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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

 

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Action Games
 
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Author:

Developer – Luxoflux
Publisher - Activision

Features

Players: 1
Online Multiplayer: 2-8
72 KB to Save Game
HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p

Movie based games have always had the reputation of being ‘stinkers’. Incomplete, rushed and full of glitches are words often used to describe even some of the most promising movie based titles. So when Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for the Xbox 360 arrived at my home office I kept my expectations in check as I typically do with these types of games. Add to this that I played the previous Transformers game on the Xbox 360 which was well, let’s just say disappointing. While the sequel is an improvement over the last game, Revenge of the Fallen for the Xbox 360 should be taken for what it is, another movie based game.

Graphics

As far as the visuals are concerned, Revenge of the Fallen is hit and miss. On one hand I was somewhat taken back by how good the Transformers themselves looked. The overall detail of the Autobot and Decepticon characters is very sharp and they are certainly comparable to their on-screen counterparts as they are easily recognizable for fans of the franchise. At a quick glance you can tell developers spent a significant amount of time perfecting their look. The enemy AI bots are also very detailed exceeding my expectations. The actual transformation from vehicles to robot is also very slick and looks great on an HD display. The in-game cut scene sequences are also visually appealing and certainly add to the overall look of the game. But with this good comes the bad.

For starters, some of the environments lack a significant amount of detail and polish. Shanghai for instance is blurry, muddy and full of clipping issues. It is really not a visually appealing city environment whatsoever. I was actually surprised by the lack of detail and it left me with the impression the city could have looked much better. Considering its one of the first areas you play in the single player campaign, you would think the developers would want to leave us with a positive first impression. Additionally, the lack of presentation is an issue as well. Yes you get some brief in-game animated cut-scenes; however we do not see any in-between level cut-scenes. Instead we get a discussion amongst the Transformers who are all standing around a giant globe as they chat away about the previous mission and their next objective. It is lame and I found myself tuning them out. Some of the scrolling text you see in-between missions also cheapens the experience, not to mention it gives the game a last-generation feel. Overall, I just feel some more could have been done in terms of the presentation of the game. It makes me wonder if Micheal Bay could have spiced the presentation up a bit. Even if clips of the movie were thrown into the mix, at the very least that would draw us in much more and would have put more meaning behind the missions….oh well.

There is no shortage of destruction and mayhem in this game. The explosions during battle are all fairly decent, although it can be a little too hectic at times and as a result I did experience some slowdown now and then. This was evident during times when I was fighting a boss along with his minions; the game started to suffer from some serious framerate issues. It is very noticeable at times and did take a little away from the gameplay.

Sound

Overall, the audio in Revenge of the Fallen is decent but certainly not mind blowing. Massive explosions and Transformers running amok through the games various levels all sound very good as do the weapon sounds. That being said, everything does seem to remind me of the sounds heard in many previous mech type games before it. The music in the game suffers a bit too. The Motion Picture soundtrack is great, but unfortunately the soundtrack from the big screen movie does not carry over into the game as there are no noticeable rock or pop tunes. I was sadly disappointed that none of the film’s musical artists were to be heard in the game. I guess this is to be expected though as one could only imagine the costs involved, however at the end of the day the music comes across as bland and forgettable.

The character voices on the other hand, are well done and it is certainly appreciated when developers get the big screen actors to do the voices. Shia LaBeouf (Sam) and Megan Fox (Mikaela) lend their voices for the game. Also, the original voices from the 80’s animated series, Frank Welker and Peter Cullen, deliver as the voices of Megatron and Optimus Prime. All the voice actors do a fine job and add to not only gameplay experience, but the authenticity of the game the movie is based on.

Gameplay

In Revenge of the Fallen the battle for Earth has ended but the battle for the universe has just begun. After returning to Cybertron, Starscream assumes command of the Decepticons and has decided to return to Earth with force. The Autobots, believing that peace was possible, discovers that Megatron's dead body has been stolen from the US Military by Skorpinox and he revives him using his own spark. Megatron is now back seeking revenge with Starscream and more Decepticon reinforcements on the way. The Autobots, with reinforcements of their own, may have more to deal with then meets the eye. Bottomline, it is a classic tale of good versus evil and picks up where the last one left off. For the most part the game roughly follows the movies storyline; however the developers did change some things with additional missions and objectives scattered throughout the single player experience.

When you first give the single player experience a spin, you have two sides to choose from. You can either choose the Autobot or the Decepticon campaign. This is nothing new to the franchise as the sequel follows the footsteps of the previous game and is certainly a nice twist from your traditional single player experience. As you play the game you will have a chance to play with all the various Transformers and the more you play the more you unlock.

As you start battling it out in the first level you will notice right off the hop a funky control design that can become problematic. When you break it all down, a lot of the issues with the game can really be attributed to the control layout. Where it becomes most problematic is transforming from robot to vehicle and vice versa. A simple button press would have been the ideal scenario but instead you have to hold the right trigger to switch. This is also the same button you fire with and the same button you accelerate with. I can’t count how many times I would accelerate, let off the trigger to slow down and transform back into robot form when I absolutely did not want to. It is frustrating to say the least and yet I cannot help but think a simple button press could have rectified this issue. Also, firing your weapon in robot form is accomplished with a different button than the one you use when firing from your vehicle. It really makes for a confusing experience and has you second guessing the controls for at least the first few hours of gameplay.

To its credit, Revenge of the Fallen does feature a plethora of moves, both regular and advanced. The game also has a pretty good tutorial mode which will give you all the tools you need to know to play with some success. This time around you can do a number of moves while changing from vehicle to robot which is very cool. For example, if you hold down the melee button while accelerating and then let go of the right trigger your character will perform a special Melee Attack. Hold down the B button and you will perform a Ground Pound. It may seem simple but it does take a bit to learn and does seem a bit ass-backwards. Again, I think that a simple button press to perform the various moves would have made much more sense in my view.

As I suggested above, Revenge of the Fallen is not short on action. Many of the missions involve clearing out an area filled with Decipticons or Autobots (depending on which side you wish to play as) and then repeat. There are some objective based missions but the majority of them involve destruction and carnage. It does get very repetitive but can be very enjoyable at times.

The AI enemies are not the smartest bunch, but they do offer up quite the challenge as you progress deeper into the game. That being said some of their battle tactics leave you scratching your head more often than not. Also, when your foes transform into vehicles all bets are off. The vehicle Transformers can be pesky as you try to focus in on them to take them out and whenever you get in close with one of them they are quick to drive away and make their escape. It really seems there is no rhyme or reason to the combat and often it becomes a test of your patience more than anything else.

The game does have upgrades and a reward system which gives it some replay value. For starters, in each mission you earn a medal. Unfortunately the problem is that getting a gold or platinum medal in some of the higher levels can be extremely taxing considering you are constantly chasing down the vehicle Transformer AI’s on a continuous basis. Likewise, the flying transformers can be a challenge as well as they swarm the skies and circle about like bees on a hot day. As I said it can be fun but also repetitive at the same time. Kills however earn you bonus points which are used to upgrade your various attributes. The upgrade system is nice, but I have to be honest I really did not notice much of difference when I increased the various attributes.

One of my other ‘beefs’ with the single player experience is the save system. Unfortunately if you die towards the end of the mission, or during a boss fight, you have to restart quite a ways back and in some instances at the beginning of the mission. This was very frustrating. Why the developers could not introduce more checkpoints is beyond me. Often I would get to near the end of a boss fight and I would die as a result of something stupid I did and I would have to then restart from the beginning. It is stuff like this that almost makes me want to turn off the game, especially when I have to repeatedly replay entire missions over and over.

The multiplayer component of the game is enjoyable and has some moments of great entertainment. Yet for the most part you can’t help but get the sense the online component was an after thought. I hate to say it but the online component is merely a poor mans Mech Assault. There is nothing original about the online gameplay as your standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch games are on the menu. Additionally there is a Capture the Flag-like game on their as well. I managed to find a couple of games online which ran rather smooth but I cannot see myself playing this one online for more than an evening or two. Sorry, it just was not that enjoyable.


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