Game Review: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Review (Xbox 360)
Release: June 14, 2011
Genre: Third-Person Shooter/Action
Developer: High Moon Studios
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Nintendo 3DS/DS, iPad
Players: 1 (Campaign), up to 10 (Xbox Live Multiplayer)
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Transformers: Dark of the Moon has a lot to live up to. Released alongside the movie, and following up last year’s War for Cybertron, I had very high expectations for this game. I so thoroughly enjoyed the multiplayer gameplay in War for Cybertron, that when I first loaded up Dark of the Moon, I completely skipped the campaign and went straight into Live.
If you have seen any of the Transformers’ movies, you know what to expect: giant robots shooting big guns at each other and turning into a variety of vehicles. Multiplayer gives you the option of choosing from four different “classes” of robot, separated into Autobot or Decepticon depending on what side you are in the game:
- Scout (Bumblebee/Mirage or Enforcer),
- Hunter (Breakaway or Starscream),
- Commander (Optimus Prime/Ironhide or Megatron/Soundwave), and;
- Warrior (Warpath or Megatron Tank).
There are also two unlockable characters, Shockwave and Ratchet, that become available after you complete the campaign.
The Hunter class adds spice to multiplayer that is otherwise lacking. Most levels don’t have a ceiling, giving the Hunters in vehicle form an advantage. In every match, there are typically one or two jet fighters raining down missiles and cannon fire on the ground units. Fortunately, certain weapons have the ability to lock onto vehicles, so pesky jet fighters can’t stay in the sky forever.
The accuracy of the weapons is borderline pathetic. In the movie, most of the Transformers carry giant guns they can fire with amazing precision. In the game, you better be right in the enemy’s face before you even think about holding down the trigger. Attempting to fire in bursts does reduce the amount of reticule spread, but bots have so much durability that burst fire is not a feasible strategy.
The Hunter class comes with a sniper rifle of sorts, but that is next to useless. Almost every level is a maze of buildings/structures/walls that provide no sight lines or perches. In addition, the Commander/Warrior classes are heavily armored, and the ability to transform into a vehicle at will gives everyone a decent escape mechanism. Coupled with the complete lack of stopping power, you are better off staying as a jet and taking advantage of the lack of reloading.
That’s right, vehicles can fire an endless stream of bullets without downtime. Vehicles also have enhanced armor, so the only real reason to pop out of vehicle form is to use your special ability. The killstreak rewards are mostly useful, but the Orbital Beacon (shows enemy locations; think UAV) will really turn the tide of a match.
Perhaps you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the campaign much. Honestly, there isn’t much to talk about. It all feels very scripted: move to a location in the level, fight a bunch of baddies, rinse and repeat. The multiplayer mode captured my attention far better than the campaign, but I will probably complete the campaign in due time, if for no other reason than to unlock two more bots for multiplayer.
If you forced me to boil my feelings about Dark of the Moon down to one word, it would be “OK.” It’s not terrible or amazing in any capacity, but I would kick it out of bed for eating crackers. If you are looking for some variety in your multiplayer adventures, give Dark of the Moon a shot.
+ The voice of Optimus Prime is the same from the movie!
+ Each class has a customizable secondary weapon and perks
+ Multiplayer is easily the highlight of the game
– Campaign is linear and boring
– Sniping is non-existant
– Where the heck is Sentinel Prime?
Final Score: 6 out of 10