Xbox 360 Review: Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen

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When we last left the Transformers, they were smashing cities, beating each other up, and generally reeking havoc across the land. Now, that’s changed. Sure, the giant metal machines can still destroy a car or two, but buildings have become all but invincible, save for the ones you’re supposed to destroy to complete objectives.

No, it makes no sense at all.

Neither does this single player design, which is now devolved into a series of multi-player matches, minus the other players. Playing against bots is never fun, and sadly that is all Transformers 2 is comprised of.

Each mission takes place inside a claustrophobic map, surrounded heavily by a blue barrier that is never explained. The majority of the missions are nothing more than destroying helpless enemies who typically choose to stand around and get shot. Instead of a focus on hand-to-hand combat, this sequel chooses to shift to shooting. Melee combat exists, although its application is sloppy. Shooting is far more satisfying.

Credit is due to the developers, who despite creating a needlessly complex control scheme, crafted a fine engine for blowing things up. With its focus on jumping and a smooth aiming system, it isn’t that far off from the Halo series in terms of speed and feel. Players of Bungie’s space epic will likely be right at home.

Thankfully, this translates into a fair multi-player arena, although the limitation of five maps is a downer. Usual game modes such as capture the flag and deathmatch variants are welcome, though you have to wonder how long players will stick around once the unfounded movie hype dies down.

That leaves the rather terrible single player, choosing either the Decepticons or Autobots. Going with the villains means no notable boss fights except for the final level, where the movie’s script is completely rewritten illogically to make it work. The Autobots campaign is marginally better, only due to battles with the Constructicon and others. The rest is entirely forgettable and dreadful escort missions, survival, or checkpoint runs.

Fan service is here in the form of original cartoon episodes, although none of them relate to the movie in any specific way. It’s a fine treat, although paying for the DVD sets instead of suffering through the campaign is probably a better way to spend your time (and your dollar).

And really, did anyone think dropping Megatron into the ocean was going to be the end of him? Anyone?

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