Having seen an early version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon I kind of had an idea what to expect, namely a whole load of new robots fighting in different environments. It certainly looked like a game which could bring something different to the series, but even back then I could tell that it was one for the fans.
Dark of the Moon brings a lot of new, but also has some of the old too. Therefore you can still shift between vehicle and robot form wherever and whenever you like, playing to the strength of the robot you control. As always transforming is very seamless, meaning you can switch between forms both quickly and smoothly without upsetting the flow of the game, which is essential really because the action seems to come thick and fast in this latest title.
One of the main new features in Dark of the Moon is Stealth Force. This ability sees each character partially transform from their vehicle form. This allows you to use weapons while in vehicle mode, which is particularly handy when you are trying to dodge an oncoming barrage of bullets. What this means is that you are never far from your weapons, with transforming both fully and partially being a very easy task.
The main problem with Stealth Force is that it seems to make you tougher to kill than being in robot form, while this form also sees you with unlimited ammo, unlike in robot form where you have to keep reloading. What this means is that there is no real point going into robot form because, for one you are more vulnerable, and secondly you can get around faster and kick more butt when playing as the vehicle and using your Stealth Force mode at the same time.
There are certainly some interesting moments within the game which sees you wander through various environments, such as destroyed cities, lush jungles and even taking to the skies in order to take down the enemy. One theme that does run throughout this game though is the difficulty – it isn’t so easy. This is probably due to the lack of cover and enclosed spaces, so once you find yourself in an area packed with enemy robots you will find it hard not to get yourself killed on at least more than one occasion. This can be a frustrating experience and I’m not really sure why more cover has not been implemented into the game, though perhaps the developers just never had the time.
Quite a few new characters are introduced in Dark of the Moon, such as Soundwave, who uses sound-waves and weapons such as a sonic canon and assault rifle to blow away enemies; Starscream, who flies through the sky, transforming between a jet and a large gravity defying robot and there is also a smaller minion character named Lazer Beak, a small robotic vulture which can stun enemies and also be used to solve puzzles. The variety of characters is something which certainly goes for this game and helps in some small way to make up for some of the flaws.
On the presentation side Transformers Dark of the Moon is certainly not a bad looking game with plenty of contrast between the dull destroyed cities and lush green jungles on show. Even when you take to the skies the graphical performance seems to hold up pretty well, giving some impressive results. There are some moment when you will see some uninspired design where it just feels lacking in colour or imagination, but you can’t have everything I suppose.
Away from the single player campaign, High Moon Studios has had a tinker with the online side, taking away the three player co-op and Escalation modes and replacing them with an all new multiplayer mode. This sees you use the skills you have learned from the single player game to take down real life online enemies in matches such as Death Match, using your very own customised robot. It’s certainly different from most multiplayer modes just because you can either speed around in car form or transform into a big kick ass robot, and from what we have played people seem to be embracing the new features.
Dark of the Moon is a movie tie-in, therefore some areas of the game feel almost like they have been rushed in order to meet release. This is certainly not a bad game, far from it, however there are a few areas in which it could have been improved before its release to the general public. Overall though, fans of Transformers will be pleased with Dark of the Moon thanks to its choice of characters and fast paced action.
Rating: Good Review policy
You can order Transformers Dark of the Moon from Shopto on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and 3DS.