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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen _the video game_

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen –The game- is a rampaging romp-around movie tie-in game loosely based on the movie of the same name.

Continuing the formula for games based on film franchises, RoTF is a linear story played out across an open world Sandbox environment, where players have to accomplish a series of stale tasks while playing as a character out of the film. Crippled by stringent time limits for the high point spreads, and limited to single characters when presented with the “selection” of characters to play as, the game takes some getting used to in order to get into it. However once players have the freedom to choose which characters and levels to play, the game really opens up.

Based off of the conventional plot of the movie, RoTF the Game gives players the choice of playing as either the Autobots or Decepticons in two unique, polar opposite campaigns. The game still comes to the same face ripping ending as the film, but replacing Optimus Prime with Megatron for the final battle. Both sides take on missions set in the different locales in which the film takes place, spanning from the film’s beginning in Chine to its conclusion in Egypt. Rather than just playing through the movie, the missions are loosely adapted from the basic outline of the film without spoiling the entire experience. In fact most of the missions are designed to occupy time more than accomplish anything beyond the mission outline. The missions from the Autobot campaign vary between eliminating all enemy forces to escort missions where players have to relocate human survivors to an extraction point or protect a moving caravan of NEST vehicles until they reach the opposite end of the level. On the upswing, the Autobots are not penalized for flagrant destruction and collateral damage, but they do suffer from the tendency of being slowed down by too many objectives.

The Decepticon campaign is the complete opposite side of the coin from that of the Autobots with exception to the missions designed around destroying all enemies. In fact, the Decepticon campaign gives players the Grand Theft Auto inspired freedom from incrimination with its emphasis on chaos and rampant destruction. It plays through faster, with fewer important objectives for the player to worry about, and the sense of destruction keeps players amused. Where Autobot missions would have players protect a given objective, the Decepticon mission based on the same level would have the player destroy that same objective. After completing the main missions for each district, a secondary list of missions become available. These missions are really nothing more than excess to story related levels, acting as bonus rounds to the previous mission with the added action of fighting a boss level character or competing in time trials. Levels set later in the game are designed around the story of the film, placing Optimus against the Fallen, and Bumblebee acting as a substitute for the Twins to fight Devastator. As for the Decepticons, not much can be said about the game’s relation to the story with the exception to a few moments in the middle.

For players looking for an engaging story, there is some disappointment to be had. The story behind RoTF the Game is expunged through post-mission, round table pep-talks between their allegiance’s cast members. Due to certain glitches with the game’s audio-track (at time of review) these dialogue sessions have a tendency to be muted pantomime displays of the robots’ character models standing in a circle waving their arms at one another. Between the sometimes accolading “Atta boy” verbal pats on the back, little is said of the game’s plot with exception to where the game is taking the player next. This does more service to the game’s source material because it leaves a lot of room for the film to pick up the pieces. Remember this is a game based on a movie for a reason; go see the movie.

Unlike the first Transformers movie game, players have the option of choosing their character for each mission. Also the stringent time limits for completing missions has been removed in the all together, giving players the unprecedented freedom to actually play the game. There are limitations to first time players being forced to using single characters until they complete character specific challenges to “Unlock” the others. These character challenges are additional material for players to unlock bonus material such as character art, production illustrations and even video content such as episodes of the original Transformers (Generation One) television series. Character bonuses exist including alternate color schemes for characters like Starscream (G1 colors), LongHaul (G2 colors), and Ironhide (G1 colors).

Moving ahead, the Cast breaks down as such:

The Autobots:
Optimus Prime: Supreme leader, has both agility in robot mode and power
Ironhide: the heavy gunner, specializing in heavy weapons
Bumblebee: the speedster, quick in combat, fast in vehicle mode
Ratchet: the healer, can replenish health for both himself and allies
Breakaway: the Autobot’s only flyer for the majority of the game, long range sniper

The Decepticons:
Megatron: Absolute leader, has the advantage in weapon power
Starscream: the fast flyer, dreams of one day leading the Decepticons
Grindor: the heavyweight flyer, remold of Blackout
LongHaul: the armored ground support, with added firepower
Sideways: the fastest on the ground, long range specialist

The game’s voice cast does a respectful job for their characters. Veteran voices from the film (and much of the Transformers legacy) return; the great Peter Cullens providing his resonating Optimus Prime, Jess Harnell’s gritty Ironhide and Mark Ryan’s seasoned Bumblebee. Generation One fans will be especially pleased that Frank Welker makes his video-game return to voicing Megatron, who is voiced by Hugo “Agent Smith” Weaving in the film. Unfortunately for Welker’s following, his Megatron-voice has grown stale over the years, coming off as though he has a sore throat or sounding like he is too old. None the less, his raspy call of “DECEPTIONS ATTACK,” will still please the audio receptors of his fans. The list of voices continues with John “Bender” DiMaggio filling in much of the background characters, and some of the human cast members from the film. Megan Fox, as vivacious as she is, sounds very out of touch with the game for her role as Mikayla. The same can be said for Shia Lebouf, providing his voice for Sam Witwicky. Both appear during short cut scenes and missions relating to their parts of RoTF’s story. Blended into the game’s sandbox format in the Autobots campaign must be escorted to safety. Despite their roles, they come off as an annoyance but not from the missions themselves. For instance, Shia’s scripted dialogue flows from quick plot related background chatter into asinine criticism of the player’s performance. Fortunately there is some relief to this problem when playing as Decepticons. During missions to interrogate the puny human, he nervously begs for his life.

There are additional characters exclusive to the game’s multiplayer component named according to their allegiances’ special teams: Combaticon, Aerialbot, Protectobot, and Seeker. The fun part is these characters pay homage to their G1 namesakes, for instance Aerialbot is painted like Air Raid and Seeker is painted like Skywarp.

At the time of this review’s publication, additional characters for multiplayer will have been released as downloadable content for the major console editions of the game (Microsoft X-Box 360 and Sony Playstation 3) which include movie characters like Sideswipe, Jetfire, and Soundwave as well as Generation 1 (G1) models for Optimus, Megatron, and Starscream.

With the variety of characters to choose from, players can really gain a personal feel for each character and find their own niche. Flight capable characters have a different feel between each other, and the differences pay off depending on the mission.

Despite his short lived career, Sideways gives the Flight and Demolition dominant Decepticons a taste of speed as the only sports car in their ranks. On another hand, Megatron and Longhaul also fit into the category of ground based characters with their respective alternate modes; Longhaul’s being an Earthmover dump truck and Megatron’s new tank mode which almost resembles the Tumbler from the new Batman franchise. Although in the Decepticon campaign’s final level, Megatron is given a flight ready alternate mode which does not transform despite what he is capable of in the RoTF film. The same can be said for Optimus Prime, whose final level showcases him with his ‘Upgraded’ flight mode as well. Adding Breakaway to the Autobot ranks is a nice change of pace, granting flight to a predominately terrestrial based team. It is also a thoughtful gesture since Breakaway was another of the many bots cut from the final film that still received a generous Deluxe class toy. On the downside, Breakaway’s addition meant another character’s omission from the single player mode, negating the possibilities to play as characters that did appear in the film like side (ways) splitting Sideswipe, the elusive Jolt, or the ornery old Jetfire even though the old bot does appear for two missions for both the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns. The complete lack of the Twins Skids and Mudflap, on the other hand has its merits of not having to listen to them but the possibilities of them and the Arcee bikes continues to remove the variety of new cast members from the film. Without the new cast members to play with, the Autobot campaign in RoTF the Game feels like an extended tour for the characters out of the first movie.

The combat system of the game is the polar opposite of the film. Where the film showcased a visceral, aggressive nature of the Transformers fighting, the game instead relies on the static “Hold this button to go into shooting mode” and leaves players standing with arms extended and guns ready to fire. Each character has two different modes for their weapons, giving the player an optional arsenal between a primary and secondary weapon. Some weapons have the ability to charge up, while others are more concentrated single shot weapons. The biggest drawback to this is that certain characters are clearly underpowered and left at a clear disadvantage against particular enemies. Close quarters combat is included, but falls into the category of basic button mashing moves, tapping the same button in succession or holding it for a charged blow. In heated fights against bosses or large waves of enemies, melee combat is not always successful, and the game falls back on its gunplay. On the upside of melee combat are the Advanced Techniques derived from the game’s Vehicle to Robot action; triggered by holding certain buttons (the melee, jump, and the fourth button of the controller) after releasing the Vehicle mode trigger. These moves include the Advanced Melee which sends characters lunging from vehicle mode towards the closest enemy, Advanced Jump will propel them further through the air (or allow flying characters to hover in robot mode) and the Advanced “Ground Pound” will send a shockwave around the player to knock away or defeat large groups of enemies surrounding them.

Instead of making Vehicle mode and Robot mode two separate but equal functions in the game, players will start out each level in Robot mode and stay there unless pulling the Vehicle mode trigger (or bumper button on the PS3 controller). The downside is the vehicles are in a constant state of motion, only slowed down by gently releasing the trigger without letting go of it. Over the course of the game shifting between both modes takes some finesse and a stretch of open road in order to succeed. The last order of metal on metal action is the Special Move; abilities for characters to use that are exclusive to them (or their type). These abilities range from offensive such as Megatron’s Fusion Cannon and Ironhide’s (or Grindor’s) deployable drone to the defensive in the case of Optimus Prime’s shield and Ratchet’s (or Longhaul’s) healing ability.

Adding some complications into the mix, each mission has a series of bonus objectives and a medal ranking system for giving players a higher score in Energon, used in the game’s upgrade system. Completing each mission within certain time limits will reward players with either a Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal which improves their overall points score. If a time limit runs out, there is no medal reward, but the points from completing the level and the bonus objectives are still accounted for. The bonus objectives are rather hit or miss, or in some cases, more character driven than player, rendering their objectives unachievable if the player chooses to ignore playing as that character, or if the player is just complacent.

The upgrade system works towards the whole team, and gives players the freedom from having to single out characters to maximize. Leveling up works in the same sense as most RPG games, where a player is given a number of points to distribute to their team’s attributes such as health, melee damage, and weapon behavior (overheat/cool-down). These points, allocated in units of Energon, are collected for completing levels with additional bonuses for completing challenges hidden in each mission or defeating enemies. The challenges for each mission vary, and range from performing a particular advanced move or taking down enemies in a given fashion such as Headshots.

A good point for fans of competitive online gaming is that RoTF features an online multiplayer mode where players get to take on other players in head to head, Autobot Vs Decepticon clashes. The variety of game modes Online are similar to those of other online games like Halo or Gears of War adapted to Transformers in team based games and all out player versus player modes. On the upside, and following the same features as Valve’s Team Fortress 2, giving players the chance to select different characters during matches between rounds and respawns (where players come back from the dead).

The game modes are as followed:

“One Shall Stand” sets two teams against each other with the focus on defeating the other team’s leader. As such two players are set as Megatron and Optimus Prime, and the defeat of either result in a win for the opposing team. Their armies will respawn so long as one of them remains alive.

“Battle for the Shards” is based on the Capture the Flag games, where players must compete for collecting Allspark chunks by grabbing them and returning them to an area on the map designated as a capture point. With five shards to collect, and the ability for opposing teams to steal them from the other team’s home base makes this for a game with a prolonged playtime. After some trial and error, the game is won only through carrying shards back to the team’s score point in Robot mode. While carrying shards leaves players open for vehicular assaults by their opponents, the players are rewarded with extra power for their weapons, even replacing their specialty move with a super powered shockwave.

“Deathmatch” and “Team Deathmatch” are your average modes, popular with antisocial-social gamers where players can pick and choose characters to just fight it out with one another. The rules are simple; defeat as many enemies as you can in a time limit, and the player (or team) with the most points/kills wins.

Players can link up via their console’s online services: X-box Live or Playstation Network and through the local System Link (LAN party).

Overall, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen –the Game does a respectable job of giving players the chance to play as their favorite (or not so favorite) movie incarnated Robots in Disguise. Being another movie tie-in title, it leaves a lot to be desired as far as the narrative is concerned but its adaptable robot gameplay mechanic makes up for the missing words. After all, its intentions are to give players insight into the final film without giving away the movie’s plot entirely. Its place as a giant robot game is still far from the status of the next Armored Core and even further from being that head-turning game of the year in general. To its credit, ROTF the game was a fun little piece of digital fluff.

Transformers –Revenge of the Fallen- The Game
2009, Luxoflux (developer), Activision (publisher), Hasbro (liscence).
Reviewed on the Microsoft X-box 360 gaming console

Posted 16 September, 2009 - 19:03 by Gunpla Rob


2 comments posted
Wow- a very in-depth and

Wow- a very in-depth and un-biased review of a video game... when did we start doing this on CDX, again?


Yes, a good review.

I played the PC demo for the first movie's game (I never owned a console, QQ), and wasn't thrilled with some of the controls. Time limits and having to waste precious time on irrelevant secondary tasks are some of my least favorite things in a game. (Keeping in mind that I prefer RTSs...) While how you control the bots was fine, Bumblebee was damned-near impossible to keep control of in vehicle mode! I decided not to get it. As with movies, good effects & animations do not for a good game make.

But, after reading the above, I'm not so sure I want the newest one either. I tried to find the PC demo a few months ago, but couldn't find it on the official site. And, if they intentionally left out some of the characters like Sideswipe, the triplets, or never-gets-his-fair-share Jolt, then that's even more discouraging. RPGs may not be entirely my thing, but this one sounds like fail.
CollectionDX Staff

EVA_Unit_4A's picture
Posted by EVA_Unit_4A on 16 September, 2009 - 21:15
A Biased Review

I try to stress openness with my reviews, but I will say I'm biased in favor towards certain franchises (Halo, Crysis, Bioshock, Zone of the Enders, Bionic Commando '09).

Tune in next time!

The Gundam Model Guy

Gunpla Rob's picture
Posted by Gunpla Rob on 17 September, 2009 - 08:06