|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vicarious Visions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The game also has its share of glitches, though nothing that stops the story in its tracks. We often had issues completing missions where we were called upon to defeat all enemies, but enemies sometimes wouldn't show up on our radar. After a bit of poking and jumping around, we discovered enemies moving in a circular pattern well outside the fray. The programming for certain missions also seemed to be suspect. For example, one of the flying missions tasked us with defending a helicopter until Megatron could be revived, but before we could even get close to the copter to defend it, the enemy birds had taken her down. However, on another stab at that same mission, the enemy planes couldn't seem to care less about our helicopter and we breezed right through the level.
In spite of our many complaints about the game(s), we found it compelling to keep coming back for more. Finding new parts for your Transformer satisfied the collector in us, and accumulating "energon" (the game's form of currency) in order to raise stats was also incentive to make repeat runs through levels. There are relatively low caps on stats, however, and the cost to raise a stat even a smidge comes with a hefty price tag. Additionally, only a handful of missions come complete with checkpoints, whereas most other missions force you to start from scratch when you fail. It's a pretty unforgiving system considering the audience the games are likely aimed at.
In addition to single-player, there are a couple of multiplayer options that are actually pretty cool. For local wireless, there's a deathmatch (and team death match) game that offers five different levels to do battle in with your friends, and it's a neat, if not though limited, option. The main issue here is that you'll be using your built-up character from the single-player game, and it can give certain players an unfair advantage. The online component allows you access to new missions, and by completing them you'll earn experience and additional items. Your results are uploaded at the end of each mission, and worldwide stats can be monitored through a hub the game calls Battle for Earth. Battle for Earth is a neat feature because it allows you to contribute to the success of one side or the other depending upon which of the two SKUs you pick up and how well you do in a given mission.
On the production front, little has changed from the last set of games. The cityscapes look almost identical, as do the character models for the Transformers. It's a decent 3D engine, and the framerate handles itself quite well; however, the game lacks polish overall. It's still a fun novelty to be able to run through a virtual city on the tiny DS screens, but the areas are completely devoid of life aside from the small handful of enemies onscreen at any given time. Explosions are somewhat disappointing, as is the camera, which can make finding objective markers and enemies quite difficult at times.
The aural presentation is fairly impressive, though, in spite of the rather low fidelity. There's a good bit of voice work delivered by the actors from the film, and they do a great job of adding edge to the story. The sound effects are kind of generic, but the music sits nicely alongside the gameplay. The audio output overall, however, sounds a bit distorted coming through the DS' speakers due to constant peaking.
With Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Vicarious Visions has delivered a mostly competent set of games, though they're not necessarily something to be proud of. The missions are repetitive and frustrating, and other nagging issues can easily fill you with a desire to give up on the adventure. On the flipside, the RPG and collection elements are addictive, and the combat can often be quite satisfying. If you're a Transformers super fan, you could do worse. Just don't go into the game expecting greatness.
CCC Freelance Writer