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optimusI would love to start this review by stating that the days of rushed games, as movie tie-in cash cows, are over. I would love to say that like the Wolverine game, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is sitting in a category of “games that are greatly better than the movies they are based on.” However, none of that is true. I could say this is a below average game that reeks of rushing to meet the movie’s release. That would be true.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sees you play as either the Autobots or the Decepticons as you (loosely) follow the plot of the movie, engaging in a variety of timed missions, which earn you points to unlock new missions. And so the cycle continues. Throughout the missions you will be able to play as a small choice of robots, each with their own unique abilities, these range from slowing the enemy, to stunning the enemy and from planting a turret to healing yourself. It’s not just the special moves that add variation to the gameplay, as being that you are playing as a Transformer you also have the ability to morph into a vehicle (a shock, I know). The movement you have at your disposal when you are playing as a helicopter, a dump truck, a fighter jet, a…yellow car…varies the levels enough that you will probably still be enjoying the gameplay at least until the end of your first campaign.

Unfortunate as it may be for the game, it is tied to a movie that made a lot of bad choices. There is a limited selection of bots to lay as, some are added to the movie roster, some taken away. There are some horrible looking designs, specifically Starscream standing out as the worst, but I suppose that if more the movie’s problem and the game couldn’t help but recreate it. Sound is also an issue, with some voice work being dreadful, some voices being drowned out by sound effects, a less than impressive score and a heavy lack of cohesion between the game and movie (for example, it seems a memo was passed to the developers “Jetfire must have a stereotypical English accent” as the game sees the stereotype of a posh accent, whereas the movie uses a cockney accent). It’s not all doom and gloom in the voices, however, as the voices from the original cartoon reprise their roles on Optimus Prime and Megatron, which gives some geek points at least.

With each character’s unique abilities comes a varied array of achievements, some offer rewards such as different skins (giving Starscream the classic series’ colours helped dull the pain of actually seeing him), others the standard concept art unlocks. The greatest part of this game, however, comes in the form of six unlockable episodes (three for each faction) from the series. It does not bode well for a game where the best part of it is putting the controller down and not playing.

transformersThe game is filled with a multitude of poorly designed elements, that add up to make the game a bad experience. The AI is dumber than a dinobot, as it will normally stand still on a rooftop even if you are sat there sniping at it, and will only react if you get close enough to melee attack it, which is rarely as effective as shooting anyway. At the end of each mission you will get a small scene in which the important bots of your faction will discuss how you just fared, with comments hinting that you may have succeeded but you took too long. These come just after a screen in which it details all the factors that went into your score, such as accuracy, time and bonus objectives making the animated scene entirely pointless.

With each level being a timed mission, it is deemed that checkpoints are a poor idea. So despite being 90% through a mission, having completed all the bonus objectives (these range from using advanced attacks or special attacks to killing with a headshot or a jumpshot) and perhaps one kills from the end of the mission, a failure will result in having to start again from scratch. Also, for some reason in a tie-in to a movie that is heavy on their use of CGI, the game manages to contain no rendered cut-scenes, whilst not an essential component to a game, it just makes the product feel less polished and rushed.

Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review

Rating Category
3.5 Presentation
Disjointed to the point of annoyance, the presentation leaves a lot to be desired.
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7.0 Gameplay
For all its flaws, playing as Transformers is still fun and there is a decent amount of variation.
4.0 Sound
Voices from the old movie cast give extra geek points, but some voices leave alot to be desired, and the score was less than average.
6.0 Longevity
Two campaigns, whilst not being all that long individually combine to give a solid amount of time to play through, with multiplayer keeping you online that little bit longer.
5.2 Overall
A perfect example of a rushed game. There was potential here somewhere, but buried beneath so much useless dead weight.

  1. Nice review. The game seems about as shallow as the movie, which adheres to my philosophy on Michael Bay’s movies – *BOOM SMASH BOOM* 2-dimensional characters *BOOM SMASH BOOM*

  2. Looks like it’s back-to-basics for movie tie-ins. Wolverine was a blip!

  3. avatar GEL

    The single player is sorely lacking as you said, but the multiplayer is hot sexy goodness. The controls are exceptional and the nature of the bots and stages allow for tons of options and strategies.

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