In theory, it would seem difficult to make a lackluster game based on the Transformers license. Your main characters are heavily armed, emblematic robots, a majority having the ability to reformulate into powerful vehicles. Conflict within the universe’s two opposing factions- the virtuous Autobots and the malevolent Decepticons, is well established and requires a skeletal narrative framework to drive the robots into action.
Although these attributes would seem to impeccably dovetail with the videogame medium, there has only been one truly respectable adaptation of the cybernetic conflict- 2004’s Transfomers for the PS2. The eponymous game astutely focused on the ballistic exchanges between machines, which kept the action brisk and vivacious. The title seems to have influenced developer Luxoflux, whose recent release, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, hit store shelves recently to coincide with the release of the Michael Bay film.
At its core, Revenge of the Fallen is a competent third person shooter which substitutes the agility typical for the genre, with copiousness amounts of cybernetic weaponry. Each robot, friend or foe, has two weapons, a few melee attack variations, and the ability to change into a car or aircraft. By holding down the right trigger, players convert into their vehicular forms, which allow the gamer to fluidly initiate a chain of attacks on enemies. When transforming into robot form, gamers have the option to perform advanced moves for overwhelming amounts of damage.
Typical missions have the player eliminating swarms of enemies, protecting conveys, or transporting humans. Like Activision’s Spiderman series, the limp tasks give purpose to the game’s powerful, and multifaceted control scheme. At least the similitude of the missions is offset by a light-RPG leveling up system with lets player augment their team’s abilities in six different areas. Additionally, the game provides a healthy amount of unlockable incentives to sustain a player’s waning interest.
Enemy A.I. shows little tactical aptitude, and only presents a challenge when players are confronted by large numbers. While some antagonists inexplicably scramble up the side of buildings, most position themselves in the open, firing leisurely at the gamer. Likewise, boss fight can feel surprisingly anemic, as the player is guided to cover behind an indestructible object. Whoever heard of Bumblebee taking cowardly potshots from a clandestine corner?
Transformers packs the requisite multiplayer game modes- Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, One Shall Stand, Control Points, and a capture the flag variant, Battle for the Shard. Although the variations may be old hat, there execution feels fresh thanks to the transformational ability of each robot. Most games reward a team that utilizes each robot’s special ability, from healing to sharp shooting, creating an intense and rewarding online diversion.
Graphically, Transformers environments straddle between realism and hand-drawn cartoonishness, recalling Luxoflux’s cityscapes in Vigilante 8 and True Crime: Streets of LA. Most maps have a nominal amount of destructibles that range from pipelines to gas tankers, which burst satisfyingly. The game’s attention to small details- smoke trails left in a missile’s wake and the red beam of an enemy’s laser sight make up for the unrealistic vacancy of the title’s environments. Each of the game’s robots are magnificently rendered and animated, specifically during transformation animations. While the game employs voice actors from the film, the sound mix is erratic- gameplay is much louder than the mission briefings.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is will likely please fans of the film with its competent, but slightly tedious gameplay. The title’s single player campaigns languish in a protracted ease, becoming gratifyingly intense only in the game’s commencement. Luckily, the games superb multiplayer component serves as mechanized redemption- the Autobot vs. Decpticon matches recreate the blissful skirmishes of our youth, lovingly played out upon living room floors.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was reviewed on retail Xbox 360 code.