HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Video Game Review: ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ Disappoints

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Based on the incredible box office returns, a lot of the people reading this have probably already seen Michael Bay’s divisive “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” It’s understandable that they may want to continue the adrenalin-pumping adventure at home with Activision’s latest game based on the legendary Hasbro toy line. Sadly, as much as the movie pops in 3D, the game is disappointingly flat. With unrefined controls, a boring story, and poor level design, the game will be frustrating for both fans of the movie and the surprisingly-strong last game in the series.

HollywoodChicago.com Video Game Rating: 2.0/5.0
Video Game Rating: 2.0/5.0

First things first — If you haven’t played 2010’s “Transformers: War For Cybertron” and consider yourself a fan of the franchise then you definitely should pick that title over this one. Last year’s movie-free game (there was no film to tie-in with) was a resounding success. When one adds in the fact that the third “Transformers” movie is undeniably an improvement over the second one, everything led one to hope that this year’s video game model would find the same level of success or even improve on it. Or at least come close. It doesn’t.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Photo credit: Activision

From minute one, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is just an awkwardly-executed gaming experience. When a player starts a new game, it can take some time to get accustomed to the control scheme but we’ve all had that sinking feeling that it’s not a matter of learning curve but poor design that’s simply not going to get better. Such is the case with “Dark of the Moon,” in which your character has two modes (of course) — robot and vehicle — but switching between them, employing the right weapon, and even driving successfully never feels organic. It’s a game in which you’re constantly struggling with not just the strategy required to defeat your enemies but the very mechanics of it.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Photo credit: Activision

Once the player becomes as accustomed to the controls as he’s going to be, “Dark of the Moon” is at least a bit of action escapism, right? Sort of. There are some battles that are fun but when you share a title with such an explosive movie as the Michael Bay CGI extravaganza, why not build off the actual plot? Why on Earth isn’t there a game in which I can battle as Chicago crumbles around me, as it does at the end of the movie? Why aren’t the human characters from the movie involved at all? Did Bay want too much money? The story of the game version of “Dark of the Moon” reportedly serves as something of a prequel to the movie but most players won’t make the connection. They’ll just wonder why they can’t play a direct version of the most video game-esque movie of the year.

At its core, “Dark of the Moon” does feel like a relative of “War For Cybertron” in that it blends shooter mechanics with a bit of vehicle play. The latter is one of the most frustrating elements of the gameplay. In vehicle mode, the player now has something called Stealth Force which creates a different type of combat but is just too difficult to manage. You’re also much stronger, have more ammunition, and can take more damage in vehicle mode (the opposite of “Cybertron”). Why would the developers of “Moon” make a driving-combat game when they should know that players want to be robots much more than they want to well-armed vehicles?

The level design is completely uninspired with mediocre graphics and some bizarre choices. Why make me drive so often from point A to point B? Why so many by-the-numbers combat arenas in which I merely have to dodge behind cover and fight off waves of generic enemies? “Cybertron” was a complicated game with a much-more-realized world and not just the typical movie tie-in structure of rooms with waves of enemies before you can move on.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” does feature a deep multiplayer mode but the problems I have with the single-player campaign are prevalent there as well with unrefined controls and awkward gameplay.

We didn’t quite know what we would get with the game version of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” — Another crappy movie tie-in or a sequel to the best “Transformers” game yet produced? We undeniably got the former. Hardcore fans will find some elements to enjoy as they always do with everything related to their favorite toys but everyone else will be frustrated and disappointed.

‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ was released by Activision and developed by High Moon Studios. It is rated T (Teen). The version reviewed was for the PS3, but the title is also available for the XBox 360, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii. It was released on June 14th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker