More than meets the eye?
Booting up the game, you'll find out that it's a 3D GTA-style action game, complete with free-roaming. There's no better hands to place this game in that Vicarious Visions, who is one of the more experienced developers for the DS (Tony Hawk, Spider-Man). You'll name your own Decepticon, and engage in a plot that ties into the movie. You'll still play as characters like Starscream and Barricade, but only during certain missions. Unlike other transformers, you'll be able to scan other vehicles (think Metroid Prime) and have access to their forms. So in single-player, you play as your own transformer, and you gain EXP to level up and gain new abilities.
As far as the core game goes, it's superb. You can run, jump, shoot, climb, punch, kick, and transform. The melee combat and shooting is simple, as it should be. However, at any given moment you can transform, so this adds an element of excitement to the game. The vehicle controls handle nicely, and each of the 30 or so vehicles have different stats. From cars, to jets and helicopters, transforming is always fun, and really separates it from other games. The story is told through cutscenes and voice acting (which is probably the best I've heard on DS). So to sum it up, you can run around like the Hulk, scaling buildings, thrashing enemies, and picking up objects to utilize, but it throws in transforming and shooting as well. Simply put, it's AWESOME. My only complaint is the aiming, which can sometimes be a pain.
The graphics TECHNICALLY are very impressive. The sense of scale it throws at you is great, and a clean framerate to boot. The textures and animation won't wow you as much as Metroid: Hunters, but damnit they get the job well done! The sound has some generic rock in it, but is lifted by great voice acting and decent effects. So the presentation is great overall.
The DS version features cooperative AND competitive multiplayer, but co-op is only available if your friend has the same version as you. It's really cool, and its up to 4 players... local only. The blue "WI-FI" mark is decieving when it comes to actual multiplayer, but the online mode it DOES give you is awesome. Basically every day you can download a new challenge. You upload your high score, and depending which faction you're with, you'll contribute points for "The battle for the all-spark." Basically whoever's leading can take control of the game's website, and I'm not sure about the details but there are prizes involved. I just think it's cool to get a good score, and to see your name on the leaderboard. The multiplayer and "All-Spark" mode give this game lasting value, but it would have been AMAZING if it had online multiplayer.
Overall you should definitely pick this up if you're a fan of the Transformers or just an action game fan. It's a really fun GTA-style game that's sure to entertain. Other than characters, story, and some levels, the Autobots version is the same. So the decision of what version to get solely lies on your preference. But I was REALLY impressed with what they did with the DS technology, and I think you'll be too.