Gamers! Transform and roll out!
When I first heard that respected Transformers: War for Cybertron developer High Moon Studios was slated for the Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie adaptation, the franchise seemed to be in very capable hands. But could they pull out another winner now that they were confined to Michael Bay’s movie universe? Sort of.
In many ways, fans of the Robots in Disguise can certainly be proud of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. They’ll meet and play as a whole slew of Transformers that haven’t been seen in the films yet—like Mirage (no pun intended)—or barely featured ones, like Soundwave, who’s been up on a satellite until now. Not to mention, of course, returning fan favorites like Bumblebee, Starscream, Megatron, and Optimus Prime.
Along with these major playable characters, a third transformation mode debuts in Dark of the Moon: Stealth Force. This allows the Transformers to half-transform into their vehicle modes but still keep their weapons out for strafing purposes. And speaking of weapons, characters all employ special-weapon abilities like Megatron’s Energon Drain or Ironhide’s Grenade Blossom. Dark of the Moon also features a great multiplayer mode, similar to that seen in War for Cybertron, with a slew of real-world maps and tremendous customization features for four classes.
Unfortunately, as good as all that sounds, Dark of the Moon does have a few issues that might make it less enjoyable for those unfamiliar with the franchise. The gameplay’s very linear, and some options that kept War for Cybertron interesting are MIA—including the ability to choose which Transformer to use before each mission. And unlike previous Transformers games, Dark of the Moon offers just one campaign instead of separate Autobot and Decepticon missions.
This interwoven story between the factions allows for just seven missions and only seven Transformers to control (four Autobots, three Decepticons). This means that any gamer familiar with third-person shooters should blow through the entire campaign easily in less than 10 hours.
As good as this game looks and sounds when you step into the driver’s seat, the simple, linear, short campaign and a lack of single-player replayability definitely hold Dark of the Moon back from appealing to anyone beyond die-hard Transformers devotees.
SUMMARY: Transformers: Dark of the Moon is something all Transformers fans should play, but others should look elsewhere for their third-person shooter fix.
- THE GOOD: Great third-person shooter action that stays true to the Transformers brand
- THE BAD: Most gamers should complete the campaign in 5 to7 hours
- THE UGLY: Many options from War for Cybertron are gone, leaving a very linear experience