The problem with all movie tie-in games, is they’re almost instantly placed in one category — poor. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, unfortunately, is no exception.
After last year’s epic Transformers: War for Cybertron, it’s a shame developer High Moon Studios seem to have forgotten their previous, brilliant effort. On the upside, the game mixes up third-person fighting/shooting and vehicle combat, with the option to ‘transform’ at will, which is a key ingredient for a Transformers game. Unfortunately, a new mode called Stealth Force, (which is the default vehicle option) changes all that.
The problem with Stealth Force is the fact that while your Transformer is in your vehicle, you have much stronger, faster, and unlimited weapons, complete with stronger armour than in your robot form. There, you have to constantly reload and can only take so much damage.
That, of course, raises the question; why ever change into robot form?
Therein lies a key problem with Dark of the Moon – you never feel like a Transformer, but rather a ridiculously pimped out armoured vehicle, one which handles poorly. When driving, you seem to simply glide along the ground, until you either hit something and bounce around until you get back on track, or jump into robot mode, with the added risk of being killed. It just doesn’t feel like you’re playing as a Transformer.
Levels seem bland, with the exception of some outdoor environments that show the occasional nice lighting and texture effect. Ultimately though you feel confined in the small locations, seemingly just ‘surviving’ waves of enemies until you can move on to the next section.
Repetition is the name of the game, and it’s not just a problem with gameplay. The cast of the films have lent their voices to the game, and hearing Peter Cullen boom Optimus Primes lines repeatedly get rather annoying, very fast.
The graphics, while certainly not the best, are nice enough, with your favourite Autobot and Decepticon characters easily identified both in game and during cut-scenes, and the menu’s have a certain robot finesse about them, although the music get’s tedious after a short while.
Multiplayer is reasonable fare, although the inclusion to customise your Transformer is a nice (if very limited) touch. But, much like the campaign, the multiplayer gameplay is still such far cry from Transformers: War for Cybertron, and it really is a shame.
Clumsy mechanics and an onslaught of chaotic action doesn’t really add much to the online modes, whilst invisible walls frustrate; if I’m a fighter jet, let me fly higher than a small bridge!
After the amazing Transformers: War for Cybertron, it’s a genuine shame that developer High Moon Studios have taken such a seemingly slack approach to Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
I honestly thought after War for Cybertron that we had a developer who had finally struck gold for Transformers games. Let’s hope they get back on track with War for Cybertron 2.
For now, “Autobot’s, stay in Stealth Force…in the garage…”
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360.