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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Autobots

Score: 81%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1; 2 - 4 (Wi-Fi)
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

At first glance, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Autobots feels just like the Autobots version of the previous movie's DS title, but there are some slight adjustments made throughout that make the game both better and worse.

Like the previous movie tie-in, the amount of complexity the developers at Vicarious Visions were able to cram into the little DS is quite stunning. When thinking about most DS 3D games, I expect to see low-quality textures, blocky objects and a limited variety of models. While Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen isn't nearly as complex or nice looking as other systems, it still looks pretty damn good for the handheld.

The game's story also has an unexpected number of voiceovers (especially considering most DS games use text to convey their story), giving it a much more authentic feel. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's background music also gets the job done, but stays out of the way, while the sound effects seem to come straight from the classic cartoon series. All-in-all, the game's presentation is pretty solid.


Gameplay:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Autobots's story attempts to follow the movie's plot, and most of the major events are hit, but instead of taking on any of the main 'bots from the movie, you will once again control a new Autobot recruit who crashes on Earth. This means you have the benefit of choosing your new body to scan, which can be a fast but light character, a slow but powerful one or the vehicle that's balanced between them. This choice decides your base stats, and as you progress through the game, you scan items to unlock various replacement parts to customize your Autobot, augmenting those stats any way you want.

The game's story is split up into 25 missions, and each mission has a second Challenge Mode that you must complete before unlocking more missions. The missions themselves are straightforward, and typically only require you to run around and blow up the guys who are shooting at you. Occasionally, you will have to perform tasks like disabling bombs, but the missions themselves are fairly mindless. That's not to say they aren't hard; they can be quite challenging, but more on that later.

Revenge of the Fallen also allows for some Wi-Fi multiplayer action that lets your Autobot team up with other good guys and go up against Decepticons in a few different gameplay types, most notably being races. Your performance score is then uploaded to a worldwide leaderboard, which plays into a global metagame. At the end of the day, the leaderboards are tallied up and the faction with the better score for a particular game "wins" that quest's region.


Difficulty:

As I said above, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Autobots has quite a few difficult missions. The game starts off okay, providing ample times to complete the tasks necessary, but it isn't long before any timed event given to the player is only just enough to succeed. That seems to be the case at least if you try to be thorough and go looking for objects to scan. Since these objects are necessary to unlock new weapons and equipment for your character, it's definitely something you want to do as frequently as possible. At least the objects you've already scanned stay that way if/when you have to replay a mission, so you should have more time the next go around. But besides that, the Challenge Modes of each level end up ramping up the difficulty even more.

Challenge Missions, more times than not, put you up against wave after wave of enemy forces. While I expected these missions to be tough, I wasn't expecting them to be as hard as they were, and definitely not for a mission that was required in order to progress the story. I usually think of unlocked challenge modes like this to be optional replay-value-adding features, not required elements that seem to be there merely to extend gameplay time.


Game Mechanics:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Autobots's ability to let you upgrade your characters adds a good bit of gameplay quality to the package. Since there are quite a few parts scattered throughout the game's Story Mode, finding and selecting those upgrades add something for the collectors and completionists out there, but the upgrades themselves had noticeably different effects on your character (granted, the weapons are more noticeable than the other part-types, but that is to be expected). Thankfully, your character (and all of their attached parts) are what goes online with you in the multiplayer games, so your customization isn't limited to the singleplayer experience.

While Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has quite a few improvements over the previous movie's DS title, the extra difficulty is sure to turn off quite a few younger players. If you, or the child you are getting this game for, are quick to get frustrated, you might want to pass on this title. Otherwise, the Autobots version might be just the thing for Transformers fans on the go, unless you prefer the Decepticon side of things, of course. Then you might want to check out this game's evil-counterpart.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Sony PlayStation Portable What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord?! Sony PlayStation 3 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated