When I first heard that the DS version of Transformers
was going to come in two flavors, Autobots
, I was very curious. How would they handle this? Would it be in a Pokemon
style where the two games are the same and there are only slight differences (the obvious one being which side of the war you are on), or would it be the same story from two perspectives (a story-telling device I have always loved and applauded). The answer is a mix of the two.
Transformers: Autobots brings you in on the side of the good-guys. Your character is a wet behind the gears Autobot sent to Earth to help the war effort and stop Megatron and the Decepticons from getting the AllSpark. Instead of playing as one of the main Autobots throughout the entire story, you play as your personalized Transformer in most missions and level up his various stats by completing missions and destroying Decepticons.
Each open-world location has a series of missions that fall into two categories, Challenge and Story. As you would expect, Story missions follow events from the movie and continue the overall plot. You are rarely in control of your personal-bot during these missions. Instead you take control of one of the main characters from the movie and face off against another main enemy. The Challenge missions aren't required to complete the game or even advance the story, but if you want to level up your Autobot to help the effort in the Battle for the AllSpark mode, you will want to play through them.
For the most part, it seems like both versions of the games try to portray the same story from different perspectives, but when compared side-by-side, you get the feeling that the game was more of a model-swap than a true multi-perspective story. For instance, both games have a fight between Bumblebee and Barricade. In the Autobots version, our little yellow car drives up to Barricade's location, the two exchange a few words and then Bumblebee chases the police car throughout the city to end in a climactic (and hard as hell) fight. While watching Starscream play his version, I was expecting to see Barricade get approached by Bumblebee and have to escape from him. Instead I saw pretty much the same sequence of events take place. Barricade approaches Bumblebee, he chases Bumblebee and they fight. I was pretty disappointed by this. But I also found it odd that the fighting part of the mission was different between the versions. In the Decepticons version, the fight is broken up by a series of chases, making the overall effort seem less dragged-out. This confused me even more because it felt like if the developers would put the effort into making the missions different, they could have also put in the effort to make the two stories line up (i.e. have whoever is being chased be consistent between the two stories).
There are a few other aspects of the game that just seems to make sense in the Decepticon version and not the Autobots. While running around the city, the more human things you destroy (cars, trees, lights, etc.), the higher your threat level rises. In the Decepticons game, if you get it too high, Autobots come after you. In the Autobots version, its Decepticons. To me, this seemed odd - why would the evil robots have a problem with you destroying the humans' stuff? This and several other aspects of the game made me feel like the Decepticons version was of a higher priority and Autobots was more of an after-thought.
With the two versions of the game, you get a couple of other benefits though. These are in the multiplayer games. There are two multiplayer games, Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. Which team you are on depends on which version of the game you have. This is a nice twist and makes a lot of the multiplayer setup easier.
The other mode that is of interest is Battle for the AllSpark. Here everyone uploads their Transformer's stats to a centralized server and compare it with everyone else. That might not sound too interesting, until you see that your stats combined with all of the other stats from your side of the war will help determine which side is currently winning. Its a nice little thing, but it takes no time to do, and its interesting enough to actually participate.