Transformers: Dark of the Moon (XBox 360) Video Game Review

Transformers: Dark of the Moon video game surprised me, given I have played Transformers games in the past.  However, this video game exceeded my expectations in single-player but somewhat disappointing in multi-player.  This video game explains the events leading to the third of the Transformers movie trilogy by Michael Bay scheduled to be released later on June 29, 2011.  In single-player, the Autobots discover a plot to unleash Shockwave, the deadly Decepticon assassin, by Megatron and his cohorts.  In the story, as well, Megatron takes on a new vehicle form that will be in the third movie as well.  Upon learning his new vehicle mode, it is quite ironic and unexpected, given his rivalry with Optimus Prime  and that he was a tank in Generation 2 and in the previous film Revenge of the Fallen.

Now to the review:

Gameplay (Out of 10)

Well, the single-player plot is pretty simple, as described above.  There aren’t any twists or depth of say, Bioshock or anything similar.  In generally all chapters of the video game, the player moves from one place to another obliterating every enemy that stands in the way. Most of the enemies are fairly generic, aside from the occasional rocket launchers and juggernauts. However, some of the major bosses and later levels require some use of tactics and wise use of cover.  Some of the boss fights are pretty epic though in light of this video game.  Most notably, the boss fight against Stratosphere and Shockwave.  The use of Stealth Force is quite necessary, as it serves as an intermediate form between vehicle and Transformer.  The handling of the Transfomers, whether in vehicle, Tranformer or Stealth Force mode, was extremely easy, but in vehicle mode, most vehicles, including the fighter planes, handle very loosely.  The weapon handling were sufficiently different although I wished there was more use of rumble to differentiate the weapons.  Overall, the controls are extremely intuitive, and it is a 8.5 out of 10 for me.

Graphics (Out of 10)

The game uses a modified Unreal 3 engine so the graphics are usually pretty spectacular.  The only visible flaw of the Unreal engine is while most things are destructible, some things are not.  Unreal 3 engine, while amazing, still pales in comparison to Battlefield’s Frostbite engine.  However, when playing the Decepticon Starscream, the view of the skies above while fighting Stratosphere and his fellow Autobot fighters is quite amazing. Another major flaw is that sometimes the game loads while still in the chapter. This may be the flaw of the graphics engine or perhaps the game itself.  In light of this, however, the graphics are pretty amazing and deserve a 8.5 out 10.

Sound (Out of 10)

The sound effects of the Transformers changing is generally fairly good, although it is not consistent.  The weapons sound like generic weapons.  The explosions, however, like Michael Bay’s Transformer films, do sound better than both of the previous.  The sound effects deserve a 9 out 10.

Single-Player Experience

As a single-player experience, the campaign lasts no more than 5 to 6 hours on the first playthrough.  This is expected as a single-player experience for this kind of game.

Multi-Player Experience

Although the multi-player is fairly balanced, it is not quite as populated as say, Call of Duty or Battlefield.  The tactical experience is often given away to run-and-gun, much like Call of Duty.  There are three modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Conquest.  Conquest is my particular favorite, as it reminds me more of Team Fortress 2 somewhat.  Two downsides of the multi-player creator are the limited chassis and color schemes should you wish to create your own Autobot or Decepticon.  The limited chassis availability was disappointing to me as I wished to create Rodimus Prime.  However, the multi-player creator wouldn’t allow me to design such a model.  In multi-player, the player gradually acquires perks in-game and as one levels up.  This is reminscent of  the Call of Duty series, which is also published by Activision.  Lastly, I wished that this game had a Horde mode or something similar.  It would have been a nice addition.

Overall (Out of 10)

Overall, it is a solid 8.8 out of 10 for me.  The single-player experience was extremely enjoyable even for a short 6-hour romp, compared to Homefront’s short single-player experience.  However, the multi-player experience could use some work.