Just recently I reviewed Transformers Prime on the Nintendo 3DS. The game had good animation for the 3DS, the voice acting was pretty spot on to the animated series from what I can tell (since writing the review I caught an episode on TV), and the overall gameplay was good. My main qualms were that there was no online multiplayer, and the multiplayer that was there was just okay. Three modes, only one of which I really liked, and the maps could have been a bit better. However, I also had the chance to review the Wii version of the game. How well did this version do?
Well, let’s get one thing out of the way. Every now and then you’ll see games which have portable and console counterparts. Things may differ between the two in terms of gameplay or story or some other element. Now I’m not sure if this has happened in the past with other games (I’m sure it probably has), but in the case of Transformers Prime, the 3DS and Wii versions are pretty much identical. From the story to the way the game plays to the multiplayer, it’s the same. I have yet to find anything majorly different, controls not withstanding, of course. To that extent, I might not go into as much detail in this review as I’d basically be just copying and pasting my 3DS review, but I’ll still explain things a bit.
To recap the story a bit from my 3DS review, the Autobots pick up some dark Energon readings coming from some sort of meteor along with some Decepticon readings. Optimus, Arcee, Bumblebee, and Bulkhead head out to see what’s going on and find that Megatron has tethered his ship to the meteor. After taking out the tethers and making sure Megatron doesn't interfere, the meteor eventually breaks apart and sends the team tumbling down to the planet below, splitting them up. From here the stages each follow a different Autobot as they try to figure out what’s going on and attempt to stop the Decepticons from doing whatever they’re up to.
As I alluded to above, the main difference in this game are the controls. While the touch screen on the 3DS was used primarily as a radar to show the locations of nearby enemies and items and could
be used to power-up your attacks when the green meter fills up, I felt like the touch screen was used quite well. The Wii on the other hand…well, we all know what the Wii’s major gimmick is: motion controls. To attack in the Wii version, you wave the Wiimote up and down, and seeing as how this is the main way to attack, you’ll be doing this a lot. All the other controls seem okay, it just took me some time to get used to after playing the 3DS version for so long,
When it comes to multiplayer, you still have the same five or so arenas (four you have to unlock), eleven characters (seven you have to unlock), and the same three modes of play. You can still only play local multiplayer with or without CPU opponents, but here’s something that puzzles me, even more so than in the 3DS version. We’ve seen multiplayer games support multiple opponents on the DS/3DS, up to at least four locally. The fact that only two can play together on the 3DS version is mind boggling since you have four characters unlocked at the start, and even then you could probably program it so that even if someone uses a character you don’t have unlocked yet you could still see them in your game (Mario Kart DS comes to mind as I’ve seen people use characters I had yet to unlock and they showed up just fine). However, on the Wii, a system that physically supports up to four players, still
limits the number of human players to two. I’m not even sure where to begin. Okay, so maybe they didn’t want kids to fight over who’d get to be Optimus Prime (screw that, give me Bumblebee), but once you go through story mode you unlock another Autobot and six Decepticons. There’s no reason why the Wii version couldn’t support four players locally.
That’s really all there is to it. Once again, it’s the exact same game, barring the controls, so what I liked and disliked about the 3DS game applies here for the most part. However, between the two I do like the DS version better for two reasons. First, the motion controls. Yeah, I get it’s the same as in a lot of Wii games such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, but at least there your attack differs depending on how you swing the Wiimote. With Transformers Prime, you just constantly wave the Wiimote about to do the same combo over and over, occasionally hitting A to change things up a bit. I just feel that there was so much more that could have been done with the motion controls.
Second, I can’t find any excuse for multiplayer to not support four human players, even with no extra characters unlocked. Seeing as how console versions of games typically have more packed into the game than their portable counterparts, having some different and more complex stages as well as a couple different game modes would have been nice. Again, I keep finding myself sticking to Energon Battle, as the other two just don’t appeal to me that much. Is a typical death match mode too much to ask?
Anyway, that’s about all I got. Transformers Prime on the Wii is still a good game and I do recommend giving it a shot, but if you already have the 3DS version, you’re pretty much getting the same game again. The 3DS version wasn't necessarily short, at least for a game aimed at a younger audience, but it does feel like a decent challenge for its target age group. Still, if you like Transformers Prime, I’d say check it out.