Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen follows the new re-envisioning of the classic 80s cartoon icons into familiar territory as Activision gives the Transformers movie adapation another shot. Taking lead from the second live-action film, Revenge of the Fallen lets you battle for supremacy as either an Autobot or evil Decepticon.
Without hesitation the film industry has made out like bandits by selling another fat bundle of tickets to the second Transformers film. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen isn’t your old 1980s cartoon; it’s a big-budget summer blockbuster featuring huge sets, green screen magic and some of the industries hottest up and coming actors. This beloved 80s sci-fi tale of two warring robotic beings has successfully been “rebooted” and its no surprise that the gaming industry is trying following suit. Unfortunately for us old school Transformers fans, Activision and newly appointed developer, Luxoflux (True Crime: Streets of L.A.) have taken the route of the film and made another movie-based Transformers game. Oh, the joy!
In good form Revenge of the Fallen doesn't waste any time on the filling in the blanks with human filler. Jumping right into the robot-battling action you won't see a digital Megan Fox (sorry fellas), or Shia LeBeouf (sorry ladies?!). Revenge of the Fallen is a straight up classic action game with the main plot revolving around the Decepticons and Autobots kicking the bumpers off of each other. Fans of the new films you should feel right at home with the new, more agile Transformers being represented as they create or and stop the destruction of our Earth.
No Spoliers Here
Watching the new Paramount film isn’t a necessary to get into the game, and for those who haven't seen the movie, the game won’t spoil too much about the film. I liked the direction Luxoflux took with the game making it feel like its own project rather than a direct movie-game experience. Revenge of the Fallen isn’t exactly what the die-hard fans have wanted, but it does inch closer to our expectations then the last Transformers movie game (Transformers: The Game). The way you would be disappointed with how Luxoflux handled the game is you wanted to see a little more content from the film injected into the game, like straight from the movie cut-scenes.
Hold and Release
Fixing up a problem from the first Transformers game, the gameplay mechanics have been switched around to make them feel closer to being a giant alien robot. The feel isn't totally there yet, but considering the first Transformers game, it's a hell of a lot better. Contributing to the sense of bieng a Transformer are the controls. The controls have come under a lot of criticism in Revenge, and are a little tricky to get a handle on at first. This is mainly because of the unfamiliar controller layout. Admittingly, a few of the button combinations are a little more intricate then you might expect, with all the holding down triggers and letting go of buttons and such. Revenge gets the most confusing during battles, however after you spend a good half hour transforming and running around you'll find the sweet spot and be ready to rock n' "roll out". Like any game a little bit of time helps, and Luxoflux helps the player about by easing them into the game with a few training missions.
Weapons of Cybertronic Destruction
Each Transformer can access three modes; standard, vehicle and weapon form. The standard and vehicle form doesn't need any explanation, so lets get to the bang-bang. The weapon mode lets you use the robots guns which consist of two main weapons. The weapon system in the game is like the old Mech-Warrior games with weapons that can overheat, or take a long time to recharge. This sets up a little bit of pacing in the combat rather than an all out laser show which ultimately makes for a better game. All the Transformers can be upgraded in all areas of the weapons, so you can spend points to fix it up your robot adding depth to the game. In total Revenge of the Fallen features 24 Transformers with the slide edge going to the Autobots.
The Race is On
From upgrading your Transformers, to replaying the game on the other side of the war, Revenge of the Fallen has enough push to drive you through the campaign again. To help motivate the player to over achieve there are online leaderboards, and the inclusion of a medal system for each mission. For some strange reason, or maybe for the reason of rewards, every level is timed which making you rush through to the missions. This takes away a sense of being able to explore and play the game at your own leisure as a loaded timer is always counting down. Luckily, it is easy to complete the levels without missing out on the rewards.
Uh, No More Drones!
The extra features tucked into Revenge of the Fallen surly helps Transformers stay interesting and in-turn greatly helps out the less than stellar single player campaign. The main missions in their bland presentation gets old fast as the action jumps between dull objectives and drone battling. The translation of capturing the feel of these mammoth robots in battle is also a little off which doesn't help draw you into the world, this goes for the film too. After a hour or two of playing in the campaign Revenge becomes extremely uninspiring. Downing endless waves of nameless drones and repeated mission objectives is the culprit here. The boss battles help break up the standard robot squash fest, but it’s not enough to make Transformers feel engaging.
Where Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen starts to shine is the multiplayer aspect of the game. In an unexpected surprise the battles online capture the feel the single player campaign needed. You would have figured this would be mashed up add-on, but is not. Battling it out against other human foes in a variety of team-based matches really puts the struggle up front like it should be. Each Transformer seems better suited for online battle against its own kind. It’s one of those games that a good player with any robot can out perform the bigger, badder units. The tricky part about Transformers online is taking some time and learning about the different Transformers before you jump into the drivers seat. By giving yourself some learning time you will probably be surprised how much fun this game can be.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen might not be the Transformers game fans have been waiting for, but it is an improvement from the last Transformers movie tie-in game... which wasn't too hard. Revenge of the Fallen shadows the visual style and feel of the film which lets you explore both sides of the Transformers feud on Earth. Unfortunatey the single player campaign can't deliever the goods in long sittings as the missions structure and action becomes too repetitive and ultimately uninspiring. However, there is some good news. After you get tired running around in the single player game you can head online. As a Decepticon or an Autobot, the online matches are fast paced and frantically enjoyable which is a frankly a huge surprise, and a big boost to the games value.
Unless your expectations are too high you should be able to find some enjoyment out of this second adaptation of the Transformers film... just don’t expect miracles! I wouldn’t go as far as recommending Revenge of the Fallen as a “must have” purchase unless you are a die-hard Transformers fan. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen falls more into the "weekend rental" type of deal. All in all, I'm glad to see Activision appointing a new developer to the Transformers project because we have certianly made some head way. Now lets hope Activision gives them the freedom to create a 80s version of the Transformers, the real Transformers game everybody wants.
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 07.09.09