Transformers: War for Cybertron wasn’t perfect, but to date, it’s the best Transformers video game tie-in that fans have. So it’s a complete mystery to me as to why the next entry in the series should go back to the pile of horrendous budget titles when there’s so much potential here. Oh wait, no it’s not. Transformers: Dark of the Moon in theaters means a video game companion is absolutely necessary at any cost, sacrificing graphics, plot, and most importantly, quality. Which is really strange given the developer is once again High Moon Studios, and the requisite videogame version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon is certain a blah experience…and doesn’t do much to disguise this, if you’ll pardon the pun.
At first, Dark of the Moon slightly resembles the more polished and cohesive War for Cybertron, with the ability to transform into vehicle form and back to full bot form at will, serving up some decent bits of action in the-sized campaign. While you’d assume cruising around in robot form should be a boon to health and bonuses, it’s a complete opposite. Not even fifteen minutes into the game the difficulty ramps up considerably, revealing a most peculiar alteration from War for Cybertron to their tie-in: cars are apparently more powerful than alien robots with advanced technology.
Referred to as “Stealth Force” mode, it’s often prudent to zoom past your enemies and attempt to stand against the oncoming horde of identical baddies over and over rather than brave the masses as your Transformer’s original form. However, vehicular control is clumsy and odd, feeling a bit too slippery to control. It is, still, much quicker than stomping around as a robot, and trouncing around from point A to point B can be achieved much more efficiently as your Bumblebee Camaro, or whomever you happen to be playing as.
Because it simply makes more sense to stay in your cramped vehicular form, that makes an already painfully short (five hours at best) campaign even shorter. Unless you think it better to rely on your robot artillery, which is limited to the munitions your character is equipped with – you cannot pick and choose weapons along the way. Again, it seems War for Cybertron spoiled us with such augments. Unfortunately, multiplayer is just as lackluster, removing most of what made War for Cybertron such a blast; playing with a co-op partner, for one.
While I’ve yet to experience the film its based on, but if it has anything to do with the entirely forgettable plot and dialogue showcased in the videogame version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I feel all the better for missing out. Similarly dull environments, objectives, and cut scenes make this mediocre slog one that certainly isn’t worth its full-featured price tag, and barely worth a curious rental at that. It’s unfortunate that in this day and age we’re still putting up with passable tie-ins, but as the Transformers movies apparently degrade in quality, I suppose the sentiment will be mirrored in-game as well. It’s probably best to save your cash and pick up a used copy of its decent predecessor, Transformers: War for Cybertron, lest your passion for Hasbro’s franchise transform into something less.
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