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 really disorienting, and it would take a while before you really 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. Then the game becomes a fun, engaging romp through the Transformerverse, and taking your skills online gives you a new tactical challenge. Though it takes awhile to get there, and it never outgrows some of its problems, Revenge of the Fallen is an entertaining way to step into the chassis of a giant transforming robot from space.
6212392NoneIronhide laying waste to Decepticon minions with a variety of attacks.
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, 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 actually 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.
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 left trigger 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 right trigger 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.
Long Haul puts the heat on Optimus Prime.