Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review

This bland, uninspired adventure will probably make your wrist hurt. Fortunately, it's over quickly.

Transformers are pretty cool, though you wouldn't know it from playing Revenge of the Fallen. While the game does star the iconic alien robots and loosely follows the plot of the movie, the gameplay is generic and dull. For most of the game, you plod through linear levels in your humanoid form, blasting and punching other humanoid robots. There are a few vehicle-form levels, but they do little to break up the monotony of the short campaign. The cooperative assistance and fight-wave-after-wave-of-enemies modes aren't enough to flesh out this paltry package. Fans desperate for Transformers action may find some fun here, but even they won't be satisfied.

The single campaign switches between Autobot and Decepticon missions as it runs its course parallel to the movie. You can play as one specific Transformer on each level, and the shiny, detailed character models from the movie are well represented, though the same can't be said for the blandly functional scenery. Cutscenes do a reasonably good job of telling the story, and the game is filled with campy writing ("Let's bust some Decepti-chumps!") that will make you laugh or cringe or possibly both.

The campaign lasts only about four hours, but it will probably feel significantly longer thanks to the repetitive (and repetitive stress-inducing) gameplay. Walking through levels as a bipedal bot, you move with the analog stick and point the remote to target enemies. You can shoot your primary weapon with the B button, or use the Z button to draw on your energy reserves for a more powerful shot. You gain energy from defeating enemies, and it can also be used to refill your health bar or unleash a powerful special attack. This attack does big damage to anyone in the area, and it's one of the only times you get to see your character transform. Controlling your character in vehicle form is restricted to specific levels. These levels allow you to briefly transform into humanoid form to attack your enemies, but they aren't exciting, just different.

No matter what form you are in, you spend your time following a linear path, with the exception of a few boss battles. Your guns are powerful enough to dispatch weaker foes without too much trouble. You can stand and blast away at them, repair the damage they did with the energy you gain from their deaths, and move on to the next encounter. Defeated enemies glow blue and then vanish with a small explosion, unless you force them off the edge of a building. Then they simply disappear, even if they are jet Transformers that could conceivably save themselves with flight. Waves of enemies appear regularly throughout levels, and you dispatch them in the same repetitive fashion, though you do take some time to traverse rudimentary jumping puzzles that beg the question, can Transformers really wall-jump?

Optimus punches his way through the streets of Shanghai.

As you progress, you'll encounter tougher foes and need to maneuver a bit more to stay healthy. You'll also come to rely more on your melee attack, which is powerful and keeps your enemies from shooting you. Dodging and punching are executed by shaking the nunchuk and remote, respectively, which makes for a lot of waggling in the latter half of the campaign. There are a number of different melee attacks and combos, but performing them all is tricky because of the not-so-great motion recognition and the ease with which enemies can interrupt your combos. This results in a lot of endurance waggling. It's an effective way to vanquish foes, but it's also boring and (eventually) painful.

Even if you take breaks often to avoid wrist pains, the campaign is over quickly. For variety's sake you can play through it cooperatively, but the second player plays as a floating attack drone with the remote only. The drone can shoot enemies and put up a shield to protect the Transformer and reflect enemy fire. This can be helpful, but it's also mildly distracting and can clutter up the screen, exacerbating the irregular and sometimes awkward camera. There is also an Arena mode in which two players (both real Transformers this time!) can fight relentless waves of enemies. As if the game needed more repetitive combat.

Revenge of the Fallen does include an unlockable episode of the original Transformers cartoon, but this is one of the few Transformer-y things the game gets right. The action seems designed around the idea that the coolest thing Transformers do is lumber around and punch other Transformers. The presentation is serviceable, but the campaign is painfully short (and kind of painful to boot). While Revenge of the Fallen isn't a criminally bad game, it definitely does a disservice to Wii owners and Transformers fans alike.

The Good
Movie-accurate character models
Occasionally humorous dialogue
The Bad
Unexciting, repetitive action
Very short campaign
Lots of remote waggling
Very little transforming
4.5
Poor
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With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • PC
  • DS
  • + 4 more
  • Wii
  • PlayStation 2
  • PSP
  • BlackBerry
Based on the movie of the same name, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will let you step into the shoes of autobots or decepticons.
ESRB
Teen
PS3 X360 PC WII PS2
Mild Language, Violence
ESRB
Everyone 10+
DS PSP
Fantasy Violence
Check out even more info at the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Wiki on Giantbomb.com