ActivisionIt's not much fun being a Transformer. At least that's what you'll think as you play through "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," a boring and repetitive movie tie-in.
HATED IT: Repetitive and unimaginative gameplay, confusing controls, no enemy variety.
GRAB IT IF: You absolutely positively have to know the backstory for this weekend's movie . . . or you see it in the discount rack next month.
It's not much fun being a Transformer. At least that's what you'll think as you play through "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
Activision's movie tie-in game is as boring and repetitive as they come. Shame, too, because the story – a solid prequel setup for this weekend's anticipated blockbuster – is a good one. But tedious and confusing gameplay causes "Dark of the Moon" to sink into average game territory, and only a diehard fan of the explosions-and-nothing-else movies will love this effort.
Give developer High Moon Studios credit for trying to make gameplay interesting; you just wish they got it right. You play as Optimus Prime and a handful of other Autobots, then also play as the Decepticons, too. Can you say "marketing ploy"? Because that's what this feels like, never letting you get close to the story but tossing lots of nice character models at you. (Yes, the character models look solid, so "Dark of the Moon" has that going for it).
Each Transformer can convert into three modes – robot, vehicle and the new StealthForce mode – and this is another place where "Dark of the Moon" runs into trouble. High Moon struggles to find adequate control schemes for each mode, and in its attempt to make the change from vehicle to StealthForce fluid, it does makes things painfully unintuitive.
You know how your average racing game lets you accelerate with the right trigger and break with the left, while steering with that classic left stick? Makes sense, right? Not in "Dark of the Moon." Here, you'll steer with the right stick, accelerate with the left trigger and fire weapons with the right trigger. Sound confusing? Wait til you play it.
Robot mode isn't nearly as complicated, playing out in classic third-person shooter form, but that only serves to make the incredibly boring levels that much more boring. Really, it’s so much more interesting to fight the StealthForce and vehicle controls as you try – yes, try – to zoom past enemies and whirl about to shoot them with your cannon. Taking them down in robot mode is like downing targets in a shooting gallery.
All these things hold "Dark of the Moon" back and overshadow a handful of good things. Led by Peter Cullen's Optimus, voice acting is spot on, and there's plenty of voice acting in here, too. The story's fantastic, too, priming you for the upcoming movie even as the gameplay causes you to sleep and nearly throw your controller.Read more: