Imagine what it would be like to become a Transformer. Walking, jumping, and climbing in your humanoid form would be pretty familiar, and you could easily get the hang of whipping out your guns to blast enemies. Driving yourself around might be a bit awkward at first, and flying would be significantly trickier, but the real problems would come when you tried to transform. Shifting your physical form would be disorienting, and it would take a while before you mastered it. That's actually a pretty accurate breakdown of what it's like to play Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In the early going, the controls are uncomfortable but functional. As you play through either of the solid campaigns, you'll get better and better until you reach a point where you can fluidly move between different forms and dispatch your enemies with style. That is, you would, but an array of technical flaws and performance issues will probably keep you from getting that far. Whether you suffer an erratic frame rate, washed-out environments, or some other breed of problem depends on your particular computer, but it's very unlikely you'll be able to play unhindered. It's a real shame that Revenge of the Fallen, which is a fun game to play on other systems, fares so poorly in its PC incarnation.
Things get pretty explode-y when Transformers fight.
One of the big issues is the frame rate. On modestly powerful PCs, it regularly drops to low levels, making the game look like a slide show for long, agonizing moments. Though this problem lessens on PCs that well exceed the system requirements, it is still there. Trying to get the hang of the tricky controls while dealing with an erratic frame rate is frustrating, to say the least. The other big issue involves environmental lighting. The contrast drops to very low levels, making it difficult to perceive depth or distinguish enemies from buildings. Certain objects occasionally light up correctly, giving you a glimpse of the proper lighting that you could be enjoying. It's still possible to play with this contrast issue, if you look at the screen intently and use the neon-bright heads-up display to guide you, but it's not very fun. The array of visual performance options is pretty flimsy, so you can't do much tweaking to improve your experience.
If you forge ahead despite these issues, you'll find that the two campaigns--Autobot and Decepticon--loosely follow the plot of the movie. Each one takes a solid amount of time to complete, and they are different enough that it is worth playing through both. The Transformer models are shiny and detailed (unless you suffer the contrast issue), capturing the look of the movie nicely. The voice acting is less impressive. While some Transformers, such as Megatron and Optimus Prime, sound great, others are almost unintelligible, thanks to poor volume matching or overzealous robotic effects. And the human characters (specifically Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox) are so badly voiced that you'll be thankful only some of the missions parallel the movie. Other missions diversify the action with familiar mission archetypes: escort/kidnap, defend/destroy, checkpoint race, miniboss fight, and the like. Each mission plays out in an open area full of items you can destroy (cars, tankers, and light structures), though your wrecking power is so substantial you'll probably wish for a bit more environmental destructibility.
Between the mission types and the maps, there isn't a whole lot of variety. It's not quite tedious, but things can start to feel a bit too familiar as you progress. Fortunately, a healthy array of bonus challenges and unlockables do a good job of keeping things interesting. Accomplishing the two bonus objectives in each mission nets you a solid haul of attribute-boosting energon, and shooting the five targets in each area will earn you even more energon, as well as stall the clock so you can strive for a higher medal by finishing quickly. Overarching objectives challenge you to accomplish certain tasks with certain characters, and doing so unlocks episodes of the original Transformers cartoon, as well as vintage paint jobs and concept art. These goals help flesh out the experience and keep you engaged because they give you something else to do during missions besides focus on the primary objectives. Accomplishing all the bonus objectives and earning a gold or a platinum medal is a tough challenge, and you won't even come close until you've mastered the controls.
Driving around can be tough when the frame rate slows and you seem to be jumping from spot to spot.
There are three different forms ("modes") that each Transformer can take: robot, weapon, and vehicle. In robot mode, you walk around in humanoid form and can jump, climb buildings, and melee attack. Holding the right mouse button changes you into weapon mode, allowing you to strafe and blast opponents with your primary and secondary weapons. These two modes are easy to master and switch between, but vehicle mode is a bit trickier. Holding the left mouse button will transform you into a vehicle, and you'll immediately start driving or flying, depending on your character. It's cool to watch, but figuring out how your momentum will (or won't) be preserved through the transformation is a bit tricky. Until you get the hang of it, you'll often find yourself on an unexpected vector, speeding off in the opposite direction or just plowing into a building.