Impressions: Transformers Dark of the Moon

Optimus Prime, in all his glor... Well... At least the level of detail is good.




First off, I should lead by saying that this game does not suck. It says something, really, that I have to state this outright. I mean, we’re dealing with multiple factors here: the legacy of “Transformers Revenge of the Fallen,” not to mention movie games in general. There’s the gaming industry’s past shenanigans with Transformers games in general, although the most recent “War for Cybertron” was a notable exception. And it is on that note that we discuss “Dark of the Moon,” which, you will be overjoyed to know, I’m sure, is made by the same people that bequeathed upon us the gift of “War for Cybertron.”

So yes, this game does not suck. It is, in fact, more akin to a “War for Cybertron 1.5″, albeit with Michael Bay slathered all over on top of it. (Here at Padinga, we strive for new and imaginative turns of phrase with which to populate the English language, not the least of which is “Michael Bay slathered”.)  You won’t find many new features in Dark of the Moon, but you will find a few welcome refinements and a few faithful nods to the popular film franchise.

Read on to find out why any Transformers fan should play this game, EVEN IF you don’t care for Mr. Bay and his Decepticles.

Those who have played War for Cybertron know that they played what is considered by most to be the top Transformers game ever to be placed in the hands of the gaming public. Featuring character designs harkening back to the G1 days, an epic story, the iconic banter and dialogue we know and love (but thankfully cleaned up to be more accessible to an older audience), and an overall incredibly solid third-person shooter, War for Cybertron easily won a place in Transformer fans’ hearts. Dark of the Moon is cut from the same cloth, featuring the same gameplay engine and the same production pedigree. Okay, so it might not have G1-reminiscent character designs, and the story might be based upon a Michael Bay joint, but High Moon Studios assures us that they are working to maintain the gameplay and banter that WfC gave us.

Along the way, High Moon made a few small changes that feel like “feedback” issues – complaints about WfC that were addressed and rectified. Enemies now have a red line around them when viewed through your zoom, making it much easier to distinguish between friend and foe, and sometimes even between foe and scenery. This is a much-welcomed addition when applying the Bay designs, as… well, to be honest, Autobot and Decepticon look much the same, with a few notable exceptions. Also, most ‘bots will now have a machine gun to fire in vehicle mode, making it more of a “hybrid” mode (no pun intended for you gasoline/electric Autobots out there).

Ok, so I THINK I'm playing as a Decepticon here... aw, who the hell knows, anyway?

For those of you that are “fans” of the Michael Bay movies, a few changes have been made, ironically enough, to the game camera to make it resemble the films more. When going into battle, especially close-quarters, the camera will pull up close and shake violently, just like the famous “Michael Bay Shaky-cam” we’ve come to know. While this largely comes off as annoying in the films, it actually translates well into the game, granting a more visceral, in-your-face quality to combat. The overall feeling is more personal and more satisfying.

So here’s the deal, people. If you liked War for Cybertron, guess what? You’re going to like Dark of the Moon. (There’s another one of those imaginative turns of phrase: “like Dark of the Moon”.) I’m really serious here, though. High Moon Studios has crafted another amazing game, and anyone who wants more War for Cybertron should look right here, because that’s exactly what you’re getting. Sure, it’s all Michael Bay-ed up, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a fantastic Transformers gaming experience!

This article is based off of a single-level demo given by a developer from High Moon Studios at E3.

  • Andrew Allen

    Interesting. I notice that most reviews for this title have been SCATHING. 1UP in particular has been unkind, claiming the title has graphical glitches up the wazoo and feels rushed.

    Any truth to that?

  • RurouniQ

    This article is based off of a single-level demo given to us by the developers at E3. It’s entirely possible that these glitches are in levels other than the one I played, but the one I played was very solid and did not feel rushed.