Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima

Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 11:53am CDT

Categories: Cartoon News, Reviews, Digital Media News, Editorials
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Hey, Seibertronians! The first episode for Machinima's Combiner Wars Animated series is now online, have you seen it? I know I have! I've made a quick review of it for you, followed by the link to watch the series, so check it out below!

Machinima's Combiner Wars series, centered around characters from the toyline of the same name, held some promise for me when we saw the trailers and screencaps from various conventions. It's premise looked good, original, and tied in nicely with the rest of the current fiction. I was hopeful. However, after watching the first episode, that hope is fading. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, perse, but there's a formula when it comes to a good series opener based off of the gigantic robots we know and love: It has to have Good Characters with good development, a good setting and premise, a nice production quality, and it should set you up well for what the rest of the series is going to bring. This is what made cartoons like Beast Wars, Prime, and, in some of those cases, the original G1 Cartoon so close and unforgettable to a lot of us. Combiner Wars fails on most of these grounds.

Let's break down the first episode.
The series starts off with a fight through a space bridge between Menasor and Computron. Menasor literally tears Computron to shreds, and the autobot combiner ends up "dying". We hit our first road block here. We're immediately thrown into a intense action sequence without any backstory at all. This would be completely fine by me if the rest of the episode tried to explain what's happening, but it doesn't. However, the episode is only five minutes long, so I will let this slide in hopes that future episodes will go into more detail.


Transformers News: Re: Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars Animated Series Discussion Thread
Maxima and Windblade take on Menasor

Windblade and new fembot Maxima show up to try to defeat the remaining combiner. We get a small bit of exposition here, but it's only a few lines, and it only explains that Windblade used to be a "City Speaker", meaning she could talk to "Titans" (Metroplex, Fort Max, Etc.) We already knew she could do this, but it's nice to see Machinima try to keep this new series grounded in existing fiction. However, Menasor delivers this dialogue in the new "I will start yelling at random intervals for no reason" voice Machinima gave him, so it's not very easy to listen to. Roadblock #2 comes in the form of the animation. It's pretty good on the whole, but sometimes it's really smooth and fluid, and then sometimes it's broken up and choppy like a motioncomic. So, during the fight between Windblade, Maxima, and Menasor, due to this mix of the two, it's hard to keep track of what exactly is happening.

The series tries to pump some tension into the episode by having Windblade get caught by Menasor, and Maxima feels the only way to save her is to make the Ultimate Sacrifice. She becomes the embodiment of the "Friend/mentor/parent/sibling dies" trope to give Windblade a bit of a backstory and a reason to hate combiners. This doesn't work mainly because she already hates combiners. It's not like she had this drastic change of heart only when her (Friend? Sister? Pupil? We don't know. We never find out) dies. The tension comes across as forced and doesn't get any emotion out of the viewer, especially since the character dying is completely new and we know nothing about her.

Transformers News: Re: Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars Animated Series Discussion Thread
Maxima, a new Female Autobot, does two minutes in.

Windblade, now freed, takes on Menasor alone. This isn't a problem, however, because somehow she takes him down in literally two swipes of her sword; about 5 seconds. This would also be excusable if she watched her friend die and went into a Anakin Skywalker-style fit of rage and just started beating up Menasor, but no. She just randomly gets this power with no real change in emotion.
Transformers News: Re: Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars Animated Series Discussion Thread This image is finally revealed to be Windblade, cutting Menasor in half, winning a fight that was much easier than it should have been

She kills Menasor after he worries her for a moment, talking about how he and her are alike, both killers. It's just that she uses a good cause to justify it. This story ark holds promise, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. After Windblade leaves, Computron starts waking up. The episode ends with a still shot of Optimus Prime, in the desert we saw him in in his spotlight video.

Transformers News: Re: Machinima Transformers Combiner Wars Animated Series Discussion ThreadWindblade leaves after smashing Computron's Autobot badge

All and all, the series does have its flaws, but it's the first episode. I'm willing to give it a chance, and I recommend you do, too. It's only five minutes of your time, and it gives us the Transformers action we all know and enjoy.

Wanna see the episode for yourself? Check it out at https://www.go90.com/ or on the Go90 mobile app!

Or you could just watch it right here:



What were your thoughts on the new episode? Leave 'em in the comments below!

Credit(s): Machinima


This article was last modified on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 1:23pm CDT

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Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811393)
Posted by Sabrblade on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:02pm CDT
Haven't watched the episode yet as I can't figure go90 out on my computer (don't have an Internet-able mobile device), but I'm chuckling at all the negative comments about the episode in this thread. I mean, what were you guys really expecting from a mini-webseries of eight 5-7 minute-long episodes? This isn't gonna be anywhere near the level of quality one would get out of a full fledged long-running television series of 22-minute-long episodes. It's obviously gonna stand among the kind of shows that Transformers: Cyber Missions and Sanjou Gattai Transformers Go! were.

Were people really expecting this to be something like "The next Transformers: Prime" or something? It's another bottom-of-the-barrel mini-cartoon. The people making this series can only do so much with what little they have to work with, no matter how much effort and quality work they put into it. You can't have too much depth or complexity within a 5-minute time constraint. That's why something like Thomas the Tank Engine has lasted for so long in this format: It keeps things simple.

I might be able to have a better grasp on the complaints once I get to see the episode (why they put it on such an obscure media format that not everyone has access to is beyond me), but for now, it honestly doesn't surprise me that it isn't on the same level as a mainstream televised cartoon series, but is instead on a level of its own.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811394)
Posted by Kurona on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:04pm CDT
Sabrblade wrote:Haven't watched the episode yet as I can't figure go90 out on my computer (don't have an Internet-able mobile device), but I'm chuckling at all the negative comments about the episode in this thread. I mean, what were you guys really expecting from a mini-webseries of eight 5-7 minute-long episodes? This isn't gonna be anywhere near the level of quality one would get out of a full fledged long-running television series of 22-minute-long episodes. It's obviously gonna stand among the kind of shows that Transformers: Cyber Missions and Sanjou Gattai Transformers Go! were.

Were people really expecting this to be something like "The next Transformers: Prime" or something? It's another bottom-of-the-barrel mini-cartoon. The people making this series can only do so much with what little they have to work with, no matter how much effort and quality work they put into it. You can't have too much depth or complexity within a 5-minute time constraint. That's why something like Thomas the Tank Engine has lasted for so long in this format: It keeps things simple.

I might be able to have a better grasp on the complaints once I get to see the episode (why they put it on such an obscure media format that not everyone has access to is beyond me), but for now, it honestly doesn't surprise me that it isn't on the same level as a mainstream televised cartoon series, but is instead on a level of its own.

Thought this sort of comment would come...
I'm not expecting anything amazing. I'm not expecting to be blown away by this. I'm expecting something mildly enjoyable to spend a few minutes on.
... and it couldn't even do that. There's just not anything in the episode I could find enjoyable. It's just a confusing, loud, irritating, nonsensical mess.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811397)
Posted by Kyleor on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:15pm CDT
It looks like the best option for this series will be to wait until it's fully released, and someone splices the "episodes" together into one video.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811398)
Posted by Madeus Prime on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:17pm CDT
Kurona wrote:Thought this sort of comment would come...I'm not expecting anything amazing. I'm not expecting to be blown away by this. I'm expecting something mildly enjoyable to spend a few minutes on.... and it couldn't even do that. There's just not anything in the episode I could find enjoyable. It's just a confusing, loud, irritating, nonsensical mess.

The perfect summarization of my opinion.

The animation is really choppy, more so than I expected. I dislike how intelligent Menasor is here, though I think a more G1, gravelly voice for him would've helped.

And I super dislike the trope of "Loved one dies so I'm going to kill them all". Less Combiner Wars and more Attack on Combiner if you ask me.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811400)
Posted by Tyrannacon on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:35pm CDT
Sabrblade wrote:Haven't watched the episode yet as I can't figure go90 out on my computer (don't have an Internet-able mobile device), but I'm chuckling at all the negative comments about the episode in this thread. I mean, what were you guys really expecting from a mini-webseries of eight 5-7 minute-long episodes? This isn't gonna be anywhere near the level of quality one would get out of a full fledged long-running television series of 22-minute-long episodes. It's obviously gonna stand among the kind of shows that Transformers: Cyber Missions and Sanjou Gattai Transformers Go! were.

Were people really expecting this to be something like "The next Transformers: Prime" or something? It's another bottom-of-the-barrel mini-cartoon. The people making this series can only do so much with what little they have to work with, no matter how much effort and quality work they put into it. You can't have too much depth or complexity within a 5-minute time constraint. That's why something like Thomas the Tank Engine has lasted for so long in this format: It keeps things simple.

I might be able to have a better grasp on the complaints once I get to see the episode (why they put it on such an obscure media format that not everyone has access to is beyond me), but for now, it honestly doesn't surprise me that it isn't on the same level as a mainstream televised cartoon series, but is instead on a level of its own.


Very true. Honestly I wasn't expecting too much from it myself. I mean I know the creatives behind it have been trying to build hype for this. Aiming to make it a mature series. In some ways I guess it was? But 5 minutes didn't really show that much maturity. I'd have to see the series in entirety before I could say if it was mature or not. This may be just me being me of course. I just had hoped the episodes would be a bit longer because 5-7 minutes just goes by too quickly. I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy this, and I'm definitely not expecting something on par with TFP even here.

I remain mostly neutral though myself. I'm eager to see additional episodes to make a more informed and inclusive opinion though.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811403)
Posted by Sabrblade on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:53pm CDT
Okay... finally got Go90 figured out, and just found a YouTube upload of the episode (but which has now been taken down, darn it).

So now that I've watched it, I see that the problems don't lie with the format (it being a 5-minute-long mini-cartoon) as I thought, but with what the series has set out to do. To put it bluntly, it is everything that was wrong with Transformers: Prime shot up to the eleven.

Whereas Prime's goal was to make everything as "epic" as possible (as so stated many times by that show's creators), this show's goal (as stated by its own creators at previous times) is to make everything as "bad-A-double-S" as possible.

This was pure spectacle with almost no heart, charm, or wit to it. A dry, soulless experience that was little more exciting than taking one's own toys and bashing them together again and again (and to us, THAT should be entertaining).

Maxima was the Prime Cliffjumper of the show in the worst way possible, Windblade is vastly overpowered and Arcee-levels of annoying, Menasor had no menace to him, Computron was a waste, and the whole thing just felt so depressingly angsty for angst's sake.

Just a very bleak, dull, uncharismatic first episode.


P.S. - Though Menasor's voice has been the subject of much contention, in that it was just laughable, I gotta say that it very much reminded me of the voice of a Decepticon from a previous TF cartoon: Ro-Tor from RiD 2001.

And personally, he also kinda sounded like an impression of Jerry Houser. :lol:
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811405)
Posted by Flashwave on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:55pm CDT
o.supreme wrote:
MrBlack wrote:We don't know how hard that actually is in this continuity; Optimus and Megatron may be taking them down left, right, and center later on. There isn't even remotely enough material available yet to state whether Windblade is a Mary Sue or not. Such characters also tend to be author inserts or wish-fulfillment characters, and there is no indication that is going on here.


A combiner should never be that easy to take down in ANY continuity. I know it happened in the original series (both cartoon and comic), in the Japanese series like HM, MF, & Victory, RiD and in Energon. It's always been a point of contention with me. Additionally, if anyone doesn't think that the insertion of Windblade wasn't at the demand (wish-fulfillment) of Hasbro, they should think again.

speaking in general about combiners. It just saddens me that 30+ years into the franchise we have not yet had any medium that properly presents them (perhaps the DW comics but unfortunately that was short lived). A combiner becomes "more than the sum of its parts" so, the typical 5 member "scramble" type combiner should be able to stand up to a small army, say no less than 25 single transformers, some "super weapon", another combiner, or larger transformer such as Sky Lynx or Omega Supreme. The "weak spot" contrivance for times such as Devastator's first appearance and Bruticus' second is plausible on occasion, but you'd think after a period of time, they would have worked that out. My apologies for the rant. I guess its just frustrating when you see something you enjoy so much, and your absolute favorite part about it, never quite hits the mark it was intended to. I'm definitely going to keep watching this series to see where it goes.


A combiner is only more than the sum of its parts if the parts come togehter. That's been the weakness all along. You get the Stunticons to think about themselves as themselves, and not as Menasor's leg, and the big guy falls over. Easy as that. The "Weak Spot" plot was addressed in IDW to a degree through Monstructor. Prime took him down that way once or twice until Jhaxius caught on and slapped a piece of armor over that. That spot was approximately where Scowl and Birdbrain's halves met, and had the effect of snapping the spinal cord. But if you think about it, any Combiner regardless of size should suffer from multiples of the same effect. They may not be asy to get to, but at some point in the knee you have a transition between two bots, the Torso and the Leg dude. Regardless of how well armored the Combiner may be, that knee is probably a problem
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811406)
Posted by Randomhero on August 2nd, 2016 @ 12:56pm CDT
I've been watching RedvsBlue since I was in high school so webseries that are 5-7 minutes don't bug me. My primary television is YouTube so I'm accustomed to short length content.

I thought it was...okay? The style is nice but the frame rate it awful and yeah the voice acting is not great. Menasor honestly sounded like 15 year old trying to imitate RID grimlock.

I got hopes it will get better
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811408)
Posted by Powermaster Swag on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:10pm CDT
Bumblebee21 wrote:
Powermaster Swag wrote:How long are these episodes supposed to be? I just watched an episode on the Go90 app called "The Fall". Is this the first episode? :-?

yes

Okay, just making sure.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811409)
Posted by Nexus Knight on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:36pm CDT
Is there a reason the video's no longer available?
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811410)
Posted by Optimizzy on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:39pm CDT
ok, so I just watched it...

man...I'm not going to spoil anything (How could I anyway? Its barely loner than a movie trailer), but this was weak. The characters seemed way off to me. It seems like they watched a bad anime and was like "Oh, that, that is what we should do."

I am disappoint.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811412)
Posted by Optimizzy on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:41pm CDT
Randomhero wrote:I've been watching RedvsBlue since I was in high school so webseries that are 5-7 minutes don't bug me. My primary television is YouTube so I'm accustomed to short length content.

I thought it was...okay? The style is nice but the frame rate it awful and yeah the voice acting is not great. Menasor honestly sounded like 15 year old trying to imitate RID grimlock.

I got hopes it will get better


yeah, he sounded like an angry kid. Windblade sounded good.

and 10 minutes long stuff is ok...when it's produced often and easily. I doubt this is either. At least as 15 minutes. But 5? That's not what I thought we were getting.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811414)
Posted by 1984forever on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:46pm CDT
This is easily the best Transformers cartoon to come out in the last 30 years. But I have to admit that a pretty low bar has been set since the original G1 went off the air.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811415)
Posted by william-james88 on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:48pm CDT
Nexus Knight wrote:Is there a reason the video's no longer available?

No reason, I am watching it right now on youtube, we embeded the video at the end of the review.

Optimizzy wrote:ok, so I just watched it...

man...I'm not going to spoil anything (How could I anyway? Its barely loner than a movie trailer), but this was weak. The characters seemed way off to me. It seems like they watched a bad anime and was like "Oh, that, that is what we should do."

I am disappoint.


Me too, it ends with a shot of Optimus and we dont hear the awesome John Bailey :-(

But aside from that, yeah its dissapointing. I do not like the animation at all. It is very repetitive, like older anime. The scene where Menasor and Windblade are having a back and forth and Menasor's mouth is just moving up and down randomly reminded me of Speed Racer.



I am also not fond of the direction for Menasor, he sounds unintimidating. Also, and this is more because I am aware of he business behind this, I am kind of ticked at how that is the Superion redeco we see as Computron. We already bought the combner wars toys guys, you dont have to sell them anymore!
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811417)
Posted by JazZeke on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:55pm CDT
1984forever wrote:This is easily the best Transformers cartoon to come out in the last 30 years. But I have to admit that a pretty low bar has been set since the original G1 went off the air.

Uhhh... have you even watched Beast Wars, Animated, and Prime?
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811418)
Posted by Kurona on August 2nd, 2016 @ 1:59pm CDT
I finally worked out a reason for Maxima's existence.

Starscream

Image

Thundercracker

Image

Skywarp

Image
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811419)
Posted by Randomhero on August 2nd, 2016 @ 2:01pm CDT
Optimizzy wrote:
Randomhero wrote:I've been watching RedvsBlue since I was in high school so webseries that are 5-7 minutes don't bug me. My primary television is YouTube so I'm accustomed to short length content.

I thought it was...okay? The style is nice but the frame rate it awful and yeah the voice acting is not great. Menasor honestly sounded like 15 year old trying to imitate RID grimlock.

I got hopes it will get better


yeah, he sounded like an angry kid. Windblade sounded good.

and 10 minutes long stuff is ok...when it's produced often and easily. I doubt this is either. At least as 15 minutes. But 5? That's not what I thought we were getting.



Wind blade sounded just fine and holy S#^+ she had character other than "grrr starscream is bad! I gotta stop starscream"

Computron was computron. There's not much there to begin with already. Excited for John Bailey as Optimus. When you don't get Peter you should get John.

Someone on another board made a good remark which is that this is similar to GI Joe Resolute. 3 to 5 minute episodes that when together made a great hour long special.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811420)
Posted by o.supreme on August 2nd, 2016 @ 2:01pm CDT
JazZeke wrote:
1984forever wrote:This is easily the best Transformers cartoon to come out in the last 30 years. But I have to admit that a pretty low bar has been set since the original G1 went off the air.

Uhhh... have you even watched Beast Wars, Animated, and Prime?


makes a better case.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811421)
Posted by o.supreme on August 2nd, 2016 @ 2:03pm CDT
Randomhero wrote:
Optimizzy wrote:Someone on another board made a good remark which is that this is similar to GI Joe Resolute. 3 to 5 minute episodes that when together made a great hour long special.


I made that statement multiple times earlier in this thread. But it is still too early to know if this will be as good as Resolute was....I was just hoping at the time.
Re: Review for the Now Online Transformers: Combiner Wars animated series From Machinima (1811423)
Posted by Sabrblade on August 2nd, 2016 @ 2:07pm CDT
JazZeke wrote:
1984forever wrote:This is easily the best Transformers cartoon to come out in the last 30 years. But I have to admit that a pretty low bar has been set since the original G1 went off the air.

Uhhh... have you even watched Beast Wars, Animated, and Prime?
You do see what his username says, right?

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