Will Transformers Universe have a smooth “roll out”? Or will it crash and burn? Jagex recently treated a bunch of journos to a preview of the game and, while I wasn’t in attendance, they made a video of the presentation available online to give us a taste of what the game is about. The video is embargoed, so we’re not allowed to show it to you, but I’ll do my best to describe it.

My first impressions are relatively positive. At the very least, there was nothing I saw that screamed “cheap browser game” and if they hadn’t mentioned that it was browser-based, I might not have remembered. The graphics aren’t super-detailed, but they’re no worse than similar team-based third-person combat titles, like SMITE.

Notice how I don’t directly call the game a “MOBA.” The gameplay footage we saw consisted of two areas: one a kind of open, free-roaming area, where the player can join up with others to battle PvE foes and get energon, a kind of currency in the game, and a PvP deathmatch arena, where kills were all that mattered. There were no lanes, towers, or minions, just a cityscape full of tall buildings and narrow streets that provided plenty of opportunities for utilizing cover, fast movement, and team tactics to hunt down and annihilate the enemy. Other game modes are also in development, which I would assume to include some objective-based battles.

Combat looks to be about as you’d expect, with each bot having strengths and weaknesses falling into one of 12 classifications, like Meltdown the healer, Catapult the sniper, and Front-Line, the all-arounder specialist. (We only got an in-depth look at Autobots this time around.) You can adjust your bot’s loadout, or even change which bot you bring to battle entirely, between lives in your hangar.

But it wouldn’t be “Transformers” if you only ran around on two legs. Jagex CCO Alex Horton described the four-wheeled action as a “fun, forgiving driving model” that’s “loose in the back end” (oh my). You’ll drift around tight corners and dash around the battlefield to get to the fight, and there’s nothing quite like flying up over a ridge, transforming in mid-air, and landing in the middle of a pack of enemies to unleash the pain. “It’s a lot about positioning, working the terrain, and moving around quickly,” said Horton.

Transformers in vehicle mode also have weapons, and different vehicles handle terrain differently. The SUV Front-Line handles off-road terrain with ease, while a sports car like Overclock would probably struggle but have better straight-line speeds on roads.

The Transformers themselves are a combination of classic, Prime-era characters and new models created specifically for the game. You can get a partial list on the game’s website, as well as on the unaffiliated Transformers wiki. (Of note: Wheeljack was briefly visible during the video, but he’s not mentioned on the site or the wiki list.)

There’s been a lot of teeth-gnashing over whether this should have been a full MMO as opposed to a “MOTA,” as Jagex calls it, but it makes a little sense to go this route. A character creator, the likes of which we’re used to in MMOs, which lets you make your own unique individual, would have been nearly impossible. Horton said the team is “taking head-on all the problems that come with a two-faction MMO,” problems that might have been exacerbated with a traditional MMO, where population imbalances can lead to negative play experiences.

As for the game we do have? At least in the limited look I got, it seems fine. A lot of people are going to be understandably put off by the exorbitant Founder’s Packs, but it’s a free-to-play game, so there’s no reason to spend now. You can keep following the development, as I plan to do, and decide to play when it comes out. Right now, I’d say I’ll at least be taking a look at it and trying to remain cautiously optimistic.

Or is that Optimus-tic?

By Jason Winter

17 Readers Commented

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  1. zookeeperz on June 8, 2014

    I have been in CBT since the beginning. Global Rank 4. Not that it makes one bit of difference.But might just stop the oh your useless m8 get some skills brigade from chiming in with their 2 bob’s worth. PvP less so is pretty evenly matched but it is auto hit from where ever you feel like standing.
    Absolutely no skill at all. The game will fail. Nobody plays it now and it is in cbt. Matches are so hard to find. queues for hours at a time. Plus the damage you inflict is pathetic but as I said it is same for everyone.
    PVE, is just a complete carve up. npc grunts kill you in 3 hits. I own all of the bots on both sides. Didn’t buy anything. was all from grinding. The chars are just too weak to be true. You try to heal a team mate with +24 heal whilst he is being hit with 500 damage. Exactly what is the point. He will die. The only people who will try to kid you in to thinking this is a good game are the fools who bought founders packs. I have beta tested games for 25 years and this title is right up there with Takidom . It is utter garbage . I wanted it to be an epic but it just fails in every way 2/10 and that is 2 points too many sadly.

  2. OptimusPrime on May 11, 2014

    Yeah still waiting

  3. ImADuck on May 9, 2014

    ” The graphics aren’t super-detailed, but they’re no worse than similar team-based third-person combat titles, like SMITE.” wait what? smite graphics aren’t super-detailed? did we both played the same smite?

  4. DisGameIsPoo on May 7, 2014

    ^^^^^^^

    HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE

  5. Luna on May 6, 2014

    How can we take this review seriously when you imply that Smite’s graphics aren’t detailed? Have you looked at Odin, for example? What are we supposed to say to something like that? ~_~

    • Adrian87 on May 7, 2014

      Q: “What are we supposed to say to something like that?”
      A: Maybe just difference of opinion?!?

      And a small correction, he said “graphics aren’t super-detailed”. Super detailed > Detailed. But graphics are just personal opinion.
      For example what looks good for me, might look sh!t for you. What looks good for you, might look sh!t for him. And that means what looks good for me might look super sh!t for him. Understand? Just opinion and different levels of satisfaction.

      How can we take your comment seriously when you doubt the seriousness of the entire article Transformers Universe sneak peak (not review and not about Smite) over a small disagreement like that? Have you even read the article before commenting or did you stop at graphics, for example? What is he supposed to say to something like that? ~_~

      • ImADuck on May 9, 2014

        while if u like a game graphic is an opinion graphic detales are not its how many little thing u render
        i.e one game hair is just a solid color and another game make it look like real hair u may like a game that does hair just a solid color but the other game have more details thats a fact not an opinion

  6. Mounted on May 6, 2014

    Mounted son

  7. marocan on May 6, 2014

    nice..;)

    • Aeryoth on May 6, 2014

      not interested.

      Transformers is not original and quite franky overrated

      • LordHikaru on May 7, 2014

        Blasphemy

      • You're a moron on May 7, 2014

        Alien robots come to earth to fight their war and kill humans while disguised as vehicles…
        Give me five other series that do that exact same thing
        And no, sir, Kingdom Hearts 1 and Attack on Titan are overrated

        • LordHikaru on May 7, 2014

          What you got against Attack on Titan? lol.

        • Allwynd on May 8, 2014

          do you realize how stupid and ridiculous is that?!

          it doesnt have to be all the same, Voltron (both japanese and murican) and Power Rangers series (both japanese and murican) have transforming robots that fight each other, and both are really ridiculous, unless you are a 7 year old boy or a mentally handicapped adult, like you appear to be

          • LordHikaru on May 10, 2014

            They were ridiculously awesome. I will agree with you on that. Though I don’t much care for many of the previous Power Ranger series(mostly after Zeo)… especially since they decided to have a talking hamster recently. Voltron’s had its shady moments though >_> it has had some dodgy remakes. Love the original though.

      • gorak on May 13, 2014

        not Original? are you kiding me? transformers are the Original robot transform series

        • To be fair . I remeber watching Transformers in the 80’s way before I even saw the first power ranger lineup on tv. Same with the toys.

          American Power rangers first aired August 28, 1993. and as derivative of tokusatsu Super Sentai.

          Voltron ran it’s first series between September 10, 1984 to November 18, 1985

          the first series of Transformers aired September to December 1984.

          So if were talking about originality, Transformers Aired before those other two

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