James Ireland On July - 24 - 2011

By now we all know that the majority of movie tie-in games are mostly laden with crappy over used game mechanics, lack of development time and a distinct lack of imagination which causes gamers to want to blow their brains out that they’ve just spent upwards of £35.00 on a brand new title. Hollywood has already given them the sandbox of possibilities yet the crunch period often ruins the results. High Moon Studios are back again but this time with Dark of the Moon. War for Cybertron was an admirable effort from the development studio but is their latest title?

The game’s basic premise is to go around killing decepticons within various locations of the world. Each level on the single player involves you using a different robot and with that you’ll have different abilities, whether that be grenade launchers, armor piercing rounds, laser projectiles etc etc. The most fun part though is transforming into your disguised machine, this can be anything from a jet aircraft, suped up hot rod car or for those that enjoy simulators a big rig. It’s the transforming element of the game that yields it’s funnest moments, even if the car handling is a little sketchy keeping the driving locked in to the right analogue stick. Bizarrely though it’s in the transformed mode where arguably you are at your most dangerous. The weaponry feels ridiculously powerful considering this is the method you are using to become mobile and agile against enemy fire. It is then that an element of strategy is taken away from the game when one was added from giving us this ability. High Moon should have left the most powerful tech to the auto-bot pose, the mightiest weaponry when you are least mobile, in a risk/reward style play. Unfortunately the only real strategical element you will get from the game on the single player at least is by hiding behind cover to avoid enemy fire. Easy is too easy and medium is actually on the difficult side at times when you factor in some of the random enemy spawning, especially in locked out arena areas. Whilst the game serves up some nice moments it’s all too linear and all too repeatative. It’s quite surprising when you factor in the different robots you get to play with but fighting wave after wave of decipticon for pretty much every level in the game, within locked out areas just becomes rather frustrating and when you throw in respawning after dying several times (due to totally bullshit enemy spawning), it’s enough to drive you crazy.

The game itself is pretty short, though it’ll feel like a lifetime with the repetition going on. Graphically the game is average and the sound passes you by with some poor robot dialogue and just the audiables of the reminicent iconic theme tune from the films filtering through throughout the game. None of the music actually adds to the atmosphere of the experience. If credit is due anywhere it’s with the games multiplayer and the single player FMV’s. These are nicely rendered and engage you enough to keep you playing and was for me the only thing that kept me playing the game past the second hour mark. The boss fights within Transformers aren’t anything special but they serve up a nice inter-change from defeating the decepticons the same way, one mission involved squashing a huge decipticon boss with the foundations of a building, nice.

So that’s the single player, what about the multiplayer? I was quite surprised by the multiplayer if I am honest. The lobbies are very similar to that of COD and the ability to veto certain maps for a movie tie-in game I thought was a nice added gesture. You can customise your character by it’s liveries and weaponry and as you raise up through the ranks, new abilities and upgrades will become available to you. There several robot classes which included the transformer vehicles of rigs, jet aicraft, cars and tanks. This helped spicen the gameplay up and each vehicle you use has an individual rank attached to it. These can be switched each re-spawn should you want too as well. The ability to transform adds a half decent layer of strategy, but kills do not feel satisfying at all. It’s the spongy bullet impact that once again detracts you from fully becoming involved in the multiplayer experience. You are at times left wondering how the hell you died, even though you had a round of bullets in your opponent prior to them actually killing you. The maps themselves are pretty decent, from high rise buildings, to mountain tops, each map will give you the opportunity to cover, perch and stealthily move around undetected. There are only three multiplayer modes but anymore than that and it would be difficult to get a game. Standard DM and TDM applies and Conquest also makes an appearance. I actually liked this multiplayer experience more than Section 8: Prejudice and that deserves some praise.

Overall you could tell that High Moon Studios were pushed for time. There was never any big enough moments in the game to feel like you were really kicking ass and the moments you did spend with over robots in the single player never felt utilised properly. Destroying wave after wave of enemies works for games like Earth Defence Force but in this environment more invention wouldn’t have gone a miss. Especially considering we are looking at a movie license which has unlimited scope to what it could achieve.

Review

ProsCons
Half decent multiplayer, nice cut scenes, you can transform into a car!repeatative gameplay, spongy bullets, too strong in transformed mode
Rating
60%

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