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Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Wii & 3DS Review

Game Info
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Stealth Force Edition

Wii / 3DS | Activision / beHAVIOUR | 1 Player / 2 Players (Wii) | Out Now
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk
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Review
29th August 2011; By Patrick

Before I start this review, I would like to make two things extremely clear. The first is that a lot of people may have had high hopes for this title after the above-average line of games for the second Transformers film, developed by Vicarious Visions. However, Activision had developer beHAVIOUR develop Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Stealth Force Edition on the Wii and 3DS, as well as Transformers Dark of the Moon: Autobots and Decepticons on the DS, and the change in developer is apparent to anybody that has seen or played the Vicarious Visions titles. The other thing I want to make clear is the full title of this game, which you will find on the cartridge or disc, but not on Activision’s website -- Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Stealth Force Edition: Vehicle Combat Game. Yeah, not an action title. Oh boy...

    I'm going to start with the 3DS version because that was the system I completed the game one. The first thing you’ll notice when you start the game up on the 3DS is the opening credits, all of which seem to be designed to take advantage of 3D, but completely in 2D -- the 3D feature being unavailable. This trend continues into all the menu screens of the game as well, which makes me think that the game was developed on Wii and had a rushed "obligatory" port to 3DS.

    The game is broken up into a mission structure, controlling one Transformer per level, doing tasks assigned by other Transformers. Missions include such things as "Destroy the Decepticons", "Destroy more Decepticons", "Destroy the door and infiltrate the Decepticon base", and "Destroy the Decepticons". The missions are clearly not very varied, and can last up to 15 minutes on the later ones. Plus, if you die once (all too easy), you must restart the entire mission.

    
Now, the gameplay is set up into two modes: Vehicle Mode, and Stealth Mode. In Vehicle Mode, you simply drive around, searching for Energon Crystals that can heal you and refill your Stealth Mode gauge. After you have collected the Energon Crystals, you can push the A Button to change into your Transformer’s Stealth Mode. The name Stealth Mode in itself is a misnomer, as you change from being a vehicle, to a vehicle with guns coming out of every hinge. How "stealthy" is that? The
vast majority of the gameplay requires you to be in Stealth Mode, with Vehicle Mode seeming more like a punishment and scavenger hunt to return to Stealth Mode than an alternative style of gameplay.

    The main problem with this game is in it’s controls -- namely the usage of the Circle Pad. Pushing it all the way forward like you’d expect to will send you flying forward with no proper momentum. Instead what you need to do is barely push the Circle Pad at all -- not easy to do given it’s location, the angle it will be at if you’re viewing the game in 3D, and just the nature of the Circle Pad itself. Another issue is that while in Stealth Mode, instead of being able to turn easily, you strafe. In fact, given these controls, my preferred way of destroying enemies was simply running into them, because it was the only way I could guarantee an attack.

    The cutscenes are surprisingly great, being all animated in 2D with voice acting of a reasonable quality. When you get into the game however, it doesn’t retain the charm. The character models and environment art is passable, but not noteworthy. And just like I said in my LEGO Star Wars III review, when I have the 3D up 100%, and the camera shakes around, it gives me a headache. That happens constantly throughout the game.

    As for the Wii version of the game...
I’m gonna keep this short and sweet because I don’t want to dwell on this, but it's exactly the same game. And when I say "same game", I
mean it. The assets are the same as the 3DS version -- only blown up and slightly uglier -- and every mission and cutscene is identical. You know you’re in trouble when the screenshots on the back of the box are the same for both releases. As I played the 3DS version first, I originally thought it was a Wii game crammed onto the 3DS. Now I really don’t know. It seems like it was designed for both platforms simultaneously and couldn’t decide which it would rather be on.

With all the other similarities comes the control method. In using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to control, the joystick has the same problems as the Circle Pad, albeit in a smaller amount due to the nature of the Nunchuk vs. the Circle Pad. The only two things that truly differentiate the two versions is that the Wii version is obviously in 2D and it features multiplayer -- which I never experienced since nobody would play it with me. Go figure.

    All in all, this game was rushed with a capital "R". The repetitive missions are made worse only by the terrible overactive controls, with the "Stealth Mode" being locked out unless you can survive in the useless Vehicle Mode. I’m sorry to say, but this is one title you must avoid at all costs.


07/30 - Simply Awful

Gameplay 1/10 - Broken controls, repetitive gameplay, boring missions, main game locked out for spending time playing it
Presentation 5/10 - Cutscenes beautiful on 3DS, voice acting above average (considering source material), assets are identical on 3DS and Wii
Enjoyment 1/5 - Difficult to enjoy with the repetition, controls extremely frustrating, no satisfaction in gameplay
Extra Content 0/5 - No extra content to speak of, definitely not worth even budget price let alone full price

Equivalent to a score of 23% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by Patrick
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