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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Score: 86%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Krome Studios
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Fighting/ Third Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

The same sense of visual wonder and invention present in the film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is obviously at work here in the Wii version of this licensed game. These are graphics you'd expect to see on a beefier platform, with a lack of clarity that is impossible with the Wii's smaller power plant. Even with limitations, you'll feel immersed in the action immediately as the game begins, through a series of cut-scenes that lead to your first moment really playing the game. This transition is impressively seamless, and the ensuing battles are engineered to make a cinematic moment out of every second of play. Say what you will about licensed games stifling creativity and new characters, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is just a lot of fun to play and watch. The battle animations are great, but you also get sequences with driving and flying action to break up what would otherwise be a fairly straightforward 3D brawling/action game.

Piled on top of an impressive amount of visual polish, you'll find great voice acting, music, and sound effects throughout Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The time that went into making everything reflect the spirit of the film and please fanboys world 'round shows. Playing the game fully means unlocking interactive models, art, and even full original episodes from the early days of Transformers on television. It's a pleasant change when one finds a game on the Wii that feels absolutely packed with special extras. Regardless of whether you loved the new movie, core fans need to pick up a copy of this game on their console of choice. The fact that the Wii version holds its own alongside the others says something about the maturity of the console and the skill of the developer.


Gameplay:

Rather than get fancy and try to do some kind of prequel or in-the-cracks storyline around the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen film, you'll find a pretty straightforward adaptation of the movie here. The backgrounds and key scenes from the film find their way into the game intact, and make for very good gaming. Some areas feel overly drawn out, where the impulse to make good gaming rode over the continuity and pacing of the film. Apart from a few draggy parts such as this, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on Wii is a very well-paced game. It feels like you are playing a summer blockbuster, which is exactly how it should feel. Rarely do games capture the coolest qualities of their film, book, or comic counterparts, so it becomes a moment to celebrate when this actually happens. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen brings gamers successfully into the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. And the best part? You get to sample the action from both sides...

The notion of playing both good and bad throughout a game is a bit new for us. Perhaps it's been done before, but we're hard pressed to think of notable examples. Usually you'll just blaze through a "good" campaign, or do good actions in the case of these new branching-path games that slant your character's development toward some good or bad alignment. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on Wii instead takes the approach of playing out both sides of the battle, and inserting you along the way in the form of a key player in the plot at that moment. The descent of Optimus Prime that begins the game is a type of flying level that bears little resemblance to the flying action of Starscream later in the game. Using the unique abilities of each character is all part of the fun, and when you finally get a chance to trigger your character's special attack sequence, it's jaw-drop time.

The objectives throughout each level are clearly stated, and you can blow through the single-player campaign quickly if you aren't concerned with collecting items. The co-op feature is the variety we see more and more, and that we absolutely love, where the second player can pop in at any time by pressing the (2) button on his Wii-mote. There aren't two robots on-screen during the campaign, just the first player's character plus a floating spy satellite. The benefit of this division-of-labor is that the second player can be focused on eliminating different enemies, or focused on taking down a boss. The two players can just talk it out. Playing the Co-op Arena Mode is a true competitive battle, kind of a survival mode. You won't find much online play here, but there's enough packed in that you may not miss it.


Difficulty:

The controls are fairly complicated, compared to other third-person fighting/shooting games. Especially considering there is no squad element built in here, you've got quite a few controls to figure out before you'll really dominate during levels. Checkpoints are very generous, making it a breeze to get through even difficult levels. The progress you've made up to the point you lose all your energy is saved, so waves of enemies only have to be demolished once. There are some challenging mind games in a few of the puzzles presented during the game. A creative approach that we've seen in other games is to give players a choice between actually solving mechanical logic puzzles or overriding them. The override choice may seem like taking the easy way out, until you find that pulling a stunt like this brings down extra guards. There's no stealth element at all to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for Wii, but you do like to get through enemies quickly since they aren't the final objective. Once another player gets into the single-player campaign, you'll find things much less challenging. There are still some issues that have to be overcome the old fashioned way, with quickness of eye and finger, but more that require that older-fashioned tradition of using your gray matter. The game does a nice job of presenting these 'bots with an incredible arsenal, but maintaining their limitations in terms of energy use and vulnerability to attacks from other robots. The puny human defenses never stand a chance, but we knew that all along, right?

Game Mechanics:

Revenge of the motion controls? Not really... We aren't huge fans of pegging lots of motion to a game, unless it happens to fit naturally with the game mechanics, as in Sports titles. The motion in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for Wii is geared toward simplicity. You'll use motion in two ways: The Wii-mote controls battle commands, while the Nunchuk controls movement. This setup makes a lot of sense and gives you the separation you need to cream enemies throughout the game. Dodging is accomplished with a flick of the wrist, on the side holding the Nunchuk. The physical attacks require a flick of the Wii-mote, where you can also charge and retreat. Stored energy is used during movement and attacks, and can be returned through pickups or defeated enemies. There are ways to replenish your energy at the expense of your charge, and your partner can give up his energy to renew yours. The transformation, apart from a few levels, is window dressing. It is controlled automatically according to the script, and manually during the sequence where Sideways is running from Bumblebee and the others. Mostly, there are sequences in robot form that have heavy focus on fighting and solving puzzles. The other "special" sequences involve Autobots or Decepticons engaged in special missions that require them to wear a particular form.

Strategy goes beyond our scope here, but suffice it to say that you'll get more than you expected in this game. Whether it is $50 worth depends on your zeal for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Fans of the first film will leap at the chance to play as their favorite 'bot, as will the younger kids watching Transformers on television because they aren't ready for the intensity of Transformers on the large screen. Everything in the game is accessible, if not a bit clunky because of some challenges inherent to the Wii. Not everyone out there is a huge fan of TransformersTransformersmovie before weighing in with their votes. Let us know how you voted...


-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Nintendo DS Flower, Sun, and Rain Sony PlayStation Portable Rock Band: Unplugged

 
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