Getting Ready to Drop Bombs!
As far as summer blockbusters go, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will be one of the biggest. Naturally, the film has been translated into distinct gaming experiences across every platform. On Tuesday, May 19th, at an Activision event in Las Vegas, I got a chance to play each and every version of the game. I’m happy to report that the Transformers IP has been lovingly recreated for each system, taking advantage of every console’s unique character. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (RotF) is bound to make an impact across every gaming demographic.
Daniel Suarez, executive producer of RotF, made it clear to all attending that the team at Activision and the various developers working on the games were well aware that the previous titles were not very well received. Rather than riding on the coattails of the film, Mr. Suarez assured us that RotF was going to encompass a truly compelling set of experiences across every system. After tooling around with the games, I’m willing to five that sentiment.
Kicking things off, we got to play in a couple multiplayer sessions on the Xbox 360. The multiplayer component for next-gen consoles isn’t merely a tacked-on feature set; it may actually be what sells the title to gamers outside of the Transformers core. Taking on both the Autobots and the Decepticons, we played in four on four Team Deathmatch and Control Points games. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to play any of the other modes, but these two options were more than sufficient to see just how much fun players are going to have with competitive multiplayer. Upon firing up the session, it became immediately apparent how important scale and tactical roles are. Because the bots are so massive, climbing up buildings is done effortlessly. This makes for three-dimensional, vertical play on all maps. Moreover, available characters on both sides of the fight can roll out on wheels or even take to the skies. This makes playing your role in RotF very important.
Players will be able to take on a host of different bots that play very distinctly. For the Autobots, a couple forms of Optimus Prime were available (sorry, we can’t discuss what that’s all about). Optimus is a leader character with a high rate of fire, strong melee attacks, and leadership boon power that helps him deflect oncoming damage and makes his close-combat even more devastating. Players also will have access to Bumblebee, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Breakaway. These are a mix of scout, melee fighter, medic, and flying sniper. Utilizing a nice mix of roles and working in conjunction proves to be very devastating, especially when going after the objectives in Control Points mode. Similarly, the Decepticons are also a devastating group of characters. Players can choose from Megatron, Starscream, Grindor, Long Haul, and Sideways. The Decepticons have a lot of aerial fighters, and Megatron is utterly destructive.
I really enjoyed the multiplayer experience. Climbing up buildings, transforming in an instant, and laying down the hurt is quite unique. Every bot is loaded with strengths and weaknesses that you can take advantage of on either side of the conflict. While the bot count is somewhat light, the developers have promised a load of unlockables and future DLC support.
After multiplayer, we moved on to test out the single-player story mode. This time around, players will take on mission-based levels as either the Autobots or Decepticons. Single-player action is punctuated by fast and furious gameplay accentuated by the garnering of medals. Players will be awarded with ratings depending upon how quickly they achieve the objectives. For instance, in one level I played I was an Autobot: Ratchet. I was tasked with healing and protecting Ironhide from a relentless stream of Decepticons. I finished this level in just under ten minutes and was rewarded with a Silver medal. The developer with whom I was playing let me know that a few of the testers could get the level finished in around two minutes.
How is that possible? Besides knowing all the spawn points, quality players will use character boons and special powers to their advantage. For example, taking out successive foes will fill an Overload meter. Once filled and activated, your Autobot or Decepticon will be much stronger in terms of both durability and offensive might. Needless to say, getting Overload kills was quite a treat – I can definitely see how a continuously optimized character could really cleanup.
In another scenario I was playing as a Decepticon, destroying buildings and collecting humans for experimentation. Every time I completed an objective I was awarded with Energon drops I could pick up for use in upgrading my characters. While I didn’t make use of the Energon during my hands-on time, the developers at Luxoflux made it clear that power-leveling and upgrading will be vital yet very user-friendly.
As one last treat, I was given a demo of one of the massive boss battles. If you’ve watched any network TV or gone to an action movie lately, chances are you’ve seen a preview for Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In the preview, a massive, sand-sucking Decepticon called Devastator is wreaking havoc upon the world and the Autobots. In RotF, you’ll get to take on this gigantic beast of a bot. In addition to mission-based levels, players will also be treated to larger-than-life, story-driven boss encounters.
As interesting as RotF is shaping up for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, I also got a chance to play around with the Wii/PS2 and DS versions. The Wii title is an entirely different game from that already mentioned. Players will use the Wii Remote’s IR Camera for a lot of fun shooting segments with very little if any motion control. We played two levels: one in a tunnel with Bumblebee and another taking out aircraft carriers with Starscream. From the looks of things, the Wii game controls very nicely and is a lot of fun – the sense of speed is nicely conveyed. However, the visual presentation simply can’t compare to the other home consoles – no newsflash there. While we didn’t get to play a PS2 version, we were told that it will be nearly identical to that of the Wii, as it will be a straight port.
Like last time, the DS will feature two SKUs – much like many Pokémon titles. Players will be able to pick up either SKU depending on whether they want to play as Autobots or Decepticons. What’s really neat about this idea is that it will allow for a lot of unlockables between SKUs as well as some awesome Wi-Fi features. Players can connect to servers via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and download daily missions. Completing these missions with a high score and then uploading them back to the servers will allow players to see which side of the conflict is winning. In other words, DS players will get a chance to play for Autobot/Decepticon bragging rights long after the single-player campaign is over. Winning territory for fellow SKU holders should be an intriguing feature. Also, whereas the last entries on the DS were open-world affairs that weren’t particularly cohesive, RotF for DS is much more streamlined and linear, which the developers at Vicarious Visions feel makes the game far more engaging.
Disappointingly, there weren’t enough available PSPs or time to get an extensive look at the PSP version. However, we do know that PSP players will get a top-down, arcade-like brawler featuring a number of Transformers not featured in any other version of the game.
All in all, it looks like the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video games are much improved over the first film’s tie-ins. In fact, the games seem to feature quality modes and gameplay that should set them apart from the film. We’re anxious to get a whole lot more time with the finished products before their release on June 23rd. Stay tuned to CheatCC for the complete lowdown in just a few weeks time.