Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review for PS3

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In Transformers: Dark of the Moon players will fight in epic battles on Earth that will shape the events of the upcoming film.

Review Verdict Read Review
5Out of 10
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Transformers: Dark of the Moon screenshot
Transformers: Dark of the Moon screenshot

The life of a developer in charge of a movie tie-in is fraught with peril, and up on the chopping block today is High Moon Studios. It's had less than a year to make an entire game based on that Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie they've got coming out - you know, that franchise from the cartoon with the toys doing all that robot stuff - which obviously is quite stressful in itself. I think we must all expect that some corners are going to be cut somewhere, but I empathise with how difficult a job it must be for the poor guys.

Despite all this, I really must ask: who in their right mind decides to map steering controls of the Transformers' vehicle forms to the right analogue stick?

Every video game in the history of time has you steer cars with the left stick. We've all learnt it. It's innate. Obviously High Moon Studios got their cars mixed up with the control scheme of Halo, but you're not actually steering the car in Bungie's classic series - it automatically moves to where you're pointing the reticule. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, however, you are steering cars with the right stick. It's all wrong, wrong, wrong.

You can ignore the bigger changes from last year's unexpectedly well-received Transformers: War for Cyberton, such as the complete lack of campaign co-op or the new stealth force transformations, because it's the little things - like those wonky steering controls - that are more indicative of Dark of the Moon's hurried release and flawed existence. It's a lot of flaws, some more significant than others, adding together to create the unlikable whole.

The first thing that needs to take a deserved battering is the campaign length, which weighs in at a measly four hours. It's a linear string of seven levels, with you knocking down stages as Bumblebee, Ironhide, Mirage, Soundwave, Starscream, Megatron, and (the one you've all been waiting for) Optimus Prime.

On paper the idea is that each character brings a unique flavour and personality to the proceedings. Ironhide, for instance, is a lumbering brute - and one of the rare examples of a Transformer that actually has more guns on his chassis than product placement. This emphasis on individuality doesn't really work in practice, however, as most characters only use minor variants of the exact same rifle-and-machine-gun combination.

Most of the game is explicitly familiar territory, alternating between long-distance outside shooting galleries to funnelling you down tight indoor corridors. It's all remarkably commonplace stuff, and with so many other, better options available in 2011, there's not nearly enough creativity in Dark of the Moon's corridors to lift the core of the game beyond the mundane.

It certainly doesn't help that the game features its own scoring system based upon incrementing a multiplier with melee attacks, thus ensuring the entire game plays out in the same way regardless of individual flair: Knock a few characters down with powerful melee attacks to boost the multiplier before blasting away at anything else in the vicinity. It doesn't matter if you're cruising around as Bumblebee or hoofing it as Megatron, the whole game is a rinse-and-repeat exercise with different character models.

The rushed choice of aesthetic - a city, a jungle, an underground complex - lacks the otherworldly intrigue of War for Cybertron's twisting metallic constructions, replacing the former's varied colour palette with a dull, endless procession of mottled browns and uninspiring greys. Ammo is infinite and there's no choice of weapon or loadout, and tactics don't get any more complex than choosing when to optimally reload. You simply plough forward jamming away on the triggers.

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9 Comments

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User Comments

aansystone's Avatar

aansystone

it was not as much efficient as the movie shows, however i' still looking for its ENHANCED version.
Posted 13:14 on 07 August 2011
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ 87Sarah

And yeah, Batman:AA is amazing!
Posted 17:15 on 28 June 2011
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ IndoorHeroes

Exactly, sounds like you can tell that they've been forced into pumping out something I doubt they're happy with. Real shame.
Posted 17:14 on 28 June 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah@ Chaza_snake

Apparently Batman is a must play...
Posted 16:25 on 28 June 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

They seem to have missed the word 'side' from the title :(
Posted 16:15 on 28 June 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

I was so hoping that this would be as good as War For Cybertron. What a disappointment.
Posted 16:11 on 28 June 2011
Chaza_snake's Avatar

Chaza_snake

sounds pretty bad, rise of the fallen wasnt too bad(tho it was a long shot from a AAA title), but then again wen are movie games ever realy great :/
Posted 16:08 on 28 June 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

disappointing. I shall not be picking this up.
Posted 15:32 on 28 June 2011
IndoorHeroes's Avatar

IndoorHeroes

In the context of War For Cybetron, which shows what High Moon are capable of with the license, it's a profound shame to see them forced into a 12 month development cycle. I really hope they're given the chance to try another Transformers game without such constraints, I'm sure it would shine.
Posted 14:54 on 28 June 2011

Game Stats

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
5
Out of 10
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Robots in disguise
  • Who puts steering on the right stick?
  • Lacking multiplayer
  • Short campaign
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 24/06/2011
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , 3DS , Wii , DS
Developer: High Moon Studios Inc.
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 3,145 31
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