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Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Decepticons Package Art
Vicarious Visions

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Decepticons

The review for Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Decepticons has been written thousands of times already. Take a look back at all of the games based on big summer blockbusters this year and one is likely to see mediocre-to-bad scores across the board, with a couple of gems occasionally shining out enough to warrant a purchase. Transformers is not one of those gems, but it still manages to avoid abject failure.

One good thing that can be said about Decepticons is that the developers did not just re-hash the games released for the last movie. This time around, Vicarious Visions has dropped the open world design of the previous game and has replaced it with smaller, more well-contained levels spread out across a world map. The primary objective of the game is to complete each level as the Decepticons conquer one continent after another in a campaign that intertwines with events from the movie. Each region plays host to a few levels that open up additional challenges once they are defeated; then, with those objectives out of the way, a new level opens that will grant control over the continent to the Decepticons and the next area will open up.

The levels themselves are generally just as straightforward as the overall structure of the game and consist of little more than blowing up Autobots and scanning various items, some of which unlock new weaponry. Most of the action is rather typical third person action: the player is set on a linear path and any enemy in your way can be pummeled to death or shot up with the help of an inconsistent lock-on mechanism which doesn’t function with the fluidity most gamers expect in a modern title. Most of the combat ultimately boils down to circle strafing around enemies while shooting until they explode. Another disappointing aspect of the action is how useless transforming turned out to be; it is useful for covering ground in some of the larger levels but serves little other purpose. Some variety is had in the challenge missions, which includes races, but most fall back on the tried and true formula of blowing stuff up, while the racing levels feel out of place as the driving controls have no real feeling of physics. There are also levels that allow the player to take to the sky as Starscream, but they are far too simple and uninspired thanks to the fact that they take place on a 2D plane and offer little challenge.

As disappointing as the core gameplay is, Transformers has one major hook. While the flight levels and bonus missions allow gamers to play as major Decepticons, most of the game is played as a newcomer to Earth who can be shaped by the player. First the gamer gets to choose whether their transformer will take the form of a light, medium, or heavy vehicle, with each offering varying agility and armor, and then the player is free to customize their robot's stats and weapons. Defeating enemies and completing levels earns the character energon, which can be spent on upgrading things like health, weapon damage, melee damage, and durability while scanning certain objects in levels unlocks new weapons like more powerful rockets and faster firing machine guns. Some gamers could really get a kick out of powering up their transformer.

In terms of multiplayer, this entry in the series expands on some of the more interesting ideas introduced in its prequel. While a rather standard local multi-card fragfest is included, the real draw of the game is the Battle for Earth mode, an indirect multiplayer competition that pits owners of Decepticons against owners of Autobots. Everyday a new set of challenges are loaded up onto the games’ central servers that can be downloaded via Wi-Fi Connection and played repeatedly to get the best score possible. Performing well in the myriad of challenges nets the player energon for their robot and points that go toward their online rank. Independent scores for the challenges are tallied up and the ultimate victor gains control of the area the challenge took place in. The objective is for one faction to take control of the entire globe and claim ultimate victory.

For better or worse, the presentation feels just as mixed as the rest of the game. While Vicarious Visions has once again put its solid 3D engine to good use in portraying the individual characters, the environments feel surprisingly dull and do a poor job in representing the globetrotting nature of the game. The audio design is no different, offering up plenty of voiced dialogue with accurate, albeit rather annoying, digitized speech from the movies, but the static images of characters’ faces shown along with it does little to add any cinematic flair. The music is also terribly generic and features the usual mix of uninspired guitar riffs and bland techno beats.

Looking at the entire package, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Decepticons offers a par performance. The core gameplay is rather uninspired but works well enough, the visuals and audio are both mixed bags, and the campaign is a decent enough length but never really offers a great sense of accomplishment. Transformers would be the poster boy for mediocrity if it weren’t for its two noteworthy features, the character customization and the Battle for Earth mode, both of which can have a rather addictive appeal. However, while the positives are enough to make this movie tie-in stand out amongst its peers, the DS library as a whole has plenty of other games that are far more deserving of gamers’ money.

final score 6.5/10

Staff Avatar Andy Hoover
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"There's SAND on my boots!"

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