Reviewed: July 2, 2009
Released: June 23, 2009
Itís official. Summer, 2009 is here. How do I know? The new Transformers movie is officially in theaters and the new Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game is currently dominating a majority of my gaming time, both in solo story mode and the new exiting online multiplayer. But on the other side of the console coin lies the handheld industry, and no big blockbuster movie franchise can escape the obligatory ports to those systems as well.
Vicarious Visions returns to take their shot at the dual release of Autobot and Decepticon versions for the DS sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the results are pretty much what I expected. Like the previous dual release, gamers can choose their faction, good or evil, or just choose based on your favorite robots. The missions are the same across both versions with only slight modifications to your objectives based on your alignment. The two games do diverge when it comes to cutscenes and voiceovers as well as downloadable challenge missions when you head online to engage in worldwide competition.
One feature I loved in the first game was the ability to scan a variety of vehicles and then transform into those vehicles, so I was a bit annoyed when that facet was removed from this game, but then I found a much more interesting use for my digital scanning beam. Now, you can scan objects located around the levels and create new and upgradeable body parts to totally customize your main character in the Medical Bay.
And no, you wonít be redesigning the famous characters we all know and love, but the new character introduced in the opening level and recruited by whichever faction you have chosen when you selected your version of the game. Under the tutelage of Optimus Prime or Megatron, you will begin your career as either an Autobot or a Decepticon driving, flying, and fighting your way across 25 colorful and surprisingly detailed and complex levels.
This latest installment of Transformers continues the fine tradition of multiplayer allowing a host to setup a game type and pick an arena and then you go head to head with up to four players in some competitive deathmatch combat. I was particularly fond of the fact that if you die by your own hand (i.e. falling into lava) your kill score is reduced, so not only do you have to defeat your enemy, you have to keep yourself safe at the same time.
While your multiplayer gaming is limited to local Wi-Fi only you can hook-up to the Internet and download special missions to play and record your scores in the epic Battle for Earth. Anyone with a DS and a copy of the game can contribute to this worldwide gaming event and with new missions promised every day, Revenge of the Fallen could become a part of your daily routine.
The multiplayer modes are fun for some impromptu combat but I couldnít help but think how cool it would be for a competitive campaign mode. The missions are laid out identically so why couldnít I be trying to do something as an Autobot while the Decepticon faction tried to stop be, or perhaps it could just be a race to reach the ultimate objective, like a CTF or a Domination game.
Regardless of whether you favor solo or multiplayer you will enjoy some solid controls, although the vehicle modes can get a bit fast and twitchy at times. Perhaps the designers sensed this and balanced the game in favor of your robot form with lots of shooting and much less traveling. There are all sorts of story-integrated missions, pick-ups, Energon, and plenty of enemy Transformers ready to mix it up.
The presentation is excellent with small but detailed versions of all the Transformers, colorful levels, and flashy special effects. The camera does a great job of tracking the action and the entire visual package is totally complemented with fantastic sound effects, great voice acting, and an awesome musical score.
Transformers on the DS is a fun and challenging game and surprisingly superior to the lackluster effort on the PSP. Revenge of the Fallen takes everything you loved about the original DS game and tightens it up for the ultimate Transformer handheld experience. Grab your copy today and check out the cool Autobots and Decepticons case and stylus kits for your DS so you can transform your system into your favorite faction then head online and help save (or destroy) the planet.