|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Krome Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Judging by the reviews, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is not a very good movie; but can it make a good Wii game? The history of third-party Wii titles, and of movie games in general, would seem to suggest not. Surprisingly, though, this game has a lot of charm, even if it gets repetitive and has more than its share of gameplay flaws.
This title aims to be the perfect game for young boys. As the story (similar to the movie's) plays out, you take the helm of various Autobots and Decepticons with some nice-looking attacks. It's a third-person action game (to us, moving around felt a little like it does in a LEGO game) that combines hand-to-hand combat with shooting and the occasional vehicle level. In other words, you control a huge robot that runs around punching and shooting everything in sight. It's pretty hard for a game like that to go completely wrong.
The most important thing to know about the controls is that more or less, they work. You move with the Nunchuk, jump with A, punch by waggling the Wii-mote vertically or horizontally, shoot with the pointer and B button, and use energy (for special attacks, refilling your health bar, etc.) with the D-pad. We found it pretty easy to switch between the game's beat-'em-up and shooter mechanics, and we were rarely frustrated by clunky controls.
That's not to say there's anything resembling precision here. Close-quarters combat is pretty much a matter of button-mashing (waggle-mashing?), which can get a little annoying when an enemy blocks most of your hits with a shield. Also, since the camera doesn't always face the same way your character does (the way it does in a first-person shooter, or in a third-person shooter like Gears of War), it can be tricky aiming with a reticule. Once in a while, you'll be able to put the cursor on something that your character can't see, and thus can't actually shoot at. Jumping is another mess; there isn't a lot of platforming here, but it's hard to control your leaps when you need to.
Working our way through the game's (very linear) levels, we were at first impressed by how much material there was. There are various environments filled with enemies, cutscenes galore, boss fights with quick-time events, driving and flying stages (the latter on rails), and even a puzzle mini-game that pops up when you need to unlock a door (using mirrors, you need to direct a laser to a green switch). Even in these early stages there's plenty of punching and shooting, but it seemed like a new diversion was always just around the corner. We hardly even noticed that, unlike in the next-generation version of the game (completely different from this Wii and PS2 version), you can't transform most of the time.
Unfortunately, after the first couple of hours, the sense of adventure wears off a little; since your main task is to destroy enemies, you end up just facing room after room of them. Sometimes you fight multiple waves of enemies in the same place, and in one stretch of the game, you're pretty much winding your way through the same series of rooms over and over again. We understand that with movie games, developers don't always get enough time to work, but that's really no excuse for subjecting us to this degree of monotony. The game is short as it is (maybe four or five hours on average), but we'd have preferred an even shorter experience if that meant sparing us some of the boredom we put up with.
The difficulty is another sore spot here. To some extent it's perfect: challenging enough that you'll take a good deal of damage, but not so hard that you're dying all the time, or that a child would get too frustrated. The boss fights can get pretty epic, but the game gives you hints if you have trouble figuring out what to do. Unfortunately, one flaw brings the whole system down: When you do die, there are no real consequences, because when you come back, everything you killed in the room is still dead.