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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Decepticons

Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1; 2 - 4 (WiFi)
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Vicarious Visions' tie-in game for the first Transformers movie was an ambitious title that seemed to get in its own way. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Decepticons is a much more focused and refined game. Yet, for all of its improvements, it still manages to trip itself up.

The overall presentation is excellent. The visuals are a little muddy - particularly when the game attempts to show anything with a reasonable amount of detail -- but you can still tell what everything is and the frame rate is incredibly smooth. It's an impressive feat, particularly when you consider the system's not-so-hot 3D capabilities.

There's also a surprising amount of voicework found throughout the game as well as a few classic sounds from the cartoon.


With the exception of a few minor changes, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Decepticons plays almost identical to the first movie-based game. The Decepticon/ Autobot branding may seem like a Nintendo-like Red/ Blue branding, but both are entirely different games and allow you to follow your chosen faction through the movie and into battle online.

Every mission features a Story and Challenge mission. In Story missions, you play as a newly arrived Decepticon who is pulled into the faction's quest to recover a fragment of the Allspark. Once you complete three Story missions, the Challenge missions unlock. Here you'll usually play as one of the other Decepticons and complete missions like collecting Energon or fighting off waves of enemies. It's a cool system, but you're forced to complete Challenge missions. Challenge missions live up to their name and can stymie progress. It's an okay idea, but ultimately hurts progression. Challenge missions should be something extra, not something you have to complete.

Multiplayer challenges you to quest-based events and tracks your progress through a leaderboard. These include everything from races to missions where you need to hold off enemies for a specified time period. At the end of the day, the leaderboards are tallied up and the faction with the better score for a particular quest "wins" that quest's region. It's a really neat metagame, but it assumes that equal numbers of players will pick up each system. Currently, the Autobots are crushing the Decepticons, indicating that more Autobot copies are being sold.

Between missions, you can visit the Medical Bay. Here you can increase you base stats using Energon and equip items you uncover during missions. These include stat-boosting items like new parts and weapons. Your created character is persistent across single and multiplayer, so you'll want to uncover all the upgrade parts you can.


Both Story and Challenge missions are difficult. This was expected with Challenge missions, but not the Story missions. For whatever reason, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Decepticons has an unhealthy addiction to timed missions. Part of the fun of playing as a Transformer, particularly a Decepticon, is blowing stuff up. Adding a time limit detracts from the destructive enjoyment and adds a rushed feeling to the game. The time limit makes sense in some missions, but in others it seems like it was tossed in as a way to artificially up the difficulty.

Compared to the first game, Revenge of the Fallen scales back the number of enemies you encounter during missions. Enemies still respawn, but it is never as overwhelming as the first game. You can actually clear out enemies and complete goals. However, enemies are still a little tougher than they probably should be. Some will attack with an endless barrage of laser fire and it seems every missile is of the homing type. It's a cheap tactic. If I was frustrated by it, I can only imagine a younger player's reaction.

Game Mechanics:

The open world environments found in the first game have been dropped in favor of smaller, tighter levels. I liked the original layout, but the new levels make sense considering where Vicarious Visions is attempting to take the game design-wise. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is built on the same tech as the original game, but by reigning in the entire experience, Vicarious Visions manages to squeeze a few extra drops of detail off the engine. Level designs are a little more interesting and there's more chance for exploration.

Action is a little tighter thanks to the "closed in" environments. It's pretty clear that Vicarious Visions is trying to bring the cool parts of playing as a Transformer to the forefront of gameplay. Switching between modes is incredibly easy and there are legitimate gameplay reasons to quickly jump between modes. Combat is generally enjoyable, though targeting does present a few nagging issues. The targeting system doesn't always lock onto the best possible target. If enemies are clustered together, jumping to a new target isn't an issue. It is an issue, however, when you have to reorient the camera because the system decided to lock onto something behind you.

Players who can cope with Revenge of the Fallen's uneven difficulty spikes will find it is one of the DS's more enjoyable action games. However, the unhealthy infatuation with time limits may be enough to test even the more patient players.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Sony PlayStation 3 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Nintendo DS Flower, Sun, and Rain

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated