I’ll admit up front that I’ve never played a Transformers video game before. I was a big Transformers fan back when they first hit shelves in the 80’s , what we now call “G1”, as well as watching the original animated series and reading the Marvel comic, but I haven’t followed Transformers through all of their permutations and variations. I have a passing knowledge of them just from collecting and writing about toys, so I probably know more than the average citizen, but not a hardcore fan. I have seen the first tow Michael Bay films and, like most of the population, was a bigger fan of the first one than the second one. I followed the development of the last Transformers game “Transformers: War for Cyberton” but as of this writing had not had an opportunity to play it. "War for Cybertron" was developed by the same studio as the new Transformers: Dark of the Moon game, with High Moon Studios being the developer and Activision being the distributor. I have it on good authority that "War for Cyberton" is a great game so I do plan on checking it out.
Back in June when Activison’s PR firm reached out to AFi to review the new Transformers: Dark of the Moon game, the G1 fan in me was interested to see what could be done with the boys from Cybertron on next gen consoles. Unfortunately with a personal move, family vacation and Comic Con all happening back to back this review is a bit later than I intended, but the game is still available in stores and the movie is still in the top 10 so better late than never. In this review we will be looking at the Playstation 3 version of the title.
Here is the trailer for the game:
If I can frontload my review a bit I will tell you over all – a very fun game. I would consider myself a moderate gamer. I don’t get to play as often as I would like, and I have a lot of games stacked up on my “to do” list, but I’m always drawn to games that feature characters that l like and always liked to play with as a kid. Transformers is in that wheel house.
The game loosely follows the fiction of the third movie, which is now in theaters, but has the freedom to expand on that fiction as well. The game starts with the Autobots hearing about the start of a Decepticon resurgence. Each mission you get the opportunity to play as a different Autobot or Decepticon , and each Transformer has a different skillset.
As you go through the levels most of your enemies are nameless, generic Decepticons or Autobots that are either in vehicle or robot form and it’s not until you get to the "boss" section at the end of each level that you fight the big name Transformers from each faction that fans will recognize.
For the first level, which serves as your training mission Optimus Prime chooses Bumblebee to investigate the possibility of a Decepticon stronghold and to deliver a message to your fellow Autobots. Naturally the Decepticon threat is real and the game is on. You start off in your training mission as Bumblebee. Along the way you get to take over fan favorite Autobots such as Ironhide, who packs some heavy fire power and takes a lot of joy in using it. On the third level you are assigned to be Mirage, who’s transforming ability has been damaged so you have to rely on stealth… which as a 20 foot tall robot doesn’t sound very easy. Fortunately he is also equipped with a cloaking device that allows him to be invisible for about a minute.
Things really shift on the fourth level as you switch over to the Decepticons. You take over as Soundwave. Again being a Gen 1 fan, I wish Soundwave was still a cassette player… but that would have been really difficult and a bit sill to play as an ass-kicking cassette player. In this level he’s sort of an SUV… and he’s powerful! This is one of the longest levels, because you get to a midway point where Soundwave need some help and suddenly out comes Lazerbeak, and now you are controlling Lazerbeak in a flying mission that also takes some stealth. After Lazerbeak completes his part of the mission it switches back to Soundwave for him to complete his task. This was such a cool addition to the level High Moon is to be commended. This level was a great surprise and was my favorite level that I have played so far.
The next level features Megatron’s right hand man Starscream in a level that has a lot of flying in it. This level was a harder one for me and a bit confusing at times, but it was a cool addition to the game and really changed things up. I think fans would have been greatly disappointed to have be given the ability to play as Starscream and NOT be able to transform into a jet, so that was very smart on the part of Full Moon Studios. This level also features an appearance by the aerialbots.
And the final level I’m going to talk about is level five, where you take on the personality of the big baddie himself – Megatron. I’m not a fan of the Michael Bay design of Megatron. He’s kind of a pointy mess. This is by no means a reflection of the game developers, they have to work within the confines of the movie designs, and when you get in a “room“ with a lot of other Autobots and your fellow Decepticons it’s kind of hard to tell who’s who and where you stop and the little guys that are attacking you stop. As you might expect Megatron is really powerful and has the ability to throw energon to spawn little hatchlings that help him on his mission. At the end of the level Optimus Prime shows up and then the real battle is on.
I’m not going to cover the remaining levels so that there will still be some surprises for you when you play it. There are still many more characters that appear and many more you can play and many more surprises along the way. You’ll just have to try the game to find them!
High Moon and Activision clearly love the Transformers universe and have done a great job translating a lot of the classic feel that fans love into the mondern Bay interpretations. You can tell that the developers took a lot of joy in this title and worked hard to give fans a fun, emersive game experience. Speaking as a classic Transformers fan it is a lot of fun to go virtually on missions with and interact with other Autobots and equally as fun to switch sides and blast those do-gooder Autobots as a Decepticon. There’s a lot to like in this game for fans of all of the iterations of the Transformers. It’s a lot of fun and well worth your time. I have really enjoyed playing the game and would recommend it to all Transformers fans.
The game is available right now across all of the major platforms. You can order a copy for yourself by clicking here.
This sample was provided by BNC for Activision.
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