even her inevitable blowup moment isn’t nearly as dramatic as you might expect. She also ends up helping during the climax. The only moment where Charlie doesn’t look particularly good involves a diving situation. Granted, she never agreed to anything but the way she handled the situation wasn’t amazing. Also, I probably would have kept the window closed in the next scene. Memo is the next door neighbor who shows up and acts as the comic relief here. He’s not nearly as bad as he could have been, but I can’t say that I was a big fan. He seemed a little too desperate to hang out with Charlie the whole time and I don’t think it was just so they could be friends considering how quickly he was going.

So the film had a lot of positives, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I do think that some of the humor scenes could drag on a little too long. Bumblebee stumbling through the house and breaking everything is definitely an overdone trope. After breaking a bunch of stuff you’d think that he would learn and adapt quick enough to stop making things worse. That doesn’t happen and he almost completely totals the place. I also think Bumblebee being so scared during his first appearance was a little odd. That subplot seemed to stick around as he didn’t even put up a fight towards the climax. I suppose the damage from the opening scene may have also prevented him from fighting, but I was still a little puzzled the whole time. Other humor scenes worked fairly well though like the Ricky Roll theme getting a quick cameo.

Charlie’s family also wasn’t too bad. I can see why she wouldn’t get along with them, but I thought the parents did a reasonable job of being annoying while still feeling genuine about looking after her. They weren’t trying to be annoying and at the end of the day they were a little helpful. The new dad more than the Mom, she could be a bit much at times since she was more reluctant to help. The bullies were certainly dramatized, but I did like the fact that they didn’t recognize Charlie outside of her job. In movies a lot of time they seem to have perfect memory but realistically I doubt they would remember everyone they make fun of. The revenge against the bully was a bit drastic though and I think that scene could have been cut. I didn’t find it particularly funny.

Overall, Bumblebee was pretty good. It was certainly a lot better than I had expected it to be which helps its case quite a lot. I think it will hold up to repeat viewings as well even though I certainly don’t plan on re-watching it anytime soon. The pacing is on point with an action scene always being around the corner. The film can try a bit hard with the humor at times, but at least it never devolves into dirty jokes like the old film. Whether you find them funny or not, I wouldn’t say that any of them are terrible. If you are avoiding the film because you have had poor experiences with the previous installments don’t let that stop you from watching this one. Bumblebee really feels like a brand new start for the series and if the quality stays at this level then I can finally start looking forward to these Transformer films again.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Robots in Disguise Review

Robots in Disguise lasted for a pretty long time even if it never seemed to get ultra popular or anything. It did well enough for itself to continue and kept the Transformers Prime continuity alive a little longer. It was a pretty good show that was consistently entertaining week after week but never made it to the next level as a Great show.

Well, let’s get the humans out of the way. Their role is rarely all that big episode but they are basically guaranteed some kind of subplot in most of the episodes. Russell is an ok kid, but it sure was selfish of him to be willing to throw away his football team’s chance at a championship just because he was nervous. The team was counting on him. The worst moment though was when the team was actually getting ready to win the game without him when Russell shows up to get the winning kick. They were about to win despite being ditched so if I was them I probably would have politely declined the help. These kids also rarely showed up at all during the series which was odd. Definitely not a bad thing by the way since I’d rather focus on the robots anyway. Russell also took his TV too seriously as he actually sulks and guilt trips everyone for a full episode when it breaks. In short, Russell’s not a bad character but he is still a kid so he often gets in the way or only does well thanks to plot hax.

Denny Clay often gets the short end of the stick in this series. He collects a lot of little trinkets which he then plans to sell. He doesn’t get a lot of buyers but at the very least you can’t deny that the guy has heart. At the end of the day you feel bad for him because the Autobots are always breaking his figures and collectibles either intentionally or by accident but they rarely apologize. Even when they do it is hard to think of them as genuine since they keep on doing it. They’re really costing Denny a lot of money which is a shame.

Bumblebee is the heroic leader of the series and I think this is the first time I’ve ever liked him in the entire franchise. Usually he’s not my kind of character because he’s either very weak and annoying or he just doesn’t really have a personality. I blame the live action films for making him a non character for a while but this series stopped that. Bumblebee is now a capable leader and warrior. He resisted arrest when the cops were corrupted and while he was already the best character in the series for a while by that point, it sealed the deal. It was just a great scene since there is definitely no way that Bumblebee could possibly lose to these guys. He should definitely not go willingly with those guys when the safest bet is to press forward. Bumblebee gets a lot of development throughout the series and is always the voice of reason when everyone else is panicking. I’m not sure what the heroes would possibly do without him and his tactical precision.

Drift has been a character who is a very mixed bag in the Transformers series. Sometimes he is a really cool character with a very streamlined design who can fight well like in the comics. Other times they take the Samurai motif all the way so he is a heavy set warrior who talks about honor a lot. This is the latter and I just never cared for the character all that much. He is very by the books and a strict old guy., that’s just not what I look for in my favorite characters. His pupils weren’t any better either though as their training never seemed to end. This show isn’t always very consistent with character development so having two characters work to improve during the series was naturally a bad idea from the start. It simply wasn’t going to work nor was it ever going to work. They’re basically just kids so they aren’t ready to be fighting here with the big kids.

Strongarm is another one of the main characters and she looks up to Bumblebee since he rose so high in the chain of command. With her mastery over the rules she figures that she has a bright future ahead of her as well. She quickly finds out that this will be difficult as she is often paired up with Sideswipe, an ex con who loves breaking all of the rules. While Strongarm’s character doesn’t really change much during the course of the show, she is one of the better supporting characters. She is certainly more interesting than Grimlock or Drift and is usually more dependable than Sideswipe. I also tend to like the police bots since they can be fairly unique. She does have a bad habit of reading a villain his rights before actually securing the arrest.

Grimlock is another one of the main characters and he is easily the worst one. He is the main comic relief character of the series which his fans will probably be sad about. He isn’t very smart but you would st least think that he is very strong right? Well, that isn’t the case as he is overpowered by just about every con around. While he is slightly stronger than the rest of the Autobots he is so slow that it is rendered moot. He simply can’t keep up with the others and pretty much any Grimlock episode you could assume would be one of the weaker ones. He just can’t hold his own story all that well. Definitely not my kind of character.

Sideswipe is the final main member of the Autobot fighter squad. At first he defies authority and does whatever he wants but by the end he is basically a team player even if he would never admit it. At times the show didn’t seem to know how strong he should be so Sideswipe can look really good in some episodes and really bad in others. At his best he is portrayed as potentially being the secret weapon of the team since he used to be a really powerful stealth fighter. Of course, with how much he talks I’m definitely not sure about that. Basically you have to be able to get over the act that he is constantly picking fights and arguing with Strongarm. It’s certainly better than most of the show’s other attempts at humor though so I can get behind that.

Fixit is the team’s main comic relief character. He is broken despite his name so he always ends up sayings words that sound like what he wants to say but is always off by a letter. He will then punch himself which causes the right word to come out. You better like this gimmick because it is featured in every single episode that he is in and sometimes more than once. I can’t say that it’s my kind of gimmick but the punch is always handled very well. You can hear the strain in his voice after the smack. He definitely wasn’t needed in the show though and never really added anything to the main cast’s dynamic.

Windblade is one of the experienced Autobot guest stars who shows up later to help. I always like the classic “all star” character who seems to know everything and is always willing to lend a helping hand. That being said, she isn’t always as skilled as you would expect from the confident attitude that she has. She has a cool design either way though and I liked her well enough. Adding her to the main cast probably would have made the show more exciting and she is undoubtedly better than some of the main cast members like Drift and Grimlock. You can make a good case for her being better than Strongarm and Sideswipe as well but at least within the comedy atmosphere of the show they are more entertaining. To see Windblade in a show where she can really show off her stuff, you should take a look at the Machinima show.

This wouldn’t be a Transformers show without Optimus Prime appearing so naturally he does manage to get in on the action. He still had his cool jet boosters from Transformers Prime and is acknowledged as one of the heavy hitters. As you would probably expect there is some tension between him and Bumblebee since both of them are leaders now. At times Prime is to blame for their fights as he does undermine Bumblebee at times but sometimes Bumblebee is simply being jealous. Either way it is always cool to see Optimus. I would have liked him to have had more of an active role in fighting some of the opponents. Instead the show usually finds an excuse to keep him out of the way. It makes sense from a Power Level perspective though since the show would be tempted to nerf him. Since the main cast loses in every episode, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do the same to Prime. As it is, they did have him lose to Laserbeak which was really surprising. Nice hype for the little guy though. Prime probably should have told Bumblebee what was happening in Cybertron a lot sooner than he did though. Taking down the evil council should have been really easy for them to be honest and it should have been obvious that it was mind control since Prime should absolutely be acknowledged as a hero. It all worked out in the end though. Prime is always a consistent character and is still one of the best.

Steeljaw is basically the main villain of the series as he just comes back for more in each and every arc. He’s a strategic wolf bot who is good with sub-Sonic waves and tricks people with his cunning. His hand to hand skills are enough to typically make him able to fight on par with Bumblebee. It can be hard to take him seriously due to the fact that he appears constantly which results in a lot of losses but he is played seriously. He also is a credible threat who actually does get the upper hand on the Autobots from time to time. His design is good and the character does get his share of good scenes so ultimately I suppose he did good.

Megatronus was certainly more of a threat to the heroes though. He got a large amount of hype throughout and when he finally appeared the heroes were certainly no match for him. He has a great design and really good abilities. His big two part adventure were probably the best episodes in the series and it was a shame to see him go. He was the closest that we got to a Megatron in the series and definitely served the role well. I dare say that he’s probably the strongest villain in the series.

Another big boss during the series was Overload, but he is less memorable. He’s another strong bot and one that Bumblebee has a personal vendetta against. He was a credible threat which is always the important thing in the end though. Menasor was one of the last big bots to show up. He’s the fusion of Motormaster and his lackeys. While he doesn’t look too intelligent at first and you have to wonder how the villains haven’t mastered the form yet, he does good by the end. It was fun to see the large robots even if it was only briefly. The Titan battles of the show were always entertaining but were largely left unexplored. Bumblebee and his team barely even got to master it before it was all over.

Glowstrike and Scorponok were rather disappointing as far as big villains go. They weren’t just weak, they were naive. They somehow didn’t expect Steeljaw to betray them even though that is basically his whole character. They had a lot of potential and in general that arc was pretty hype, but they just folded when the situation got tough. It was rather unfortunate and in the end they were no better than some of the lackeys. From the minions, a few of them were fairly memorable with how often they kept showing up. Underbite comes to mind right away as he is the Decepticon’s answer to Grimlock. He’s also really strong and gets even stronger whenever he eats metal. He gets to do this quite often so he is almost always stronger than Grimlock. I liked him well enough and typically the heroes could only beat him with plot hax.

Thunderhoof is an old mob boss who always talks tough. At first he was on roughly equal ground with Steeljaw, but gradually the gap between them widened until he was not really a match anymore. He’s still a fun opponent though and his rivalry with Sideswipe is pretty good. There’s also Quillfire whose abilities are very unique. He can hit you with his quills which will affect you in a random way. Certainly a good way to win a fight, but also a way to lose one if the effect ends up being a positive one. His personality was fun as he always talked about the revolution. Finally we have the comic relief Clampdown. He’s scared of everyone and will certainly rat out his teammates if given the chance. Not much more to add on to that guy as I can’t say that I was a fan. There are a multitude of other bots in the show, but you get the general idea.

Starscream surprisingly got a big role in the show and was one of the cooler guest stars. He looked really good and a quick Prime reference also means that he looked better in that show since he found a way to escape and come back for revenge. He’s a fun opponent as always and he’s definitely still one of my favorite characters. It’s just hard to see how you can not enjoy the character. Starscream clearly enjoys himself while blasting the Autobots away and while he was careless in letting the Minicons get away, he was still pretty imposing throughout the arc.

Soundwave got to appear as a guest star two times and was given a lot of respect in each appearance. The heroes treated him as a legendary villain who was out of their league which his fans will certainly appreciate. That does mean that the way he loses can be a little suspect of course as the film typically has a problem when the power levels are vastly different like that. Instead of thinking up a clever plan to stop the villain, the heroes will usually just win with plot hax. Definitely a little cheesy, but by and large Soundwave definitely looks really good and lives up to the hype. Laserbeak definitely deserves some recognition as well as he looked great when he appeared. Still as loyal as ever and even stronger than he used to be.

The show has some long running story arcs like finding all of the Decepticons who were launched from the ship and the Cybertron conspiracy, but for the most part the series is an episodic one. Each episode will have a self contained plot so you definitely need to enjoy the characters or you won’t be a big fan of this show. Fortunately, thanks in part to the character designs and the overall writing, the series is pretty fun. It may be an advantage of the series going for comedy from the start. Some titles can do both pretty well like DBZ, by others like Naruto Shippuden can only handle the action part and the normal scenes can get a little dull. I’d argue that Robots in Disguise has the funnier cast and the talking scenes are more enjoyable. Naturally the action scenes can’t really hold their own in comparison though.

The series could get serious when necessary though like the climaxes of each season. The first season’s fight brought with it some super firms and a really cool fight with Prime and Bumblebee against the new villain. It’s still my favorite climax in the show. The final season had the cool fight against the High Council and the team finally got to put their Super form to good use. The fight was also a little more brutal than the first ones as the villains landed quite a few hits. In general I thought the final season did up the intensity from the earlier episodes. The one where Sideswipe got traumatized was also pretty dark (relative to this show) even if I didn’t buy into the trauma. Losing the homebase was definitely a big event at any rate.

The sheer length of the show is also impressive but it can be a double edged sword. On one hand it’s great that we get so many adventures with the team. It helps them get more likable and you’re happy that you get a consistent adventure every week. So much happens that it’s hard to even remember it all. I barely remember the Optimus Prime training subplot during the first season, but it was actually handled very well and it was thrilling to see him return after such a long time. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of that plot and it was actually pretty serious throughout. While the show is almost always light hearted, it did get quite serious when necessary. This is basically the case during all of the climax events and like any good action series, the climax is where the show reaches its peak.

On the other hand, the budget begins to show and quite a lot of enemies end up reusing designs. This happens quite extensively as you watch more and more of the show. The designs are good but reusing them is never the answer. I think they could have certainly gotten more creative even if it only meant changing a few parts and making them Chimeras or something. There are also some additions that feel rather pointless like the Minicons. The Minicons don’t only show up for one season, but get almost the same plot in the final arc as a few minicons are working for the enemies. They’re too weak to be a threat and never add anything to the show. We didn’t need the minies that could fuse with other bots and the mini traitors also serves no real role. Some subplots like that never really hit it off.

The animation is actually pretty good. To be specific, I’m not sure if it’s the animation that I always thought looked really good or if it’s the character designs. Whichever of the two it is, it makes the episodes pretty fun to look at. The fight scenes may not be all that long typically but the ones we get are satisfying. This really isn’t the kind of show that does a good job on the power levels though. The whole team of heroes are often defeated by a single opponent with ease and then they will be able to take on far stronger opponents at a later date. At one point the heroes were basically losing in every single episode which was pretty amusing but in a sad way. At least the team always talks tough despite this so they clearly don’t let it get to them.

As you may expect, the soundtrack is rather ordinary. The tunes are catchy enough but they do come across as generic. You will certainly remember them quite well by the end but that’s thanks in part to the fact that the music selection is quite limited so they end up throwing the same songs at you. The music doesn’t really help or hurt the series. It’s basically just around and you won’t get much of an impression from it.

Overall, Robots in Disguise will probably end up fading from memory for most compared to the other Transformer shows. It’s a good show but it certainly doesn’t try to be all that distinct or memorable. Whatever it may do well, other shows have done it even more impressively. It’s really a great way to keep enjoying the Transformers franchise since it’s a pretty long show at least. If you’re a Transformers fan and haven’t seen this show yet then I would definitely recommend this one. Even if you are not a Transformers fan I would recommend checking it out since it’s a solid all around action show. It’s very easy to just turn on and enjoy since most episodes are stand alone titles and most of the plots are rather basic. At the very least, I’ll miss having the show around. In particular, I’ll definitely miss Bumblebee since he was handled perfectly. I guess we’ll see if the next Bumblebee show coming up can top this one.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Robots in Disguise Review

Transformers threw in a comic for Free Comic Book day, which is pretty neat since the new TV show airs on Saturdays as well. While it may be less plot oriented than some of the other shows, G1 was like that for a while and look at how much fun it is. Robots in Disguise isn’t ready to take on Prime just yet, but it’s been a very fun show and I don’t see that changing. This comic is really similar in that regard.

A Decepticon bird has appeared in the area and he is trying to get back to Cybertron. The Autobots must now get him away from the amusement park before the humans begin to suspect that something it up. Can Bumblebee and his team defeat this foe in time? The comic really came at a good time since the episode in the TV show today featured a Decepticon bird. Coincidence? I think not!

There are a lot of villains who escaped in episode 1 so it makes sense that some of them should also be captured in the comics unless we’re actually going to have over 100 episodes of just catching Decepticons. Some of them will be off screen so putting them in the comics is a safe bet. The story is fun to read from start to finish and it is one of the main reasons why I liked the comic. Remember what I was saying about Jurassic Strike Force 5 in my earlier review?

Transformers is using the same techniques as that series, but they are doing a better job of it. For starters, the characters are more likable and that’s already a big win in my book. It’s like Sonic Boom or the Sonic Comics. There are action scenes, but the dialogue also flows really well and this results in a complete comic. The Robots in Disguise comic series seems to be off to a very good start and I will definitely be on the lookout for trade paperbacks once the Library orders them.

This comic also did something that most of the issues on Free Comic Book Day did not do. It had a cliffhanger of epic proportions. Let’s just say that the characters of the Prime series are not pleased with Bumblebee’s exploits and now they are going to take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately for Bumblebee, I have to say that his team really has no chance here. Arcee outranks Strong Arm and Grimlock can’t match up to Bulkhead. The only chance for Bumblebee will be to see if he can team up with Sideswipe to beat Ultra Magnus. It will be a stretch though and this could end very badly for the new team.

I can’t even blame the Prime counterparts as the main team is cutting is really close lately. They’re flirting with danger in just about every comic/episode and the humans only haven’t figured anything out because they don’t seem to be as smart as the average joe. With the stakes climbing up and the plot starting, the series has nowhere to go, but up!

As for the art, it is standard TV show cash in stuff. The faces can look pretty off model at times and particularly the characters’ mouths. You should see Strongarm try to do a scowl! On the bright side, the action scenes can still look good and I did like the art on the final page. It’s just going to be constantly uneven and changing so it’s nowhere near the level of art that Marvel and DC possess. Hopefully, experience will help it along as the series goes on.

Overall, Robots in Disguise is really starting to make a name for itself. On the Transformers totem pole, I think that it is safe to say that it beats Beast Wars, Animated and Rescue Bots while losing to G1 and Prime. I don’t really see it passing those two for quite a while if ever, but it just goes to show how good Robots in Disguise can be. The art was not the best, but at least it is rather streamlined and you can chuckle at some of the face expressions. IDW’s next comic is going to have a tough time beating it.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Review

Nothing beats the original Transformers film and that never changes no matter how many times I see it. It’s easily the definitive robot film and I actually don’t believe that any will ever be able to pass it. Nonstop action and a solid cast of characters keep this classic afloat and after Transformers 4, it was time to relive the good ole days. Get ready for an emotional war as the Autobots and Decepticons have their climatic clash!

The plot starts after most of the TV show events have already occurred. The Decepticons have a huge advantage thanks to the fact that they have already conquered Cybertron and the Autobots seem to be very weakened. The heroes are low on energon and they only have a city on Earth as well as a pair of moons. The Decepticons decide to destroy this resistance once and for all and a climatic battle ensues. Meanwhile, the legendary Unicron is on his way to Cybertron and he’s already conquered several planets. Defeating him is basically out of the question at this point. Can the Autobots even afford to worry about him with all of the Decepticons who are around? Only time will tell!

The film is really fast paced and so many plots develop throughout the course of the film. This is considering that the film isn’t even a full 90 minutes! The first half hour is easily the best part of the film as we witness a big Decepticon invasion and the heroes heroically try to fend them off. It’s emotional and the fight scenes are just intense. The film doesn’t really slow down until we get to the planet of Junk where the film gives the audience a brief rest. After that, it’s time for the climax against the planet eater.

Ironically enough, the climax is one of the least exciting parts. After the first 50-60 minutes of nonstop action and battles between the two sides of Transformers, the final half hour is a little uneventful. We have a water planet, the junk planet, and then a quick battle against Unicron. It’s still solid of course, but nothing beats the first chunk of the film. All of the classic fighters get their chance to show what they’re made of.

Optimus Prime is still the fearless leader of the Autobots and this continuity was easily his best portrayal. Prime means business and he effortlessly takes out quite a few Decepticon warriors. His climatic battle against Megatron is still famous and the battle was very well done. Prime is essentially the perfect main character and he really had no flaws in the film. I doubt we’ll ever see him look quite this good again, but he’s consistently been a solid character across the multiverse anyway. His shotgun/cannon also looks impressive and it’s definitely one of the stronger weapons in the film. He may not have gotten a very large role, but it was definitely a critical one.

Megatron is also an excellent villain. He is a great leader for the Decepticons and his plan is a solid one. Infiltrating Autobot city nearly ended the war in an instant. He took out quite a few Autobots and he seems to have a lot of energon since he was fighting all day. I will admit that I was always surprised with the fact that Megatron begs for his life at one point. I suppose that he doesn’t care what he has to do in order to defeat Optimus Prime, but as Prime said “I thought you were made of sterner stuff.” Megatron is able to get past this thanks to the fact that he’s an awesome villain and the film wouldn’t have been the same without him.

It was good to see Grimlock since I really didn’t like his portrayal in TF 4. This is the Dinobot that I remember and he’s acknowledged as one of the strongest Autobots. There’s a reason why Prime sent the Dinobots to take out Devastator! Few other robots could have been challenged with such a task. Grimlock may not have crushed Devastator, but he did pretty well with the other Dinobots. (The other Dinobots are cool as well and I believe that Slag may have done more damage than Grimlock, but their roles were a lot smaller so I won’t really be talking about them) Grimlock even humors Wheelie for a while and then takes command of a huge army of Sharkticons. That’s what I’m talking about!

Hot Rod is essentially the main character of the film and this is how I became a big fan of the character. He may have gotten a little watered down in the comics that came out after this, but he still looks pretty good in the film. He shoots at the Decepticons upon seeing them and then he embarks on a dangerous journey with the others so that they can mount a counter attack. When he finds out that the Matrix has been stolen, Hot Rod immediately says that they should attack and get it back.

Now, his only sad moment is when Megatron is able to easily overpower him and shoot Prime. It’s a controversial move since it can be said that Prime would have won otherwise. I am confident that Megatron would have still shot him, but maybe it would have only been once instead of several times. It’s definitely a debate, but Hot Rod’s intentions were sound and he really did try to help. It just turns out that his power was feeble compared to Megatron’s and he never stood a chance. He still pulls through when it counts and that’s what ultimately matters. He officially ended the wars and changed history!
Bumblebee gets a very small role in the film and he only gets a line or maybe a few more. His design is definitely interesting and it’s one of the only ones from G1 that didn’t really become mainstream. I will always prefer this version since he can talk to most of the others, but he definitely wasn’t a star in this film. He doesn’t even say thanks at the end when Daniel saves his life. It was still good to see him get a cameo though.

Unicron is the big bad villain of the film and he makes for a solid threat. Instead of talking tough and doing something gritty to call attention to himself, Unicron just destroys the planet in one fell swoop. After that, he sets his sights on Cybertron and it’s a pretty epic journey. He takes out two moons for fun as he gets closer and closer to his goal. His attack on Cybertron is also one of the few times where we actually get to see Shockwave mobilize the troops so that was cool. (Although the Decepticons did not last for very long) Unicron’s decision to transform into robot mode was his big mistake. The enemies quickly took advantage of this and Unicron is essentially defenseless in this form. It’s why I am opposed to villains being too large. It just makes them vulnerable in the end. Ignoring that, he was still a pretty solid opponent for the Autobots and his voice was nice and menacing. Not even Megatron was able to stand up to his tricks.

Galvatron is the new villain who was introduced for the film. He’s not as new as you may think, but that’s another story and you’ll realize this as you watch the film. His arsenal is impressive and taking on Starscream is a pretty good feat. The scene should be pretty cool if you’re a fan of Galvatron or if you’ve just wanted to see this happen to Starscream for a while now. Galvatron talks tough throughout the film and he can back it up with his high amounts of power. You have to respect the fact that he never gives up and keeps on trying to make his plans succeed. He’s just in a very difficult position to make this actually happen. He is a very good villain for the film.

Wheelie is definitely the worst Transformers robot. His voice is definitely tough to understand and you stop trying after a while. The rhymes were a little over the top. I do applaud the fact that the film tried to make the voices unique, but it just didn’t work this time. Wheelie ends up sticking around through the next TV show, but I can’t say that it was a good thing. He doesn’t really bring down the film a whole lot, but he’s still unnecessary.

Wreck Gar is from the Planet Junk and he talks in radio signals mixed in with TV. It’s very hard to understand him and I can’t say that I liked him as a character. It helps that the whole Planet of Junk was a little uneventful and I didn’t like the Piranha world that much either. Wreck Gar just doesn’t really add much to the plot and I’m a little skeptical on how that junk would be so sturdy. He must know something that I do not.

Kup is one of the major players in this film, but he’s never been one of my favorite Autobots. He can fight and he has a lot of experience, but it just wasn’t enough to win me over. He’s not a bad character, but he’s really not the type of guy that I tend to find likable. He’s just too old and he doesn’t fight all that much. He talks a good game, but he typically can’t back it up. Still, he did pretty well when he took out the tank so I give him props for that.

Ultra Magnus is one of the major Autobots and I used to think that he was a powerful fighter based on the name. I’m sure that he’s tough, but there’s nothing to really suggest that he’s tougher than the other Autobots in this film. I’m definitely a fan of his, but the film really tried to show why he wasn’t a terrific leader. He didn’t have time to worry about his comrades and his one on two fight didn’t go over so well. Dropping the Matrix of Leadership was likely his biggest mistake. It would have been great if Ultra Magnus could have went down putting up more of a fight. He may not be the next Prime, but he’s still a likable Autobot.

Daniel is the new human companion to the Autobots, but he isn’t a great character. He means well and he helped the Autobots to become aware of the Decepticon threat, which likely saved many bots. However, he just wasn’t much of an asset to the team and he didn’t figure out how to use his energy gun until the climax of the film. Also, asking the Autobots what happened to Spike during such a dangerous situation was a little on the dicey side and he even broke the great air board from the intro of the film. He’s still a step up from the protagonist of the Transformers Trilogy.

Spike was one of the main characters from the TV show, but he doesn’t get a huge role in the movie. He decides to leave Unicron a little present in the form of a bomb, but he took too long admiring his craftsmanship to make enough time to escape. I can’t say that he was very likable, but he wasn’t a bad character either. He was just pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and he definitely panicked a lot when Daniel hesitated to save his life. I suppose that it was understandable though….

Arcee doesn’t look very good in this film and it was before the big social wave that helped to make female characters much stronger in today’s media. This is before Arcee became the pro fighter that we see in Transformers Prime. She helps Daniel out through the tough times, but she never gets a chance to fight back. I would have liked to see her fight some Decepticons and the closest that she comes to this is when she breaks one of the tires on an enemy car when the Junk bots attack. So, she definitely couldn’t look as good as the other Transformers without any fight scenes, but she was all right I suppose. Definitely needed some action though.

Starscream really steals the show for the Decepticons. He’s the one Decepticon in the film that I prefer to Megatron. His shreeky voice is iconic at this point and some would even say that it is more memorable than Prime’s or Megatron’s. That may go a little far, but it’s definitely one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Transformers. This is Starscream as he was meant to be portrayed and the fact that he directly insults Megatron instead of beating around the bush is intense. “How do you feel mighty Megatron!” as Starscream kicks him while he’s down. His lines to Megatron as he throws him out of the starship are great as well and he even got to wear a crown. It’s hard to find any character that’s as good as Starscream.

Soundwave gets a pretty small role in the film, but he is the only Decepticon to show any loyalty to Megatron. He may not have stopped the others from throwing him off of the ship, but he did save him from the being left at the Autobot base. Soundwave’s definitely one of the more useful Decepticons and I’ve always liked him as a character. Letting the constructicons know who was superior was definitely a nice line as well.

The film’s soundtrack is dynamite and just about all of the songs are catchy. The only one that I didn’t care for played during the planet of Junk as they all held hands and danced around. It really wasn’t my type of film and I definitely could have gone without it. Aside from that, it’s hard to even know where to begin. It really makes you feel like you’re watching a theatrical film. The music is loud and it’s energetic. You really get into the fight scenes and they’re well played. The main Transformers theme is easily my favorite tune and I’ve listened to it many times. It ends up making the opening credits really exciting and you know that you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

The animation is also excellent. This film came out in the 80’s and yet, it looks so much better than some 2014 shows like Pac Man and Teen Titans Go. (Still airing in 2014 anyway) This film always helps to reinforce the fact that animation has been on the decline in America. We need to get away from Flash and CGI so that we can go back to traditional hand drawn shows/films. I’ve viewed this film on dvd many times and it’s finally starting to show some wear and tear. The final 20-30 minutes saw a drop in quality, but it wasn’t the film, just the disk. This film definitely deserves the blu ray treatment and then more people can see the epicness from which Transformers was born. The animation definitely holds up very well to this day and I can say with confidence that it is timeless.
Overall, this is not just the definitive Transformers film, but it is the best robot film out there. The cast of characters is excellent and the soundtrack is top notch. The animation pulls no punches and there is action throughout the film. The fight scenes are very well done and the robots focus on winning instead of tearing each other to shreds for a while. This results in accurate shots that take the robot down in an instant. There were only a few characters that I didn’t really care for and things slowed down towards the end, but that’s not a major concern. I highly recommend this film to Transformers fans and to anyone that wants to relive the good ole theater experience. The film is nearly perfect and I doubt that it shall ever be surpassed by another Transformers film. I recommend watching this one whenever you are about to watch the Michael Bay version.

Overall 9/10

Transformers Age of Extinction Review

I’m a pretty huge Transformers fan and the franchise has been great in many areas. Comics, TV Shows, and Video games have all been greatly produced. The live action films is the area in which Transformers typically falters. I had some decently high hopes coming into the fourth film despite the first three because the trailer was pretty solid and it should be a fun experience. Well, it’s essentially the same as the last film so things didn’t get much better for me. The film jumps in head first and manages to fall into just about every hole as it struggles to the finish line. Still, the film had some good moments…let’s look at how things played out.

Everyone is still sad over the battle of Chicago and the world has moved on. The government has decided to start destroying all of the Autobots who are still out there. Well, the CIA is doing this and the President is unaware of the situation. (The government is very uncoordinated in this film) Meanwhile, Cade finds a truck when he is buying things to help him invent something amazing and it turns out to be Optimus Prime. Together, they must find the other Autobots and stop Lockdown. (Who has made a contract with the humans) With a film that’s around 3 hours, there are definitely a lot of subplots to help keep the plot from ending too fast. Those will be mentioned in the character bio sections.

Cade is the main character and he’s a solid character. He’s definitely not great, but he does his best to get through the days. He’s tough when it counts. He may have been a little on the generic side and lacked character development, but it happens. He’s very overpowered and it’s hard to take his fight scenes seriously, but he doesn’t squander the power. He’s definitely one of the only likable humans and without him the film would have been a little tougher to watch. He did the right thing in helping his daughter to stay away from guys for a while and while it didn’t ultimately work, you can’t blame him for trying. Cade’s a noble character and we get so few of those nowadays.

Optimus Prime is back of course and this portrayal of him is definitely different compared to any of the others that we’ve seen in the past. Prime isn’t advocating for human safety anymore and he’s not here to show that all sentient beings have the fight to freedom. He’s here to destroy enemies and leave the planet. It’s definitely a big change from what we have seen in the past and I can’t say that it’s a good thing. Optimus starts off the film in a badly injured state thanks to the events which have transpired off screen. The humans want the Autobots dead after all and with their primitive technology, they’ve just about done it.

This likely hurt Prime’s logic circuits and his first few scenes are all about him saying how he will destroy the opponent as he fights a (losing) battle against the humans. The feral Prime battles with Lockdown, but it’s more of a chase scene since the Autobot is on the run. He begins to regain his reason once he’s back in normal form, but things don’t go so well during his big break in. After that whole operation and seeing what was being done…why didn’t he wreck the place? Leaving it intact was a huge mistake and then we get to watch the heroes get beaten up again. They weren’t as unprepared as last time, but it can be a little irritating to see.

Prime then makes the right move to leave once and for all after finishing up a mission, but ends up making a controversial move. After Man of Steel, everyone loves to use the controversial card as we have heroes stretching their limits to see if they are still heroes. We saw some of that in Amazing Spider-Man 2, Xmen Days of Future Past, older films like James Bond and Star Wars used this as well. It’s pretty unnecessary, but not nearly as bad as Superman’s moment. It will hurt Prime’s portrayal as the hero a bit, but it wasn’t a terrible moment. Letting his guard down is another story. I also really disliked how he handled the Dinobot situation. Threatening them and then forcing them to help out is pretty uncharacteristic and it felt like a Decepticon move.

In the end, I have to say that this version of Prime may be the worst one that I’ve seen. He’s not terribly heroic anymore and he seems slightly more mindless. Not completely of course, but he’s always going on about how he’s going to destroy someone. He just really sounds as if he’s broken and maybe that will be a plot point later on. Perhaps not because his voice slowly starts to go back to normal by the end, but he was definitely off. Since the next film will likely be a sequel, it’ll be interesting to see how his character arc goes. I do wish that Prime had taken a more traditional personality in the film, but these things happen. He’s still the best character in the film (Which says a lot eh?) and I just had a lot of complaints about his portrayal. I do like that he took matters into his own hands and finally decided that the humans are not always worth the trouble.

Galvatron gets a role in the film, but it’s relatively small. There are a few twists about his origin and they were well played. I wish that he could have appeared more since his short appearances were pretty epic. His plan is decently well thought out and his minions being so weak was likely not in his calculations. Otherwise, it could have been the end of everything! He’s the best antagonist in the film and I was surprised by how cool he was.

Lockdown is the main villain of the film at least according to all of the trailers. In the actual film, it is a little debatable with all of the major human players around. Still, Lockdown’s a solid villain and he definitely means business when battling the Autobots. Since he’s a mercenary, Lockdown gets to make fun of the Autobots and Decepticons. Power wise, he’s high tier, but one of the weakest ones of that caliber. He would likely get wrecked by Sentinel Prime, Optimus Prime, Galvatron, or Megatron in a fair fight. His battles in this film were typically against opponents who were already weakened or against one who could get distracted. In a fair fight, I don’t believe that he would have done quite as well. Of course, power isn’t everything and he still looks pretty good. I can safely say that he’s much better in the film than in the video game. He’s one of the few likable villains in the film since he at least makes sure to have a motive and solid lines.

Bumblebee’s character is a whole lot different from the last ones. He’s a lot more reckless and he picks fights whenever possible. He risked jeopardizing the mission just to finish a personal vendetta. These are all great traits, but his character change just came out of nowhere. Also, getting humiliated by Drift didn’t help with this. Overall, Bumblebee was still a good Autobot and great compared to most of the other cast, but he didn’t feel like Bumblebee. Regardless, I wouldn’t mind if he kept this personality since it’s a lot more intense than how he used to be.

I really don’t like Hound and I have to wonder why they chose to include him when there are so many better Autobots that could have been in it. He’s the “hardcore” Autobot who’s been through his share of fights and now he’s very gruff and experienced. He shows this by shooting a defenseless alien creature after going to the cage and getting spat at. Hound completely destroys the creature and it was essentially an unprovoked attack. He definitely doesn’t make the Autobots look like the heroes with actions like that. Hopefully he is not in the sequel.

As much as I didn’t like Hound, Crosshairs may have been even worse. How he became an Autobot is beyond me, but he’s always acting like a Decepticon. He clearly says that he plans on becoming leader and he loves to start fights. We’re supposed to get back on his side when he makes the “hero” move to take out a few enemy ships, but why should that make me like him? He essentially had to do it as they would have blown him up anyway. He’s another Autobot that I hope doesn’t get to appear in the next installment.

Drift was one of the main Autobots in this film, but he was also wrecked. I didn’t care for his character as he was essentially a Japanese stereotype. He strongly believes in honor and he doesn’t resort to violence…except when he does. His only good scene is when he defeats Bumblebee in their fight, but even then I can’t say that it was very impressive. He barely even got a chance to use his swords and there was nothing to separate him from the others. He’s an excellent fighter in the comics and his personality is great. We don’t get to see any of that in the film. He just isn’t likable and I can’t say that I really care for the character design.

Ratchet gets a very small appearance in this film and it’s not a good one. Unfortunately, he suffers from the fact that the Autobots must stay true to their beliefs and stay away from retaliating against humans. Even so, I believe that he should have looked a lot better. At least put up a fight as you go down! The design also didn’t even look remotely like Ratchet. His scenes were definitely not enjoyable and it doesn’t help the Autobot cause.
Joshua (KSI head) is one of the big antagonists from the start and we get to watch his “character development” as he becomes a likable guy. Unfortunately, he was just too far gone and I couldn’t sympathize with him. I also just didn’t find any of his scenes very humorous. It was just over for me at that point and his faint attempts as being likable and emotional fell short. I just found it odd as to how much screentime he got in the later half and how we’re supposed to feel sorry for him. He’s not as bad as some of the other villains, but definitely bad enough.

Tessa was definitely one of the more unlikable characters in the film. We have another rebellious protagonist who makes things hard for Cade and she’s constantly lying so that he won’t know that she has an affair. At least she didn’t make “The call.” (You’ll know what “the call” is when watching the film. Let’s just say that it involves a whole lot of money!) Tessa was really just annoying from the beginning and it would be great if she could have been written out along with shameless Shane. (More on him in a bit) Making matters worse is her refusal to cross the bridge later on due to the dangers of heights. I can sympathize as I’m mildly hesitant to go to high placed myself, but I’m in the middle of a firefight…I would make the effort. Her character development just took her south the whole time. She was a decent character at the beginning and slowly started to fade when Shane appeared on the laptop. Then she dropped off of the character development cliff when Shane actually appeared. Staying out late and deceiving Cade just aren’t cool traits in a hero.

Shane is a pretty terrible character and he definitely didn’t help the film at all. Not only does he make sure to give up and essentially leave his friends to die whenever possible, but he’s really…stuck up. We’re supposed to take his side (I think) and sympathize with him because everyone only lives once and all, but I definitely did not. All of his lines were pretty cringe worthy and I’m glad that Cade gave him a tough time for the whole film. Shane should have just walked away and exited after his first scene. He would still be a bad character, but at least his appearances would be limited. His line about the mouthwash was just as bad as his other lines and I have to wonder how anyone could stand his “Cooler than you” attitude throughout the film. It works for guys like Gary Oak…but Shane. At least he (hopefully) won’t appear in the sequel.

Harold is another one of the big human villains in the film and he’s just as unlikable as you may have expected. There really isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel for him and he should at least expect that nothing will come of his plans. Does he really think that he will be able to just disappear and keep all of the money? I don’t believe that he thought things through and he just makes for a boring antagonist. Well, he also serves to bring up the moral aspect for the film, which we really didn’t need, but it happens.

James does things personally as opposed to hiring others to do the dirty work. He’s a decent fighter and he has a lot of past experience. In the end, he does get his own fight, but it’s out of place in this film and the fight scene is not fun. Michael Bay decided to make it ultra realistic and gritty so that it ends up being a scuffle that you want to fast forward instead of an epic fight. He’ll never be a likable character and I’m sure that everyone won’t even remember his name as they walk out of the theater.

Lucas is “The Friend.” Why the quotations? Well, in the Transformer films, there is always that one character who talks to the main character, thereby exposing that he’s a pretty petty person at heart. Sometimes, the character is just downright bad like Lucas. His first lines are terrible and I immediately disliked the guy. Haven’t we had enough characters who were attracted to everyone? Getting hit in the face by a Football was also embarrassing and his scenes get worse. He is supposed to be funny, but it’s hard to find him humorous when 1 out of every 3 jokes would just be in bad taste. Luckily, his appearance in the film is pretty brief. Tough to watch, but still brief.
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As for the Dinobots, they were clearly added just to sell the tickets. They only really get to appear for a few minutes and most of their scenes have already been online for weeks thanks to trailers and clips. Worse than that is the fact that they just didn’t look very good. They were essentially mindless brutes who crave action, but lack skill. It’s cool for Optimus Prime fans to see him beat up Grimlock, but the fight is incredibly one sided. Prime just shows how slow and ineffective Grimlock is as he lands blow after blow. If he can be bested so easily, why are the Dinobots a game changer? It would appear that they are strong, but without skill and reason. Luckily, this is enough to take out the fake Transformers. The flying one was definitely the coolest design wise, but I can’t say much else for them. I expect much bigger things in the next film.

I have to say that I was disappointed in the film from the very beginning. Transformers’ intro for this film is one of the worst that I have experienced in quite a while. We start by getting to see an animal eaten and then a mass genocide where the animals don’t really get to make it. It didn’t get much better from there as that may have been the only big case of animal violence, but it was a really sad way to start the film.

The Transformers films have always had a lot of gross violence in them and I’m afraid that is doesn’t end with this film. An alien uses its tongue to attack one of the heroes and I’m sure that we all know what will happen as soon as the hero grabs the knife. It happens so often and it’s always pretty wince worthy to see the act. The hero may not have had a choice, but it’s the film made the choice to add the irrelevant scene as well.

How about the fight scenes in general? Well, the main problem with them is that there isn’t really any substance. The fights aren’t glamorous like Spiderman or expertly choreographed like Captain America. This results in really gritty human fights that aren’t even fun to watch and robots wrestling with each other. The human fight scene is just awful so I won’t really go into it, but it’s not enjoyable. It’s what you would expect from a film like 300 or a big war film like the Hobbit, not in Transformers. Then the fight scenes simply aren’t very enjoyable and I blame it on the effects.

Maybe Live Action simply isn’t ready to have large robots fighting each other. Every time they transform, the robots typically have to hit the ground or take a long time to complete the action. They just seem as if they aren’t comfortable as that size and every movement is an effort. A good example of this is when Prime tries to jump to another building as he’s being chased. His jump is pretty terrible and it would be akin to me trying to jump over a fire hydrant and tripping over it. Based on his size, the jump should have been no problem and easy for him. It’s as if the robots are just wearing robot suits, which restrict their movements and make everything stiff.

So, that translates into the fights. The only good fights in the film were really Prime’s final fight against Lockdown and also his fight against Galvatron. Even those weren’t amazing, but they were good enough. They were actual fights. The rest of the action in the film mainly consisted of just blowing up minions or car chase scenes. Technically, those two battles were probably the only fights in the entire film. We had a brief skirmish with Bumblebee and Lockdown, but it wasn’t long enough to be considered a fight.

That’s likely another one of the problems that we have here. The film has a lot of explosions and action throughout and it may have worked for another film, just not Transformers. I was waiting for the big mecha fights so I will admit that I was basically waiting for that the whole time and the rest was just padding. Unfortunately, that was pretty much all of the action that I was going to get. The film loves to show off Cade shooting the Transformers and the heroes “epicly” slaying the villains, but one hit KO attacks are never fun if they are around constantly. It’s like the Avengers film as they beat up on the aliens. At least we got some scuffles and a Hulk vs Thor fight before that. I would have been satisfied if we got more fights, but none of them really happened.

Horror films have a tendency to have the main characters swearing every few minutes, but typically action films don’t follow this. Now, Michael Bay is involved with the Transformers franchise and that could be why, but the characters are always yelling crude things whenever something explodes or they are shocked. We have the generic moment where the guy uses the “big” word and the audience clapped a lot. I could only metaphysically shake my head and wish that the G1 film would suddenly go on the air.

The next issue with the film was the….Fanservice! I really saw this one coming from a mile away, but it doesn’t make it any more bearable. We have the obnoxious friend of the main character who makes sure to be point it out and show that he isn’t a good person. Then we have the whole plot between Tessa and Shane, which is terrible. I’ve already talked about it in length so I won’t go into it so much, but it’s not cool. Naturally, Tessa is using the new fashion of super short pants that really do not even count as pants anymore. What is the world coming to? I could really go on, but you get the picture. To the film’s (Really) slight credit, there is much less fanservice than the first two films and possibly the third. So, the series is making some slight improvement in that area, but it’s happening too slowly. There really weren’t too many scenes like that, but the problem was that they were mostly at the very beginning, which really takes you out of the film as you have to try and forget them as soon as possible.

Human Empowerment is the theme that really helps to wreck the film. At one point, Cade gives Optimus Prime a speech about how he needs to learn how to trust humans again. Yeah…….no. No, that is not what Prime should do and Cade should feel ashamed for even mentioning that. He has no political power so he would be convincing Optimus to stay in a hostile place where the government will just destroy him at any time. Prime has already lost a whole lot thanks to the humans and he shouldn’t need to lose more. Unfortunately, we’re supposed to agree with Cade since we’re humans and all. I’d rather that Prime just blew up the planet or decided to rule it. Either way, the Earth would likely be a lot more peaceful.

Unfortunately, the biggest effect of human empowerment is that they look too good in the fight scenes. See, these kind of moments are added because it is supposed to unite us as fans. Many people cheered when Jaws was taken down and they did the same thing in Alien and Terminator. The problem is that it can be very hard to root for the humans in the modern films. I can safely say that the protagonist was likable in Alien and Jaws and the government wasn’t to bad so it was okay. Innocents were being taken down in Jaws so the main character took some steps. Capturing Jaws would have been a lot better and it would have helped the film jump up a few stars, but it happened. There weren’t really any innocents in Alien so it’s a little trickier and I don’t want to get too off topic. The problem in Transformers is that they show such a large amount of evil humans. These guys just want an excuse to murder sentient beings and they figure that destroying a Transformer will be fun. Thus, we get to see the humans destroy many robots and they’re sure to do it in cruel ways.

That’s one of the problems about being a hero. If the main characters had been 5 Decepticons, you can bet that the humans would already be destroyed. Unfortunately, the heroes don’t fight back until it’s too late and they’re never as advanced as the villains. The Decepticons always have some big weapon that they can use to enslave humanity, but the Autobot tech tends to be primitive in comparison. Aside from evil humans taking out the Autobots, we have the equally (un)believable moments of humans taking on villains.

Cade is the main offender of this as we get to see him mow down over a dozen robots. There’s one particular scene that is reminiscent of the Storm Troopers as he’s in plain view and all of the robots keep on missing him. There is no one else in this scene so you can’t make the argument that they are distracted. The robots simply keep on missing until Cade has fired enough shots to beat them. Another sad moment is when Cade jumps into the climax and he actually blocks a sword strike by lifting up his gun. I didn’t know that this guy could bench press several tons. The robot was swinging with full force and Cade just blocked it. That’s really unbelievable and it drives the human empowerment thing way too far.

The soundtrack is pretty good and Lockdown’s theme is easily the best part of it. It comes whenever he appears and it’s a nice theme of tension and sadness as you know that things won’t go well for the heroes. It’s pretty catchy and it definitely works for the film. The insert songs are also decent some of the time. We get a nice rock song as one point I believe and then we also have some soft ones that can be a little off putting. It definitely depends, but through it all, the soundtrack was pretty good. Not 5 star material, but definitely good enough.

I won’t even get started on the “rage” scenes where Optimus Prime and Cade fail to deliver. Every time….it just doesn’t work. I expected some more retaliation from them. The guy in the elevator who knew hand to hand combat was good and the girl with the motorcycle was a decent character as well. These two just got really small roles although the girl’s was almost big enough to be considered as a supporting character by the end. The lady who finds the bones in the opening basically vanishes so I can’t say that she got much of a role either. It was essentially filler since the Dinobots weren’t there. Then again, this film had a whole lot of filler so that it could get around 3 hours. All you need to do is look at the scene where a man asks if Cade has insurance…nuff said.

The film did have a moment of brilliance as one of Hasbro’s biggest franchises of all time got to make a cameo. MLP…Yes, My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic got a cameo as Rainbow Dash entered the stage. It was pretty intense and fans of the series will either like the cameo or feel that it is parodying the whole Brony issue. I won’t get into that here of course, but I’m sure that it was the latter since Bay loves to throw in stereotypes whenever possible. It was still nice to see Rainbow Dash get included though.
Overall, my hopes for this film were shattered. I just barely didn’t give it a negative rating as the film had so many flaws. I’m a pretty huge Transformers fan if I do say so myself and seeing this version of it can be unsettling. They essentially wrecked Optimus Prime and Drift. The Transformers look very weak since simple armaments can take them down for the count. The Dinobots were essentially thrown in at the last minute and the film still had some of the usual (terrible) humor and fanservice. Most of the characters were downright unlikable and the action wasn’t really enjoyable. Lockdown, Prime, Galvatron, Case, and the soundtrack helped the film to stay afloat. Believe it or not, I still have high hopes that future Transformers films can be good, but I believe that they will have to change a lot of the current roster. Getting a new director and writer would be a very good start and it should be a remake. This continuity needs to end! The ending for the film is decent thanks to the fact that it could help the sequel if we follow the big plot, but I have a feeling that it will be ignored and the next film will be on Earth again. I certainly hope not. Either way, the film was really long so there isn’t any replay value and I would definitely not recommend this film to anyone. (There isn’t even an after credits scene) If you want a good Transformers film, check out the original animated one. Now that was a film!

Overall 5/10

Transformers Rise of The Dark Spark Review

We are nearing the opening of the new Transformers film so excitement is certainly in the air. (Unless you’re a Jetfire fan) Likely to celebrate, Hasbro came out with a time travel game that features the heroes from the films and their older counterparts from the War For Cybertron games. In this game, they are of the same continuity and the Cybertron era merely takes place thousands of years before the current days. It’s nice to see both versions fight on the big screen. I can definitely say that this game holds up against the tough Transformers legacy. This legacy is powerful because all of the Transformers games that I’ve played (Minus Animated) have been awesome. I can safely say that they’ve all been 8s or very strong 7s. Transformers tends to have amazing gameplay and that’s what I expected from this game. Luckily, I was not disappointed!

The plot involves a man machine being by the name of Lockdown. He arrives on Earth and then decides that the Dark Spark will be his. The Autobots don’t know what he intends to do with this power, but they must stop him and put an end to these dangerous plans. Optimus Prime will have the help of his classic pal Bumblebee and the honor bound Drift. The three of them will foil Lockdown’s plans once and for all! Meanwhile, thousands of years ago, the Decepticons learn of the Dark Spark after becoming aware of the existence of the Insecticons. Optimus Prime realizes that if Megatron obtains such power, it could be the end of everything. Prime’s allies in this quest are Sideswipe, Jetfire, and Jazz among others. They face heavier resistance than their future counterparts as Megatron is aided by legendary figures like Starscream, Shockwave, and Soundwave. One Shall Find The Dark Spark and One Shall Fall To The Dark Spark!

Lockdown makes his big appearance in this game. I haven’t really seen him before now so it was interesting to see his personality. He’s definitely a little more..chipper compared to the other villains. That’s not the best word to describe him though. Maybe sarcastic or old? Either way, I can’t say that I’m a fan of Lockdown, but he makes for a decent final boss. His character design is humanoid, which is always good because bosses are much more fun to face off against when they’re your own size. His plan is intriguing and it makes a lot more sense than the average villain plan so I give him props for it. It’s an ingenious way to use the Dark Spark.

Optimus Prime gets a large role of course and now you can finally decide which Prime is more likable. The one from the movies or the one from the games. It’s fun because the movie version has had three games while the game version has had two, but they’ve both gotten to appear a lot. I prefer the game version slightly as he seems to be a lot more…intense. He’s in the middle of a war so he’s more serious and it’s great to see him ripping down doors whenever you go through a level. I can easily agree with the many fans of Optimus Prime that he is one of the best characters in the franchise. He takes Megatron on directly (At last!) and he certainly fights pretty well.

This is really the first that I get to see of Drift’s cinematic personality. The mask makes for an interesting twist and it probably takes his character a little too seriously, but I thought that they did a good job with Drift. He still follows his honor code and he’s kept his legendary speed and sword wielding. He’s one of my favorite characters to play as and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him in the film. This could be the push that he needs to make it into the top 10 most popular Transformers. I hope so since he’s definitely one of the better ones.

Megatron surprisingly gets a small role in this game. He appears at the very end of the past storyline. He does still manage to take on Optimus Prime in a one on one fight, but you wouldn’t become an instant fan of his through this game. He’s not quite as threatening as he was in War For Cybertron. I still like his design in this game, but I would have preferred that they went with a classic G1 appearance of the one from Prime.

Bumblebee’s role is also surprisingly small, but they still manage to give him a lot of hype. He immediately figures out the villain’s plan and then it’s all up to him to save the day. That certainly takes a lot of character, but I wish that he could talk. Remember his epic voice from War For Cybertron? Ah well, I still like his movie design so that’s great to see.

There were naturally many other fighters, but their personalities are more or less what you’d expect. Jetfire seems like a likable character even if his accent can be a little tricky. Starscream is as likable as usual and he still tends to get the best moments. Soundwave actually gets his own level, which will certainly be fun for fans. The insecticons are decently cool in their roles and Shockwave remains as one of the best Decepticons. He’s powerful and he tends to take command when Megatron isn’t around. Cliffjumper is still around, but he continues to lose at every opportunity. I wonder if he’ll ever look really good again.
The gameplay is essentially what you would expect from the other Transformers games, but I shall talk about it in case you haven’t played them. It’s a third person shooter and you typically have to destroy all of the enemy robots. You’re playing as a robot, which can be a little dicey at times, but also epic as well. Believe it or not, the robot genre is probably one of my weakest ones aside from Golf. Games like Armored Core and Gundam have had me stumped in the past. (Albeit, not for long except for Armored Core) Luckily, it’s easy to move your robot around and it just takes a little getting used too at first.

I love third person shooting games and it’s easily one of my favorite genres. I would say that the only genre that I prefer to it is third person fighting like Dragon Ball Z/Dynasty Warriors. Third place would be 2D fighters. This one performs well for the gameplay as everything is smooth. Flying is always fun and it adds that extra dynamic to the game. Who doesn’t want to soar through the skies and defeat all who oppose you? It’s just a blast! I highly recommend using vehicle mode whenever possible since it’s great to just blast away at opponents with your rockets or missiles.

The gameplay is largely the same for all levels, but there are two times where you get to control large characters. Grimlock and Bruticus. Playing as them can be fun since the game essentially turns into a beat em up. You just hack and slash your way through all of the opponents and get to the goal. Two factors to the gameplay that I forgot to mention are the hacks and tech. The tech is essentially an item that activates for a little while 6X EXP, or maybe a little battle droid. The hacks aren’t the gameshark kind, but they make the game more challenging for extra EXP. One way in which this occurs is letting enemies do extra damage so that you can get double EXP. It lasts for the entire level or until you die from the overwhelming power. It’s a nice element to add to the game and it makes it a lot easier to reach level 25.

The game can also be a little difficult at times since the enemies deal a lot of damage. Once the blasts get through your shield, then it’s time to retreat for a while until they replenish. I died a few times through the story and it’s a nice change of pace to have some difficulty. It means that you’ll have to actually plan out your moves a bit instead of charging in and attacking all of the Decepticons.

The game got rid of the multiplayer fighting modes that we had in War For Cybertron and Escalation is all that’s left. (Online co-op story mode is around I suppose) Well, fighting against other players is certainly more fun, but I’ve always liked Escalation Mode so this is cool as well. There are 15 waves and you need to survive them all to secure a nice gold trophy. It was a little easy as my team beat the whole thing in my first try, but maybe they had already been playing for a while so they knew the ropes. I still managed 104 kills in the battle so I definitely contributed my part.

I haven’t gotten all of the trophies yet, but I’m about halfway and I can say that it seems fair enough. The multiplayer trophies aren’t as much of a grind as they were in War For Cybertron. I’ve already gotten just about all of them at this point. They all seem reasonable and a few of them merely involve finding collectibles or blowing up certain objects in a level. It will likely require you to play each level a few times, but that’s not much of a grind since you can accomplish with a few trophies at once as you go through the level. I’m definitely satisfied with these trophies.

The replay value in Transformers is strong thanks to the trophies, but the campaign mode is a little on the short side. It took around 7 hours to complete the 14 levels. Their were more levels than War For Cybertron, but they were also quicker so both games ended up being more or less equal as far as time is concerned. 10 levels is my minimum so with 14, Rise of The Dark Spark is clearly safe from being too short. The levels are pretty engaging and aside from the fact that you can’t skip cutscenes, going through them again shouldn’t feel like a drag. Another element for the replay value is the fact that you need to get all challenges, guns, fighters, and more. Obtaining all of that should take even the most serious gamers quite a bit of time.

The soundtrack is pretty good. There aren’t any really memorable tunes in it, but they’re all good while you’re battling against all of the cons. So, I would likely give it a 3/5. It’s a solid soundtrack, but nothing that you’ll write home about like Super Smash Bros. It’s just how it goes sometimes.

One thing that needs to be mentioned is the audio. It can be a little inconsistent which makes setting it up difficult. The narration is much lower than the sound effects and music, so I lowered those to hear the narration. The problem is that they all lower for cutscenes so I have to choose between too loud gameplay or soft cutscenes. I chose the latter, but the audio could have been a little better.

The graphics for the game are solid and the levels that really stood out for me were the ones in the movie timeline. I actually preferred them because what they lacked in tech, they made up for in scale. You’ve just got to love fighting other robots in such a large city and it’s a lot of fun. The gameplay is definitely the same, but I can safely say that the experience is much different in the movie levels than the game ones. Either way, the graphics are solid for both sections and you shouldn’t have any problem with it.

Surprisingly, I prefer most of the designs from the movie verse. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee simply look a lot more intense. They’re taller and more sleek in their builds. You can tell that they’re hand to hand combatants as the old versions are more boxy. Of course, you can’t top Starscream or Soundwave’s designs so both universes get their wins. The designs are all great in the long run and playing as any of the characters can be fun.

Overall, Rise of The Dark Spark is a great Transformers game and it can certainly hold its own against any of the others. The story was engaging and the game never felt as if it was dragging on. It may have been a little towards the short side, but there is a lot of replay value through the online escalation mode and getting all of the PS3 Trophies. The movie characters felt as if they got the shaft compared to the game ones, but they technically had around the same amount of levels. the game did freeze up twice, but I suppose that it would be hard not too with all of the action that was going on. The game has a pretty epic ending as a certain continuity gets involved, which makes things interesting. It would be awesome to see this character in a possible sequel. There’s no reason not to get this game and I’d say that there is every reason to purchase it right away. The gameplay is just about perfect and you won’t regret buying it. I highly recommend the game to all gamers!

Overall 8/10

Bumblebee vs Megatron

Bumble Bee is back and he’s back to pwn. Of course he’s no match for Megatron. Megatron has his cannon which could destroy Bumble Bee in one shot. Bumble Bee just didn’t have the abilities to take down someone like Megatron. Megatron is far too powerful and takes the win. He rises up the ranks thanks to this. Megatron wins.