With renewed faith Transformers: Dark of the Moon (or Transformers 3 as it says in your consoles' tray) emerges to tease the upcoming feature film.

Following 'Transformers: War for Cybertron,' 'High Moon Studios' generates another gaming endeavor featuring our favorite mechanical aliens, the Transformers. This time around we see a tighter/commerically driven experience as 'Dark of the Moon' ties directly into the new Bay/Spielberg produced Transformers film. Commissioned with the same name you will get transform through a few high-impact chapters of the planet-saving robots vs. the evil world-domination robots. Unlike the film, you will get to control the action on both sides of the war as 'Dark of the Moon' acts as an interesting prequel tie-in to the film. The story, if you're following the films, takes place 3 years after 'Revenge of the Fallen,' meeting up with the new film after its slugfest of a finale.

Sound the Bell, It's Round 3
Starting us off with the Autobot protagonist Bumblebee, you will work your way through the character/chapter flip-flopping adventure. 'Dark of the Moon' is your typical action adventure movie game, just made a little better. This means it's rather short, it has the same look and feel as the film, and only gives you enough action that you will want more (namely "go see the movie.") Unlike 'War for Cybertron' you'll have to stick to the outline working through the good guys parts before you lock-n-load as the Decepticons. As the Autobots you will, like always, stop the Decepticons and their evil ways. Obviously on the other side, the Decepticons are creating chaos on Earth. Without spoiling too much of the plot (not like there is much to spoil,) you will be chasing down the Decepticons as they try to awaken a powerful companion.

Not so Stealthy, Stealth Mode
When approaching the gameplay, 'High Moon' ported over the formula from 'War for Cybertron,' which makes perfect sense. 'War for Cybertron was a tight and fairly solid (outside the bungling A.I.) affair so you can imagine how 'Dark of the Moon' fairs. For innovations a new “Stealth Mode” (which has nothing to do with stealth) has been added. This allows each Transformer to use their vehicle form while its loaded up with weapons, while its mobility takes on the characteristics of a Hovercraft. It's a great and natural approach to these robots, although it does make it a little too easy for you to abolish your enemies. Secondly, you will probably enjoy this mode so much that it will become your optimum choice of movement; making your standard vehicle form near pointless (aside from boosting.) Good or bad, it adds another layer of depth to the combat.

Goodbye Cybertron, Hello Earth
Graphically, 'Dark of the Moon' looks great. There are lots of moments that showcase a great eye for design. This is apparent even in second levels as you fight Mixmaster as Ironhide through a half-destroyed Detroit. During your adventure you will several other locations making this adventure more visually interesting than solely fighting on Cybertron. 'High Moon' really tried to mix everything as much as possible when it comes to each chapters' environments/objectives. Although the objectives (aside from a few missions) is basically a nonstop barrage of shooting robots. Still with the duration given to develop this title, the effort is commendable with highlights pointing towards the Autobot stealth mission, Laserbeaks' infiltration guise and the final "almost controller throwing" final boss.

What Do I Do Now?
When you finish up with the very short (5-6hrs) single player campaign, you can try to mark out for all the achievements/trophies that are cleverly/thankfully made into level challenges. For example on Chapter IV; the Stunning achievement is unlockable if you stun 10 Autobots with Soundwave's stun gun, or on the Chapter VI - defeat all 3 waves in Megatron's Lair without dying on hard difficulty. As you can see, some achievements will be easier than others, and some that will require a little more finesse. Getting that Platinum will take a few runs through the game, which isn't necessary a bad thing.

Seeing that the run time is so short, you will need to head online to get the most out of this title. Online you will have a few more Transformers to choose from like Shockwave and Crowbar for the Decepticons to Breakaway and Sideswipe on the Autobot side. The modes online are the typical, yet fun as Transformers modes including Deathmatch variants along with the more interesting Conquest mode. There is a full class-based leveling up system online, which will likely cause you to be more involved then you would have assumed. Like the other aspects of 'Dark of the Moon,' the online mode is quick, instantly gratifying and fun for a few hours of metal-on-metal carnage.

Judging from the developers love of the source material, ie 'War for Cybertron,' it was a natural fit for them create the movie-based tie-in. While its nowheres near the level of their last project, 'Dark of the Moon' is light years ahead of previous endeavors from other studios. Bottom line; it's a solid, abet short action game. If you're already played 'War for Cyberton' and are itching for more Transformers action, 'Dark of the Moon' is a safe bet. Although let the determining factor of renting vs. purchasing come down to if you are planning to head online. Hopefully as the next Transformers film is being penned, 'High Moon' will be free to unleashed their magic on another original Transformers effort; 1980s throwback? anyone?

  • New stealth mode is a natural fit
  • Some good set-pieces, although its not consistent
  • Shallow, yet fun multiplayer
  • Cleverly crafted objective based trophies/achievements
  • Excellent audio, solid voice-overs
  • Really, really, short single player campaign
  • Wish the environments were more destructible
  • Not as ambitious as their last Transforming effort
Quote: "If you're already played 'War for Cyberton' and are itching for more Transformers action, 'Dark of the Moon' is a safe bet."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 06.27.11

Similar Games: Transformers: War for Cybertron (7.6) | Transfomers: Fall of Cybertron (8.5)


Dark of the Moon


High Moon Studios


US Release
June 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1
Online MP 2-10
HD 720-1080p
5.1 surround
D/L Content