By now, a whole bunch of you readers have seen the new Transformers movie Revenge of the Fallen, and if you haven’t then just know that it is two and a half hours of pure Transformer bliss that pretty much anyone will enjoy (Michael Bay anti-fans excluded).
Last week, we had the exclusive opportunity to play the multiplayer modes with the games’ developers and see if it was any good. We were left rather impressed, and if you haven’t read it yet, then you can do so by clicking here.
This week, thousands upon thousands of people worldwide are going to stampede into the game shops to pick up a copy of the new videogame adaptation of the movie, because after watching the film, you will want nothing more than to be a Transformer yourself, and do what you do best.
We take a look at the full package to decide if you should join the hordes, or if you are better off sticking to the movies.
It firstly needs to be said that for most of us gamers, it is basically common knowledge that games based on movie licenses are usually terrible, although recent releases like X-Men: Wolverine and Afro Samurai have proven that there is still hope.
What I also need to get out the way early in this review is that in the multiplayer review, I went into a lot of detail with regards to how the controls and gameplay works, so if you want to read up about it, I suggest that you head on over to that review now and read it first as I will assume that you know all of that stuff already.
Ok, so let’s get going.
Transformers 2 takes you into the world of Sam, Mikaela and the Transformers one more time and follows the story of the movie, which I won’t spoil, so you don’t have to worry.
The campaign is split into two, in that you can play through it as both the Autobots and the Decepticons, controlling all of the Transformers that you love as you make your way through the story. The story itself, as with all licensed games, only follows the story’s main plot points, with the missions almost filling the in-between parts that you wouldn’t have seen in the movies. Some missions are only the inverse versions of each other when playing the opposite faction though, so a lot more could have been done in this department.
The developers, Luxoflux (Kung-Fu Panda) have done a pretty great job at making the Transformers play and feel quite incredibly close to what you see in the movies, so fans can rejoice. The missions themselves can feel very rinse-and-repeat though, and some almost come across as a more of a multiplayer bot-match mode.
Where were all of these mini random Decepticons in the movie?
A lot of missions take place on maps which consist of around 10 – 20 city blocks, and really do feel like multiplayer maps more than anything else (some actually are now that I think about it). A lot of the missions will consist of escorting convoys, picking up, defending and moving people as well as straight forward ones like killing all the enemies in the area.
The campaigns really are a little underwhelming in their entirety, excluding a few really awesome boss battles, but the Transformers themselves are so fun to mess around with that you almost don’t even notice at times. In the end the campaigns are still quite fun to play through, and super Transformers fans will probably be in robotic-heaven. My main issue is that I see some really big and untapped potential and I almost always can’t forgive that.
The little Humvee wanted to be like Optimus when it grew up
As with almost any game these days, there is an extra dimension added to the game, such as Experience Points, which in Transformer 2’s case, is Energon. Energon can be used to upgrade your entire teams statistics, from health, melee and advanced combat damage , to turbo duration and weapon cooldown periods.
Along with that, there are times assigned to each mission that you can attempt to achieve for bronze, silver, gold and platinum badges, which may enhance replayability somewhat, as well as 5 icons that can be shot in each mission to pause the timer and assist in your speed-run.
ToasterBot came forth with a profound plan to save the world
The game also has some unlockables, and these range from boring to plain awesome. In the boring department, you have things like the amazing ability to watch cinematics from the game… err, ya ok. In the awesome department, there are 3 unlockable episodes of the original G1 Transformers TV series as well as G1 skins for your Transformers to use in multiplayer.
Autobots VS Decepticons
Speaking of multiplayer, while I have obviously discussed this section in full length in the multiplayer review, it must be said that this is one of the rare cases where a movie-licensed game’s multiplayer actually adds something significant to the package. As a matter of fact, I am actually pretty convinced that the multiplayer is the best part of the game, but that only matters if people keep playing it, and there is no way to tell if that’s going to happen just yet.
Optical Inputs Failing
When it comes to the visuals, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is quite a letdown but does have some redeeming factors. I didn’t need some super amazing technologically advanced hardware to instantly see that the game doesn’t run anywhere near 720p (and if it is then I really just don’t know what went wrong), with blurry, upscaled looking visuals that can’t be ignored. Levels can also look very empty, and texture detail is also very low in most environments.
Yes folks, that’s what it actually looks like when it’s running on your HDTV
On the plus side, the Transformers themselves look great and the character and transformation animations are stunning, The blurry low resolution does have one redeeming factor as well, in that the game maintains a nice and smooth framerate throughout, but I really can’t see why that couldn’t be achieved at a crisp resolution, especially on such powerful hardware.
Sounds are all borrowed from the movie, and almost all of the actors came in to lend their voices and likeness’ to the game, which definitely helps.
In conclusion, I actually want to discuss my main gripe with this game. You see, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was designed to capitalise on the success of the movie, whilst hopefully also giving fans a great taste of what it’s like to be apart of the Transformers experience.
In many ways, they have actually done a decent job, but I cannot help but think that there is so much more that can be done here, especially when it comes to multiplayer.
Screw the movies, I say.
Someone needs to take what was done here, and start polishing and refining it. Get a fantastically smooth and pretty graphics engine, balance the abilities and characters better, build bigger and more interesting maps and then add a couple of original modes, and you may have one of the best multiplayer experiences to grace Xbox Live and PSN.
Transformers 2 is not a bad game, but it’s not fantastic either and for a movie-licensed game, I guess that that’s acceptable on some level.
What I do know is that this game is a glimpse of something that could be really special, and it would be really sad to see all that potential go to waste.[P.S – While they are at it, can someone please make me an awesome Transformers: Beast Wars game. That series was fantastic, but the game was utterly shocking.]
The essence of being a Transformer is captured nicely, but the missions lack real substance. Multiplayer is where it really shines though.
Blurry, jaggy graphics and empty feeling levels, only saved by nice animations and Transformer models. Not many cutscenes either.
Borrowed sound effects are as wonderful as in the movies, and the voice work is decent.
The campaign is decent, weighing in at 10+ hours or so, and the multiplayer is sure to add quite a bit more to that number.
A huge improvement over the first Transformers game, but not quite living up to it’s full potential. Still, the game, just like it’s movie counterpart brings forth the action and fun that the average gamer wants from a summer blockbuster.
Last Updated: June 29, 2009