Transformers: Titans Return Review

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It’s time for the sequel to the first Transformers Machinima show. The first one had some really cool atmospheric presence and a unique setting, but was held back by the extremely short run time and how much of it was wasted on nothing happening. It was a glimpse at a part in Transformers lore that you wanted to see more of, but couldn’t since it ended so early. With this sequel we’re thrown back in there. There’s less mystery and suspense in this installment since the smoke has cleared and it’s clear who the enemies are again, but we do get more action than the first season and more of a plot as well. I’d say that it’s an improvement over the first although I’m hoping the final season focuses a little more on the core Autobots and Decepticons in favor of the larger bots.

The first season ended with Windblade announcing that the Titans had returned and this season continues that. Trypticon has been awoken and what’s more, Starscream is in the driver’s seat. He doesn’t keep control the whole time and only seems to pop in and out periodically but this is still a serious threat to the heroes. They are all still beat up and bruised from the last season so they haven’t had time to regroup. Metroplex and Windblade lead the offensive against him while the Combiners, Optimus Prime, and Fortress Maximum also prepare to join the fight. Meanwhile, Rodimus Prime has decided that he doesn’t want to be a prime anymore and goes off on his own. Megatron appears to be content to sit on the sidelines for a while and Overlord has popped up to take advantage of the situation. Quite a lot of plot lines are occurring here.

Optimus Prime looks pretty good as always. He’s on top of the situation pretty quickly and does his best to contribute in the fight. He’s a little outranked by the sheer size and power of the Trypticon, but still gets his hits in. He’s definitely portrayed as being the strongest normal size bot with Megatron being his only equal. I’m hoping he gets at least one big fight in the next season. Hot Rod unfortunately looks really bad. This is currently Cybertron’s darkest hour and he decides to get rid of the Matrix now? He doesn’t even tell anybody about it. As Hot Rod he can’t fight that well and is taken down pretty quickly. Maybe he had more fun, but it definitely does come across as incredibly selfish. Not really a cool thing to do.

Megatron seems like he’ll have a really big role in the next season since he is crucial to both the Overlord plot as well as the Megatronus one. They may even be playing him up as a temporary leader to the heroes which is sure to have a lot of the other bots riled up. He’s pretty great as per usual and I’m ready to see him fight on. Overlord hasn’t done a whole lot yet, but the show has portrayed him as a legitimate threat. It’s hard to say how strong he is because both enemies that he took down were either weakened or not really fighters to begin with. I expect he will be quite powerful though and likely you would need Megatron or Prime to take him down. Maybe Windblade could put up a good fight, but it’s hard to see her winning.

Metroplex is the first of the big heroes to take on Trypticon. He seems like a reasonably good robot but is lacking in personality. He also seems like a terrible fighter who completely relies on his size, but that may just be a side effect of the animation. He falls for every single one of Trypticon’s incredibly slow attacks. Now anyone can tell you that I’m not the biggest fan of giant fights and this is why. They’re moving so slow that everything should be dodgeable. Especially since Metroplex is humanoid and should be slightly more agile. Then we have Fortress Maximus who is a really bad character. It’s his duty to fight Trypticon and restore order to the planet but he doesn’t want to do so. He is basically forced into helping out after Windblade nearly dies in the process and still doesn’t fight too well. By this point Trypticon is already pretty exhausted. Of course, win or lose it wasn’t going to help Metroplex with his weak personality. Windblade is still a fun character and this continuity is her best portrayal. She’s less of a mysterious warrior here, but still talks tough to everyone. She doesn’t really get a chance to have a big fight this time around, but I suppose it makes sense since there weren’t many opponents in this season. She is still one of the best characters in the show and has a solid design. She just needs bigger guns when in plane mode since she never seems to deal any damage like that.

Perceptor gets a fairly big role here as Prime chooses him to wield the Matrix. I was never a fan of Perceptor, but I guess he isn’t bad here. He still can’t fight though and can be a little annoying as he isn’t very quick on the uptake. I suppose every franchise needs at least one scientist figure but when you’re one of the only characters in an action show who can’t fight…it doesn’t bode well. He’s probably my least favorite character by default. Meanwhile, Trypticon is a fun villain. He basically spends the entire season fighting opponent after opponent in a nonstop battle with no breaks. It’s a pretty incredible feat of endurance. While his fighting style isn’t elegant, it apparently does get the job done. If anything, the ending to his plot is actually very rushed and anticlimactic. You almost want to root for him by the end since the heroes were just throwing wave after wave at him. If he’s stuck it out for this long then he may as well take the win right? Fans of this character will certainly like how tough he looks here.
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Victorion and the Combiners still get a pretty big role in this season although they are largely ineffective. They actually get a brand new super form as they all merge but are still too small to really be of much use. The scale of the Titans really makes them live up to the title. You’ve got the normal bots, then the combiners who are about 2-3x normal size, then you’ve got the fused form which is probably 1.5x that and then the Titans which are 2-3x that. They’re quite large is what I’m trying to say. The Combiners are just annoying though as none of the members are smart and all they care about is fighting even when they are hopelessly outgunned. They just don’t have any plans in place at all and come across as reckless, but not in a cool way. They’re just cannon fodder.

The Mistress of Flame had some potential, but she really didn’t do much throughout both seasons. She will not be missed and didn’t even put up much of a fight in the end. She’s not bad, but always feels like this character could be interchangeable with anyone else. She is a ruler and that caricature is her only personality. I guess better to have a generic one than none at all right? Finally we have the big boss at the end of the series, Megatronus. He’s always been a really cool character who is even more of a final boss esque character than Megatron. His power is on a completely different level from most of the other bots and he is treated as one of the creators here. He has yet to look bad in any form of media that I have seen him in and this will likely be no exception. The series does have to be careful with the power levels rising so high though as having a finale filled with plot hax would not be a good idea.

The animation will still remind you of the classic PS2 video games, but not in a bad way. This style of CGI works pretty well as it feels like a video game which is preferable to CGI that doesn’t look like one and still isn’t good. The character designs are on point and the energy effects are pretty good. It would be nice if the fighting was a little faster though and I feel like that would improve if we had more of the normal sized bots fighting. That may be an optimistic thought though. I guess the animation just looks better when everyone is standing still, but I’ll still give it a thumbs up in the end. With all of the constant action going on, at least I was able to follow the fight scenes. There isn’t really a great soundtrack here. One or two good themes may show up, but you won’t remember them for very long. That’s unfortunate, but not altogether unexpected. It would have been a nice bonus, but isn’t a negative.

It’s rare to watch a show where a whole season is essentially one long fight. Honestly, this may be the only time. Sure, we’ve had seasons where the whole thing is a long series of fights like DBZ or Bleach, but one long fight? I can’t think of any. Perhaps Goku vs Frieza was one long fight, but I’m not sure. If the animation was a little better and more streamlined then this could have gone down in history as one of the greatest TV shows ever. It was still a good concept though. What helps this title as well is that the writing is engaging. You’ll be interested in what is happening from start to finish. There are also no human characters around to distract from the fights and what is happening on screen which is certainly a good thing.

It’s almost going to be hard to go back to the usual Autobots vs Decepticons plots in the other shows. I suppose they never get old, but I’ve love to see more of an ongoing show tackle the futuristic era. Prime and Megatron should certainly stick around as main characters though. Writing them out isn’t a good idea when they still have a lot more to do. Even in this show, Prime leaves for 5 minutes and the city is in danger again. Considering that Windblade warned them in the last season it also does come across as a little odd that Prime would choose now to leave.

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Overall, Titans Return had quite a lot of action and the season went by quickly. I can see it going down as a cult hit in the future. As the only positive effect of having such short episodes, the pacing was always very quick so nothing actually dragged on. With all of the seeds already sown for the third season it should be interesting to see how it’s handled. If the episodes are the same length as they were for these last two seasons, At first I thought the series was possibly starting more plots than they could finish, but now it seems like it all actually could wrap up. Ideally it just won’t be rushed. I think the Overlord plot will be the subplot once again as Megatronus is the focus but there should still be enough time to satisfactorily complete both plots. Most likely then it’ll end with Cybertron in another rebuilding stage. Well, now the waiting game returns, but long story short, I would recommend watching this season. It’s not as if it’ll take too much time and it’s simply a solid action show. It’s really like watching a short movie or a 3 part adventure if you add up the run time of the episodes.

Overall 7/10

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Transformers Robots in Disguise Review

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 Beast Machines Review

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There have been a bunch of Transformer cartoons. They’ve all been pretty good as they ranged from decent to excellent. That being said, the bulk of the shows all take place during the same time period. The war between Autobots and Decepticons always rage on with neither side ever managing to achieve complete victory. That’s why it’s always cool when they changed things up a bit by having a show take place in the future. The Machinima show got the premise right there as we explored new territory. The execution may not have been the best, but I was really hyped for the new location and plot. It had some of the most potential for any Transformers show. Fast forward to Beast Machines even though it’s a lot older. This series takes place so far in the future that the original characters are mere memories at this point. There are no more Autobots and Decepticons. There are barely even any Maximals and their opponents anymore. It’s the End Game for life as we know it with the final Maximals making their final attempt to save the world.

I saw Beast Wars a while ago and it was surprisingly good. One of the areas where the show really shined was how they had an epic cliff hanger at the end of pretty much every season. Those moments are incredible. Beast Machines keeps that up. There are only 2 seasons to work with this time so it at least pulls this off for season 1. The cliffhanger is really epic and while it may seem like I’m jumping ahead in this review, that is the core of why the show is so good. Beast Machines is really epic with almost nonstop action and a desolate world as the battlefield. The heroes are outnumbered and are hunted down 24/7 until they are destroyed. They never have time to relax or regroup so their guards are always up. It’s the tense Transformers show that I’ve always wanted. It has the atmosphere of Attack on Titan with the proper execution of the DBZ Trunks timeline.

Lets back up to the plot though. Optimus Primal and the Maximals had nearly defeated Megatron once and for all, but unfortunately they didn’t see their victory through to the end. At the last possible moment something happened and they all woke up on Cybertron with their memories wiped. The mystery of how this all happened doesn’t come up for several episodes although you can probably guess what happened. The answer doesn’t matter as much as the situation. Primal quickly gets a grasp of the situation and escapes to safety with Cheetor and Rattrap. They have to stay in Beast Mode most of the time because whenever they switch to Robot mode Megatron’s armies can track them.

See, Megatron has taken over Cybertron. He murdered all of its inhabitants and is locking their Sparks (AKA Souls) inside of a chamber. He plans to absorb them into himself so he will be All Powerful and one with the spark, but first he has to purge himself of his organic Dinosaur/Dragon form. He has grown to deeply dislike anything organic and wants to be a pure robot again. The end goal is that he’ll be able to make Cybertron metal again. Meanwhile, Primal has grown to like the Organic way of life and wants to make Cybertron like Earth. To do that he will need to free all of the sparks and stop Megatron. It’ll be tough, but he’s ready to happen.

The heroes are always at a disadvantage here. In season 1 it’s only 4 of them for quite a while. By season 2 they slowly start to build up their forces and have much better odds. In Robot form the heroes are considerably stronger than Megatron’s forces one on one, but the villains make up for that in sheer numbers. They outnumber the heroes with around 1000-7 fighters. The heroes can also keep getting rebuilt while it’s game over for the Maximals if they even die once. Throw in the fact that Optimus Primal slowly seems to be turning crazy and the heroes have their work cut out for them.
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The graphics are infamous since the show is pure CGI. That being said, it’s a CGI that isn’t terrible. It looks like an old PS1 video game. You feel like you’re watching nonstop cutscenes and as a big video game fan myself, I thought it worked out well enough. It still beats out several other animation styles like Samurai Jack’s or the average Flash show for me. It’s a bit of a case by case basis as some of those likely beat this one out as well, but the character designs and Playstation look just make it all the more convincing for me. The show could also animate the energy effects and destruction quite well when it wanted too. The new design for Cybertron was really great as well.

I’ve always said that city landscapes are the absolute best backdrop for any show/movie/game/comic. Name any form of media and the city is the best. It just looks amazing and can make any scene that much more epic. I’ve always felt that way and can name a number of shows/movies that used a city and it helped the media succeed. Justice League, Index, Man of Steel, etc. It’s just so much better than being in a desert, forest, under water, in a cave, on a mountain, in The Room, or even in space. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a normal city. A metallic one like this show or a sci-fi version works as well. As long as it’s a city it’ll work well. It’s deserted of course since the show didn’t want to animate too many character models, but it just helps the apocalyptic effect get across even more. The show show feels like the heroes are devoid of hope without overplaying that card and it worked quite brilliantly.

The soundtrack is also amazing. It’s pretty limited as you’ll hear the same 2-3 themes almost every single episode but they are great so you won’t get tired of them. They help get the epicness of the show across well. There are some titles where the music makes a difference and this is one of them. I could honestly see the show dropping 2 stars if the soundtrack had been bad since it would destroy the entire illusion that the show was going for. It needs a fast soundtrack that will keep you pumped throughout all of the episodes and fights.

Lets talk about the characters. The main character is Optimus Primal and he can be a mixed bag. On one hand, I like that he’s a little more intense than in Beast Wars. He took his loss quite badly and has distanced himself from the others. He cares more about saving everyone than saving himself which is good even if he can be extreme about it. He also no longer cares about being regarded as a hero so when Megatron prepares to destroy his team, Primal decides to retaliate by destroying everyone else. Mutual destruction is the option he’ll go with now even if he would not have before. It’s an intense scene and since it’s the cliff hanger of season 1 it’s amazing. Primal maybe overthought things a lot and trusted in the Oracle way too much when it was clearly hacked, but it’s consistent with his character development. He’s no longer the leader that he used to be, but this new edgy version of Primal worked well.

Another character that changed quite a bit was Cheetor. He’s no inexperienced rookie anymore and has become a seasoned commander. Part of the drama in the show is that he has become a better leader than Primal and keeps undercutting him. This leads to quite a lot of tension between the two characters and they bicker a lot. Cheetor does really respect Primal a lot though and backs off most of the time, but feels like he has to press the point at times or Primal will lead them to their doom. I liked how his super speed was emphasized quite a lot in this show when he’s in robot mode. He can deflect many blasts at once and he became my favorite character in the title. I think the Maximals will be in a good spot as long as he’s around.

Rattrap is the same as always. He’s very weak and rather annoying. He only serves as the main comic relief character for the show although he’s not nearly as obnoxious as most. You may have guessed this, but the show isn’t what you’d call a happy one. Rattrap’s humor moments are far apart and not very frequent. He complains about everything and tries to hold the heroes back, but that’s about it. His robot form has some nice hacking abilities to make up for his lack of power at least. I personally didn’t like him, but he’s not a terrible character.
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Blackarachnia is another one of the main maximals. She’s pretty upset since her pal Silverbolt has yet to be found in the future. Something seems to have happened to him and gradually the characters find out what occurred. Unfortunately once that happens she loses interest in anything else and has a one track mind. Her persistence is impressive, but since I don’t even like Silverbolt, I can’t say that I was too thrilled at that. Her thunder abilities certainly make her a useful ally to have around.

Nightscream is a new character for this show. He’s a teenager robot so he can be a lot edgier than the others. He defies Primal at every turn and is always trying to stir up the group. He’s a nice guy super deep down of course, but rarely shows it. He’s one of the most overpowered heroes since he is super dangerous in beast mode, let alone his robot form. He can be entertaining to watch, but not the most reliable fellow. I didn’t mind him all that much. He doesn’t quite fit into the rival role, but that’s sort of the angle the show was going with him. Watch out for when his head moves to his chest, it makes him definitely look rather disturbing.

Rhinox certainly has an interesting role here. Like everyone else his personality has changed quite drastically. In his case, he’s had an ephiphany that he’s been on the wrong side all this time. Metal must live and nature must die. It’s certainly interesting and he’s not on either side. He wants Megatron and Primal to finish each other off so he can take over the planet. It’s an interesting goal and I did like having a third party at the ready. That being said, I was quite pleased when Megatron made his final mode involving the character. Lets just say that a traitor is rarely a match for the real main villain.

Silverbolt may not be quite as changed as Rhinox, but he’s supremely annoying. He has the worst re design from all of the characters and he just comes across as rather arrogant for no good reason. He hasn’t earned the right to be overconfident like the others. He should take a back seat and try to learn from the others instead of saying what he wants. He was also the reason one of my favorite characters missed most or all of Arc 2 which was sad.

Botanica joined the team at the very end. She’s portrayed as super powerful as she can shoot lightning and manipulate the environment. I admit that I was hoping for a different character when the rocket landed. Her hype vanishes after the first episode and she gets a very random romance subplot so in the end the show was probably better off without her. You may have guessed this, but the romance in the show is not handled well and could have easily been removed. At least the Blackarachnia one had been going on since the first show, Botanica’s really came out of left field.

Lets talk about the villains. Megatron got a really cool redesign, complete with a cape and everything. He certainly stole the show from the villains for the most part. He was a lot more serious than in Beast Wars and while he didn’t get to fight all that much, his presence was felt. I also liked that he did at least have a code of honor as he kept to his part of the agreement with Rattrap. His final fight with Primal in the last episode was quite great. It’s an extended battle and the show really puts its budget to the max. It’s not rushed to make way for the rest of the episode, but came across as the main focus which is how it should be. It’s probably one of the longer fights in Transformers and was a good way to cap off the rivalry. It made up for the fact that Megatron didn’t fight much here.

Another great villain was Jetstorm. He was pretty confident and had the most charisma from Megatron’s generals. He had one liners at the ready and was extremely loyal. Unlike the others, he never had any doubts about his job and just took out any Maximal that he could find. Thrust was also pretty good. He may have gotten confused at several points, but at the end of the day he knew where his loyalties were. He may not be as powerful as Jetstorm, but he can hold his own in a fight.

Megatron added two more generals by the name of Obsidion and Strika, but they didn’t do much. They got hype for one episode as they’re master strategists, but that was it. They were then relegated to normal lackey status after that and faded away. Waspinator appears a bit and it was nostalgic to see him, but his role was really just a cameo for the fans. I appreciated the effort though. Finally, we have Noble, a werewolf esque robot that is unpredictable. I preferred him as an enemy. Once they tried to make him a sympathetic pet for Nightscream who had to be sacrificed for the greater good, it reminded you that he was only added for edge. He had a really cool design too so it’s a shame that the show couldn’t do more with him.

The show could get dark, but it was never too over the top. The Noble plot was probably the darkest if you ask me and it’s fairly brief. It keeps up the atmosphere without constantly reminding you of the fact that it’s hopeless with characters begging for their lives. (Attack on Titan) You’re reminded of this by the fact that the Maximals are always running though. They are forced to retreat in almost every single episode. The deck is definitely stacked against them, you can’t forget that part.

The team isn’t a well oiled unit either. The heroes spend a lot of time bickering amongst themselves and there is constant tension. You’ll have to eventually choose which characters to root for and then hope they win during the arguments. I’m always on Cheetor’s side for the record. Now, where do I stand on Metal vs Organic? Personally I think Cybertron should stay metal. Turning it organic just seems kind of odd to me even if the oracle claims that it was organic to start with. I have a hard time swallowing it. Of course, eradicating all of the organic elements turns the plan into villain territory so I wouldn’t roll with that, but I’m just used to a metal Cybertron. Seeing the robot monkeys at the end was surreal.

So where does this show stack up against the other Transformer shows? It’s been a while since I ranked them so I think it’s about time I did so. I’m not looking at my older reviews for reference so this is based purely on my memory. As it stands I’d say that the first place victor is Transformers Victory, 2nd is the original Transformers, 3rd is Masterforce, 4th is Headmasters, 5th is Transformers Prime, 6th is Transformers Beast Machines, 7th is Robots in Disguise, 8th is Beast Wars, 9th is Combiner Wars 10th is Animated, 11th is Rescue Bots. Beast Machines is almost perfectly halfway at this point. It may sink a little once I see the Unicron Trilogy as I expect great things from those titles, but I suppose we’ll see how it goes. It’s definitely impressive just how many shows the franchise has gotten so far. It’s definitely not slowing down either with several new titles over the horizon.
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Overall, This is definitely a really fun Transformers show. The average episode is solid and the series really steps it up further with the multi parters like End Game. If anything it’s a shame that the show was so short, but I suppose the concept could have gotten a little dragged out if the writers weren’t careful. Since the series was only 26 episodes and had an ongoing plot, there wasn’t really time for filler or a lot of padding which may not have been possible if the episode count had been doubled. It’s a very different Transformers show so it may take you some getting used too, but it’s well worth the effort. On the other hand, the beginning is very fast and epic so you may get on board right away like I did. It’s rare for a show like this to come out so I’m always up for an adventure like this one. Hopefully the Combiner War sequel that is coming out soon will be able to do a better job of executing the concept so it can be like having Beast Machines return. After all, imagine this setting but with the classic characters? The sky’s the limit. Speaking of classic characters though, watch out for the Soundwave cameo because it gets pretty intense. There’s also a Prime cameo, but with a fun twist!

Overall 7/10

Transformers: The Last Knight Review

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If you ignore the fact that Prime looks obviously evil in the poster…it’s hard to disagree with the message. If one planet is going to die then shouldn’t it be Earth? Those guys are always picking on the Autobots and destroying themselves anyway. Even if the Transformer movies have not been all that good historically they do certainly have great posters and trailers. If nothing else, they always do a good job of drawing you in. On that note, I went to the theaters to watch this latest installment, but could it hold its own against the last few and even surpass them? Time to find out!

Well, the film starts off with a prolonged action scene back in the days of the 12 knights. It’s as boring as you’d expect with very generic bombs being thrown and people stabbing each other. Films like this one keep reminding me why action scenes should all take place in the modern day alongside big buildings and cool effects. The drunk Merlin gets the Autobots to help him so they destroy the other side. Merlin is even given the staff of power which has the ability to destroy and recreate whole planets. He literally takes it to the grave.

We cut away to the present day where a girl by the name of Izabella is saving a few kids who broke into a government protected site with killer machines running around. They shoot to kill and that includes kids, but fortunately Cade and his resistance pals like Bumble Bee show up and finish off the government robots. The kids run off, but Izabella stays with Cade since she wants to fight. The two characters trade sob stories while Cade has a beer (The film made sure to show that it was a Budlight) and then Mr. Edmund shows up to tell the heroes that they have to find the scepter of power and stop the incoming invasion. He has also located and brought in a lady named Viviane who is a descendant of Merlin and the only one who can wield it. Naturally Viviane and Cade don’t get along, but none of the characters do. Can they at least stop the invasion or will their not so subtle insults against each other take top priority? Oh yeah, Megatron’s also around.

This is 100% a Michael Bay film. You can tell because it follows all of the classic tropes. The only good one is that we get a ton of explosions. There’s constantly something catching fire and blowing up. Everyone gets to be in an explosion at some point or other and that was interesting. Well, interesting isn’t the right word, but at least it’s something to catch your attention even if you know that it’s just trying to cover up the lack of a plot.

Unfortunately the other cliches are here. Naturally when Viviane is brought to the castle, she decided to bring along a rather inappropriate outfit for business. It’s not as if it would be a huge deal but of course Cade brings it up and they have a pretty sad conversation about it. Keep in mind that these two were enemies at first, but Cade quotes a random philosopher once they’re okay. He shows off his 6 pack once and they are immediately past the friend zone. The flirting and fanservice were pretty sad and while not as bad as in previous films, I had a feeling the film would bring this into the picture.

Then there’s the writing. I don’t want to say it was the worst yet, but there must have been over 50-100 s words in the film. It was used in almost every single sentence. It’s as if the keyboard warriors from reddit and twitch were the main characters in this film. It was incredibly awful and took you out of the film every time. Why does everyone have to use swear words to express every idea that they get? It’s painfully bad and would have doomed the film to a low score even without all of the other negatives.

It’s also hard to know who to root for. The Autobots are anything but likable. They spend the first half of the film doing more damage to each other than the Decepticons possibly could. Bumblebee even destroys one of his fellow Autobots for no good reason. I don’t remember his name but it was one of the minicons, Bumblebee just crushed him without remorse. The others don’t get along either so there’s a ton of threats among them. We get about 20 minutes of the Autobots just yelling at each other and the humans deciding to follow their example. The insults get pretty personal throughout and one guy even brings up the race card to counter Cade. Well, I shouldn’t say “even” that was another guarantee in this film. Viviane doesn’t get along with her parents and relatives either for more drama and they care more about her love life than the alien invasion. Edmund is constantly threatening to destroy his butler and his butler tries to choke Cade to death, but is stopped at the last second. These are our heroes.

Think about that for a second. Our heroes are the ones who keep threatening each other, actually destroy one member, blackmail other members, and basically just live to destroy. They destroy Decepticons not for honor or victory, but just because they like to murder stuff. Optimus Prime isn’t exempt either as his terribly conceived plan to head to Cybertron winds up getting him frozen. Fortunately, he crash lands there and the ice chips off. I think he suffered a severe concussion though because he doesn’t remember that Cybertron was destroyed so he rushes over and attacks the metal lady who’s there because he thinks she destroyed it. She casually beats him in one hit with her lightning and forces him to kneel before her. She then easily mind controls him to turn evil and be her slave. It’s hinted that it’s mind control since he grew a red scar and she did the same to Megatron. Oh yeah, Megatron gets mind controlled so he’s a subordinate yet again.

Prime doesn’t stay evil for long though as a quick “Martha!” sort of line gets him to turn good again. The heroes decide to kick him a few times while he’s down so he learns a lesson though and everyone just stands there and watches it happen. I get the feeling Prime isn’t too popular on Earth sometimes even if the Autobots claim that they look up to him. While Quintessa (The metal lady) was pretty awesome and it was nice to see her wreck everybody, the film forgot about that. Instead of blasting Viviane and ending the film in an instant, she orders Megatron to do it and doesn’t do anything herself. She gets blasted by Bee and that’s basically the end of her story. It’s a sad way to go.

Hot Rod is actually in this film, but you’ll barely care since he’s nothing like his classic self. He’s just a guy with a french accent who likes blasting stuff. His time stop ability is useful, but he rarely ever remembers to use it so he may as well not have it. The Decepticons are all fairly generic. We have a scene inspired by the Suicide Squad where we see him release his favorite cons and they all team up, but half of them die in their first action scene and even Megatron himself isn’t all that impressive. He seems about as durable as your average con and has slightly more firepower. He never really seems like a threat.

Despite the writing being so bad, some of the humans are all right. Izabella is reasonable for a kid. At least she knows what she is doing and managed to survive for so long as the government base. Her robot even looked a lot like Bumblebee and I could have sworn that it was him the whole time. Why do they have the same design? If Bumblebee had died in such a random way like that I’m sure the fanbase would have gone nuts though. I didn’t really care for Viviane much though. She seemed to overreact a lot and the 180 personality shift once she got along with Cade was sad. Cade also wasn’t that great as he drinks too much beer and also takes things too personally. The whole plot with his daughter was made to be way too dramatic.

The government is also bad as always. They decided to turn against all of the Transformers yet again. Sure, they’re all pretty mean, but why pick a fight that you can’t win? Their weapons are finally strong enough….well who are we kidding. Their weapons are always strong enough to beat Transformers. They’ll still lose in the end if they go with a frontal assault so it’s just not a smart move. It’s a rather half baked one. The only good member of the army was the physics guy who kept mocking the heroes for relying on magic. He’d point out that magic wasn’t real and that the team should use physics to win. It didn’t work of course as magic is the whole point of the film, but the guy made some good points and had a lot of excellent burns.

The film relies pretty heavily on being half comedy and action. Unfortunately, the humor doesn’t work very well. The funniest scenes were the unintentional ones like the heroes constantly bickering or Optimus Prime getting frozen just by flying. The actual humor just tends to fall flat like the flirting and all of the characters acting like jerks. I suspect the guy on the telephone trying to be a knight was supposed to be funny as well, but it didn’t really work. Also, how come this guy seems to know everything? I like that he didn’t panic like the others and just decided to hang out at the beach instead of stressing out, but it felt like filler. Of course, over half of the film is basically prolonged to extend the run time. I suppose there could be some charm in seeing the characters all insult each other in a reverse friendship kind of way. Perhaps Bay is going for that as you just enjoy all of the insults, but even that would need better writing. Bad writing holds everything back.

Aside from the opening action sequence, the fight scenes aren’t bad I suppose. They all start to blend together after a while and we don’t really get any prolonged fight though. Most fights end with a few hits. Bumblebee vs Optimus is probably the only really long fight in the movie and that would probably be the best one. The ending was rather anticlimactic though.

This film does have an after credits scene by the way so you should stick around for that. It’s the kind of scene that would be hype in a different series but not for this one. The villain that they’re hyping up is not someone I want to see. I was practically wincing there because I assumed that by grabbing the scepter they had hopefully destroyed this person too. Ah well, at least the cool person who is giving out the intel should be a good villain. Perhaps that is all I can ask for.

Overall, Transformers delivers another blunder. It’s just a bad film that is crammed in with every plot imaginable. The plots could have been good except the writing is terrible. The script is so bad it hurts and the characters are all made out to be villains or unlikable. The romance is as rushed as it ever was since the characters have only known each other for around a day or less. The film can be funny at times but for all the wrong reasons. There’s just no reason to have hope for another film, but they’re going to come out anyway. I like to think that the next film will be better, but it’s hard to even think that at this point. I suppose the films deliver on being mindless action blockbusters where you just try to enjoy the experience and keep it moving, but all of the films feel the same in that regard. They’ll hold your attention but never come close to being a good film. If the next film wants to be better, it should finally make the Autobots heroic, Strengthen the Dinobots a bit so they don’t keep losing, strengthen all of the Transformers so humans aren’t constantly beating them, and make the humans more likable. The films may just be doomed though and your best bet is looking at the original animated series again. At least that one was quality.

Overall 3/10

Transformers: Combiner Wars Review

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It’s time to look at the recent online miniseries that came out. Unfortunately, it would be taking the old “5 minute episodes” tactic that rarely ever works out well. The main difference between this one and Pokemon Generations is that the episodes do combine to tell one self contained story. It does have a bit of a cliffhanger to lead into the next part of the trilogy though. It’s a pretty solid mini show that could have certainly benefited from having normal length episodes instead of mini ones, but was fairly decent for its limitations.

The plot takes place in the far future, which is a nice change of pace since most of the shows and movies all take place during the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. The comics have long since passed this part in history, but the shows and movies don’t seem to ever want to leave it. I guess it makes sense since that era had a lot of interesting characters and battles to look at, but the future arcs can be a blast too. Case in point, the plot in this series is actually very interesting and epic. The series itself just fails to completely utilize it.

Both sides are now working together since there aren’t Decepticons and Autobots anymore. Rodimus Prime, Starscream, and The Mistress of Flame are the three rulers now. They use Combiners to take any pockets of villain resistance left. The world still isn’t at peace and it probably never will be, but the situation isn’t half bad at this point. Unfortunately, that’s when the heroes get the bright idea to try and use a super special item to mind control all of the Combiners to have them serve as a personal army. This will take away their autonomy and it’ll serve as the ultimate counter to evil. How can this fail? Rodimus half heartedly advises against it, but is then for it later on. All three of the members go back and forth on the issue until someone ensures that the device is used. It’s like they always say, if you have a weapon, that means you intend to use it at some point.

Windblade knows about what is going on so she recruits Optimus Prime to help her end this. She wants to destroy the device and Prime is in agreement, although he isn’t thrilled about being called back into action. He’s in retirement and nobody likes him even though he fought for peace for many centuries. People blame him for the war and that just goes to show that the average Cybertronian isn’t much smarter than the average human. I can’t believe that Prime of all people would be turned into an outcast after the many sacrifices that he made for justice. It’s pretty unreal. Prime also realizes that the two of them against an army of combiners may be a bit unrealistic so they call in Megatron. Megatron’s enjoying his retirement at a Colosseum, but he’s certainly happy to help if it means messing up Starscream and the others.

Seeing Optimus Prime and Megatron team up was probably the biggest hype moment of the mini series. Unfortunately, there really weren’t any villains for them to fight by that point. They got to shoot at the giant Starscream and at a few Combiners, but I would have liked more of a tangible threat for them to be honest. The back and forth between the two rivals was always good though and we saw their battle experience first hand. You always get the sense that Megatron and Prime are head and shoulders above the rest of the robots. Prime’s retirement was definitely pretty iffy if you ask me and seemed like another hero giving up the Luke Skywalker way. It’s a stretch to imagine Prime just deciding to give up and let others wield the torch, but at least that won’t be a problem for the next two parts of the trilogy. Megatron was definitely in character the whole time though and I can definitely see him being a big villain again someday.

Rodimus Prime didn’t look all that smart though. I don’t know how everyone just decided that it would be a good idea to let Starscream on the tribunal. If you ask me…that’s just not a smart move. Even if he claims that he’s changed….it’s Starscream that we’re talking about. He’s the shadiest Decepticon of them all. Starscream’s definitely pretty solid though. He has a good plan and considered all of the angles. You definitely can’t say that he’s not one of the smartest bots out there.

Windblade was basically the main character and she was really good. It’s nice to see her as a hardcore assassin. Robots in Disguise tried to make her really cool as well and she is decent in that show, but this one goes a little more all out. She’ll remind you of Arcee from the Transformer comics. Windblade gets the job done and while she should not have won her fight against the Combiner, (Get ready for a lot of plot hax, but this show is full of that so you won’t be surprised by the end) Windblade is definitely a character who is easy to root for and I would certainly say that she is one of the better Transformers overall.

As expected, the characters and the plot are good. Now, where did the series fail? Well, the 5 minute episodes really ensure that the show can’t do much. Now only are the episodes only around 5 minutes long, but they really waste time. One episode will have someone flying for about a minute or another will just have people talking about nothing really important for a while. I feel like the show was trying to show off its animation, but since the graphics weren’t really anything to write home about…it didn’t work. Plus, time was a big factor here so the show needed to take it into consideration.

The graphics aren’t bad though and despite getting a lot of heat, I dare say that they even look great. They have the style of a PS2 game, but with modernized graphics. The colors really stand out and since it is night time for most of the series, the contrasts make for really good visuals. The energy attacks all look sharp as well and these are graphics that I grew up with to the extent where the designs look solid. It’s hard to describe, but the robots actually look strong and menacing instead of skinny and more unassuming. It can’t hold its own to a modern hand drawn anime or anything like that, but the CGI is really good. I can’t say that I really remember the soundtrack all that well though. It’s very forgettable and it’s the kind of fare that works well while you’re in the moment, but just barely. It covers its bases and that’s about it.

Combiner Wars does end on a really epic note though. The cliff hanger for part 2 is really intense since aliens may finally be showing up to make a move. That’s one aspect of Transformers that was never handled too well. Aliens showing up could be really awesome, but usually their designs aren’t great or they just don’t get to do much. A proper Transformers vs Aliens plot for the sequel could definitely be really cool. It would certainly make for a better fight than Prime and friends against Cosmic Giant. The final fight is a little underwhelming because the villain can barely move and the heroes can’t hurt him, which leads to an unfortunate stale mate. Some good visuals make it in there, but that’s about all that you can say for it.
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Overall, Transformers: Combiner Wars is a pretty fun little show. Just treat it as a 30 minute OVA and it works well. The animation is solid and the fight scenes are a lot of fun aside from the last one. The plot is very engaging and the main character cast of Windblade, Prime, and Megatron is a good trio. It will also remind you of just how good the show could have been had it been full length though. Despite it being a series about Combiners, we didn’t get to see them do all that much here. There was simply no time since the series had to try and fit everybody in with the limited length. Hopefully the next part will either have more episodes or they will be able to extend the length of each episode. I think that would do wonders for the show. Still, I recommend it if you’re interested in the future timeline of Transformers, which is rarely explored.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Rescue Bots Review

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It’s time to look at the recent Transformers show that may have finished. There’s always the chance that they could announce a new season at some point, but for all intents and purposes the show is over. It had a good run and seeing as how it is the longest Transformers show of all time, it left a good legacy. I originally started watching the show way back in 2011 so it’s been quite the ride. It’s a nice enough show.

A routine space mission goes wrong one day and four rescue bots fall to Griffin Rock. They are met by the Burns family and quickly realize that they will have to work together if they want to save the island from the many disasters that plague it. By work together, I mean that the humans call the shots and the Autobots help out as best they can. By the end of the show, several other Autobots appear and we even get some guest star appearances from bigshots like Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee.

One thing that you need to be aware of before starting this show is that it is aimed at a younger audience than the rest. What this means is that you can’t go in and expect a bunch of fight scenes. The show is really aimed at the same audience as Arthur or My Little Pony. There will be some danger scenes like a tree falling down or robots gone haywire, but typically that’s the extent of it. Occasionally there will be a real threat like a mad scientist and his robots for the really big episodes, but this show is more about friendship and morals at the end of the episodes.

It’s a show that is definitely better one at a time than in big marathon batches, which sets it apart from the average show. Watching it on my own probably wouldn’t be all that exciting and other shows like Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures were actually more engaging even if they weren’t as good in terms of quality. Still, you can find the fun in any show and at least you’ll get used to the characters the more you watch the show. Shows like this one are better to watch with other people so you can poke fun at it or do drinking games like taking a shot every time someone is super polite or passive aggressive. That happens a lot in the show since the Burns family has to be careful not to outright insult the townsfolk.

The animation is flash based or at least it looks as if it is. It’s definitely not all that good and I’m thinking that flash animation just has a very low ceiling. It can look clear, but it’ll never get above a certain point. So, I wouldn’t say that Rescue Bots has bad animation I suppose, but it would certainly be near the bottom of the scale. There are few shows that I’ve seen with worse animation and this could be bottom 3. There aren’t too many tunes to be found here, but at least they are memorable. Especially since the same danger theme played at the first commercial break for just about 90% of the episodes. After a while, you could easily anticipate the theme and predict exactly when it would show. There were a few other tunes as well and even if they screamed “Public Domain” music, they weren’t all that bad. They were passable and there’s only so much that you can do for talking scenes anyway since a big fight theme would have been out of place.
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Chief Burns isn’t the main character, but he may as well be. He’s the head of the family and always takes charge. He’s not afraid to defy the Mayor and he gives out the morals a lot of the time. Burns makes the hard calls and he’s probably the best character in the show. I still love the name as well since Burns is a really cool last name. Cody is the real main character and he’s one of the nicest kids that you’ll ever meet. He takes things in stride and can’t wait until he is old enough to have his own Rescue Bot. It’ll take some time, but at least he will have a lot of experience in the field by then right? There’s definitely nothing to really dislike about him. Kade is the hotshot who is sort of tough, but not very smart. He’s the character who usually gets humiliated so that the others can learn a lesson. His overconfidence would be a good trait if he could actually back it up from time to time, but he just gets defeated over and over and over again, which is a little sad.

Dani is the pilot in the series and she is always arguing with Kade about everything. While Kade is the one who talks tough, Dani is typically the one who actually is tough. It’s tough for her to balance her piloting job and being a rescue operator in town, but she gets the job done. Graham is the smart one of the group and he likes science so much that he actually finds it enjoyable to talk about. The others don’t agree about the merits of science, but they try to be understanding about it. Graham’s not quite as charismatic as the others, but he tries. Woodrow is the hardcore brother (or cousin, but I think it’s brother) of Chief Burns and his thing is that his voice is always super calm and almost sarcastic. He likes going on adventures and having fun as opposed to the very safe and isolated life that Chief Burns leads. It typically gets him into trouble, but Woodrow is a character that would have been a nice addition to the main cast.

As for the Rescue Bots, Heatwave is the confident leader and probably the best member of the group. He’s very serious, but this isn’t the right show for that so everyone pokes fun at it and forces him to mellow out. By the final episodes he has basically stopped putting up the front because it wasn’t getting him anywhere. Still, the team would be lost without him. Blades is the comic relief member of the group. He is scared by just about everything, but he does like watching a lot of movies. He keeps the team grounded and is always ready for fun. He’s not exactly my kind of character, but his antics can be all right at times I suppose. Boulder is easily the least interesting member of the main crew. He’s very strong so naturally that means that he is the delicate character. He likes nature and reading. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but the other three have more interesting personalities. There just isn’t much to Boulder and he may as well be Bulkhead given how similar their designs are. Chase gives Heatwave competition for the best Rescue Bot member. He likes the old westerns and does his best to follow the lawbook to the letter. He’s a great law abiding citizen and you know that everything will be okay when Chase is on the scene. Nobody messes with him and Chase keeps the other characters honest. If they even think about doing anything that is morally dubious, Chase calls them out on it.

Blurr is one of the new recruits from the later episodes. Unfortunately, he was nerfed a little too hard in this show. His whole gimmick is that he’s super fast, but he loses a race to Quickshadow and just holds his own against Heatwave. Doesn’t this defeat the whole purpose of his character? He’s portrayed as a hothead who doesn’t like to follow the rules, but the heroes tame him rather easily so he ends up being a character with no real purpose. Salvage is a lot worse though as he is basically Boulder 2.0. He’s also a strong, but really delicate fellow who likes to build things out of junk so that he can prove to the others how everything has a purpose. He never really gets to do a whole lot and the show intentionally gave him the most annoying voice possible. Luckily, we did have one good new recruit. Quickshadow is essentially a James Bond homage and was even featured in this universe’s equivalent. She is deep undercover and shows up to test the Rescue Bots and provide assistance when necessary. She gets a lot of hype and lives up to it for the most part. Her hand to hand skills are at a higher level than the other bots so that’s why it’s a shame that we never got any real opponents for her to fight. That would have been a perfect way to show off her skills, but at least we got to see her embarrass the others in training exercises. Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee were also cool to see. Prime may have been a little unreasonable at times as he would just suddenly show up and bark out new orders at times, but I guess that’s how most of the bots would see him. The Rescue Bots did their best to follow his orders to the letter even if splitting up the gang was a little iffy. He also came in person to help them out once in a while. Bumble Bee’s appearances were also interesting as he transformed from Prime version to Robots in Disguise by the end. It was certainly interesting to see the sudden change in character personality and I can certainly say that I prefer the Robots in Disguise version. It seems a lot more genuine and is also more charismatic.
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Frankie is Cody’s best friend and she’s a kid genius. She appeared a lot less during the final seasons, but still had a moderate role throughout. She’s a nice character and is certainly a lot more likable than her baby sister. Frankie never got her own robot, but she did get a skateboard and an alternate persona so she could help out the gang from time to time. Her father, Doc Greene had a big role as his inventions are usually what ended up putting the town at risk. He has no time to apologize though because he is typically already hard at work building the next one. The voice actor did a good job of making him sound completely oblivious and proud of it too as he kept on making defective products. Morocco is the main villain of the show and the heroes actually have to resort to some morally dubious methods to take him down. Case in point, they mind wipe him and send him to the past so now he can live out his life as a nice person. Yeah….that’s totally shady and uncalled for. The heroes completely crossed over the line on that one and while the show glosses it over….I can’t find myself forgetting that anytime soon. It’s too bad since he was definitely one of the best villains. We had a Morocco doll who took over his role as one of the big villains, but it wasn’t quite the same. No shots intended at the doll…but I would hardly call it intimidating.

Myles and Evan were sub villains that showed up once in a while. Honestly, they didn’t do all that much at all, but I just liked to see them show up because they’re just ordinary teens who somehow cause a bunch of trouble. They break out of jail many times (How?) and they laugh a lot. I suppose I’d be laughing too though if I could outsmart and hack Autobots. That’s not a bad feat at all and these guys were always amusing to watch. Madeline Pynch is probably the biggest villain in the show aside from Morocco. She is rich and uses her money to obtain powerful weapons and skirt the law without repercussions. She has a freeze ray and an invisibility suit thanks to the Burns family not being able to keep them safe and she defeated the whole team at one point. Her overconfidence got the best of her though as she let the team grab the weapons back. She shouldn’t have lost that round, but the show made her a little too powerful. I mean, she even had a memory displacing weapon to trick the heroes with. The plan should have been FOOLproof, but she proved that it was not. Quint is a game hunter who matches wits against the Rescue Bots. He defeats and humiliates them several times over the course of the show in a tribute to the original G1 show where a hunter captured all of the Autobots. He’s a cool villain and I like the accent. His robots are actually pretty overpowered when they first appear as their barriers can easily trap the Autobots. This guy definitely had personality and spunk.

At 104 episodes, the show definitely had a lot of time to throw in many different plots. Since the majority of the episodes were stand alones, that’s almost 100 unique adventures. We got to see the heroes turn into Dinobots and Heatwave even got a boat form. There were other bots who would show up and even other scientists as well. Since this was in the Prime continuity, it certainly expanded the universe quite a bit. It is sad to see the show go since I would have liked it to have kept on extending the episode count. Still, I doubt anything will be surpassing it anytime soon. Getting to be this long is incredibly difficult for an American cartoon nowadays.
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Overall, You should check out Transformers Rescue Bots if this sounds like your kind of show. It’s pretty calming to watch and seeing the characters deal with everyday troubles in town should be nostalgic from the old Andy Griffith show. If you grew up in a small town like this one, then that could help as well. It can maybe be a little boring at times since there isn’t much action, but that’s where the cast comes in. They’ll either make or break the title for you, but hopefully the former. It’s probably the worst Transformers show by default, but it’s still not bad. I’m giving it a 6 because a 5 seems a little too low, but a 7 is definitely too high. It’s just right as the show has decent writing and there are no real negatives to speak of here. It probably is the best time for the show to stop though since the final episode decided to really shake up the status quo and that could have been a very risky move. Maybe we would have gotten some new characters though and that could have been interesting. The show was no stranger to Transforming though as season 1 was very isolated, but by season 4 we had a mini army of Autobots and space bridges to use for instant travel at a moment’s notice. The characters really got to experience a lot during their time on the island.

Overall 6/10

Transformers: Combiner Wars

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It’s definitely intriguing to see Combiner Wars turned into an online mini series. Those are rare, but fun to have around I suppose. It’s just a shame that this couldn’t be a full length TV show on its own. The plot and concept are very interesting and finally seeing something from after the war is cool as well. I’ll have a review for the series either when all 3 seasons are done (Trilogy so I’m assuming 3) or when the first is done if they add a new subtitle or something to the next. It’s a fun enough story, but 5 minutes per episode is pretty rough.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Dark of The Moon Review

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Transformers definitely has a very solid track record when it comes to video games. Although the same could be said for shows and comics, the video games are really something else as they all typically grab 8/10s. This one is no exception and while Dark of The Moon may not have quite as much depth as War For Cybertron, the gameplay is still great like always. The game doesn’t play like a movie tie in and it’s good to see the developers still give this game their best shot.

So…the plot. Well…you can beat the game while barely recognizing that there is one. Things are happening and the government calls in the Autobots to help out, but what is the grand scheme? Well, it leads to Megatron activating Shockwave at any rate and he makes for a pretty tricky boss. Interestingly enough, Megatron isn’t the final boss and I don’t think you even get to fight him. You do fight Optimus Prime while playing as Megatron though so I suppose that can count to an extent. It was an odd choice, but it was a curve ball so I can appreciate that. There is even a big cliffhanger left in the ending since the Decepticons are now stronger than ever. Who knows, maybe the movie tie ins will diverge even more than we thought or things will tie up nicely. (Shockwave being in Transformers IV suddenly makes sense.

Graphically, you probably could not tell the difference between this one and War For Cybertron. If anything, Cybertron probably looks a little more impressive as all of the levels are futuristic and high tech. At the same time, I do love the city/forest levels in this game so its certainly not a big loss there. The designs are bland if anything and that’s because it is based on the films. I still think the robots could have been a lot more unique and it was a big missed opportunity, but that’s on the films once again. The soundtrack is pretty nonexistent when I try to think about it, but I’m sure that there were some decent tunes while I was playing through. They just escape me at the moment, which is the price of being generic.

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. It is a 3D shooter, which is the norm for Transformers. You can also engage in fisticuffs or turn into a vehicle to throw the opponents off. I don’t recommend close quarters combat..ever, unless you are trying to get a trophy. It simply puts you at a disadvantage as far as I am concerned. Turning into a car is great though and you should do that a lot. I’d say that the game did a terrific job with this mode and the occasional driving level is much appreciated. It brings in a whole new element to the game. (Not the franchise tho) Towards the end of the campaign it will start to be less helpful, but it’s always fun. Normal shooting mode is slightly sketchier than usual as the aim can be a bit off and there is no good lock on as far as I am aware. I think the game mentioned one, but if I did use it, It definitely was not helpful.

The game is reasonably difficult so you can expect a bit of a challenge. There are also a lot of checkpoints which is good since nothing is worse than having to redo a large section from the very beginning. Watch out for large enemy hordes since they can take down your full health bar in seconds. Those guys will give you more of a challenge than the bosses in this game (Which are pretty easy since there are check points at various points so you can enter the fight midway with full health if you lose) and it may take a few shots to beat some of the minion hordes. Strength in numbers and all.

It is worth mentioning that each character has a special ability. I would say that the Machine Gun is the best one, but Invisibility can be quite handy as well. Just use your abilities wisely and you will be okay. They all have their uses and I don’t believe that there were any bad ones, which is good. As far as replay value goes, this game does all right. There are collectibles to grab and a lot of trophies to earn. Considering that the online is basically dead, it will be extremely hard to platinum this title so you’re just earning trophies for the fun of it. If you’re really serious about this, you can probably find some people to help you boost the trophy as well. I collect em, but I’ve never done the whole boosting thing. I’m not quite that into it and I want to earn the online trophies the standard way, with skills and brawn! This will definitely extend your play time in the game, but in the end a multiplayer mode would have been even better.

Overall, Dark of The Moon is pretty fun. It is easy to see why the online died quickly however, since you may as well stick with War For Cybertron. The multiplayer feels more epic and Team Deathmatch is still a blast. While the game may lose out to War For Cybertron, that does not mean you should completely take a pass on the title. The action and enjoyable gameplay still makes this a pretty complete game and you’ll enjoy it a lot even if the plot is very forgettable. We did have some good banter between one of the Autobots and the government in one level though. The Autobot talked tough for a while, but once he started to get pounded by the Decepticons, he knew who to call. I do wish that we could have gotten a game for the 4th film. Ah well, maybe the 5th film will get a title. If not, another stand alone title like Devastation will fit the bill.

Overall 8/10

Transformers Devastation Review

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It’s been a decent while since the last Transformers game although the gap wasn’t incredibly long or anything like that. Devastation got a lot of hype before it came out and I was certainly on board as well since my favorite iteration of the Transformers would be returning. The game lives up to the hype and then some with the only weakness being the game’s short length. Aw well, short games let me really feel the experience in a short burst so I can roll with that.

It starts out like a classic Transformers episode. The Decepticons are causing trouble so the Autobots storm the city to save everyone. The humans have already been evacuated so they don’t need to worry about that, but hundreds of insecticons have flooded the city and Megatron’s plans for conquest are not even close to being finished. He wants to terraform the planet…or cyberform in this case so that Cybertron can virtually live on Earth again. Prime and the other Autobots are a little hesitant to stop him because it may involve destroying the entire history of Cybertron (Kept on a device) but if it’s the only way…then they shall be ready!

Devastation is a very fast paced game. You’re thrown right into the action and are confronted with bosses and enemies at every turn. The game was done by Platinum and I mostly know them for their reputation through Bayonetta as one of the best game developers in the biz. I can certainly see why they are known as such a great company as the gameplay is tight and very exciting. The focus is more on hand to hand than in shooting down your enemies and while Transformers Prime attempted this first, Devastation does it best. You’re essentially in a 3D fighting game while playing. There are numerous combos that you can use with each character and the weapons system allows you to keep crafting bigger and better weapons. You can also level up your characters to really get an edge in the battles.

There’s even a counter/dodge system in place. Essentially, if you dodge right before an opponent attacks, time will slow down and then you can really hand out the pounding. The timing is surprisingly tricky and a nice test for your reflexes. The A.I. is also nice and strong on Normal so I can imagine that they are quite impressive on hard. To an extent, their ability to break any of your combos is a little OP and I did have to retry one or two bosses a few times as they could be OP at times, but the gameplay is really fun so you definitely won’t mind doing the battles again. The combat system is really good and it’s nice to see Platinum really give the game their all.

That’s why it is disappointing that there is no multiplayer mode here. If ever a game needed a multiplayer option other than Mario Maker, it’s this one. Granted, the gameplay may be a little too advanced and intense to incorporate a multiplayer…that’s the argument that I can envision people making. If we can do Super Smash Bros or Dead or Alive, I’m sure that this game could have pulled it off. It would have added some nice replay value and simply would have been a great feature to have at the ready.

The graphics are very good. The faces could be surprisingly cartoony at times as the villains will make all kinds of faces at you, but it’s all in good fun. G1 was a great series in part because of its great character development and action, but also for the camp factor. I also liked the cutscenes where the heroes got to fight, albeit briefly and seeing more of that would have been awesome. The visuals certainly hold up quite well and I dare say that the game looks better than the other Transformer titles. It’s close though since the War for Cybertron series does look quite good.

In terms of music, there’s never been a Transformers game that was more impressive. Just about every musical piece is a guitar strum or some kind of epic rock music. Your blood will be pumping through every fight and the game feels that much more epic. It’s like being in an episode and you can duke it out with all of the classic villains. There are 3-5 bosses per level and that means you will be in store for quite a lot of action. It’s why I recommend saving your signature skill for when they show up.

Due to getting the game through Gamestop, we got Nemesis Prime and the Dark Starsaber unlocked from the get go. I equipped it after the first 3 missions and the weapon is quite useful. The shockwaves that it sends out are huge and deal a considerable amount of damage. You don’t have to worry about it becoming pay to win as you can easily find comparable sword attack-wise within the game, but the visuals are what really makes the weapon a lot of fun to use. You can opt to mainly use guns, but close quarters combat definitely has the edge in this title.

This game would have been an easy 9, but the story mode’s short length is definitely something that needs to be mentioned. There are only 7 levels and while the first two are decently long, they get a lot shorter after that. I beat the game in around 3 hours and did have fun grabbing some collectibles so it’s certainly possible to complete it quicker than t hat. Sure, there is replay scattered throughout the game, but without a multiplayer option either, I feel like deducting a star is worth it. Especially for the current price. Drop it down to 20 and that will help your case.

As for what the replay value entails, there are a lot of collectibles throughout the levels. That will take you some time to grab them all. There’s also a Mission Mode with 50 missions to tackle and they were pretty fun from what I saw. You’ll mainly be replaying parts of the story mode there. Finally, you also want to get all of the trophies to obtain the Platinum. The trophies are fair and don’t seem too hard, just time consuming. In a sense, all Platinums should be this way as you should need dedication without trying a level 1000 times. It’s a fair compromise I’d say.

Don’t forget to stick around for the after credits scene. It sets up the sequel quite well and you can tell that the boss will make for an intense antagonist. I’d be very hyped for a sequel although it’ll hopefully have a multiplayer mode or be a little longer. I feel like Platinum was aiming to make this title feel like an Arcade Game with its dynamic action scenes and quick soundtrack. If this was an Arcade Game, then 3 hours wouldn’t be so bad. I definitely trust that they will continue to make the gameplay 5 star material in a sequel.

Overall, if you’re a big fan of the original Transformers anime, you’re going to love this title. If you like action games where you are constantly fighting, then this is also right up your alley. The game really handled the gameplay perfectly and did justice to the Transformers name. Few franchises can say that they’ve consistently had 8 star games over and over again, but Transformers manages to pull it off. The only game in the franchise that I didn’t care for all that much was Animated and it still wasn’t downright bad. If you picked this up, let me know what you thought of it.

Overall 8/10