For those raised on the toys and cartoons, the poor record of Transformers games irks; giant robots that turn into vehicles fighting each other with guns is the perfect premise for a video game. Instead we got two Transformers movie tie-ins that stank. Now the third Transformers movie tie-in has arrived and once again the Autobots are defending Earth from rampaging Decepticons.
There are plenty of explosions, there’s variety between missions and even a few popcorn movie quips for good measure.
Oh and there’s transforming too. But not as we know it. Rather than flipping from robot to car, clicking the transform button moves between robot and ‘stealth force’ mode, where the transformer becomes a weaponised car that would make James Bond jealous.
Not that it drives like a car – more like a hovercraft. It’s odd, but works well. Too well in fact, because there’s little incentive to take a different form. In car mode proper you can’t shoot and can only drive forwards. In robot mode you’re more vulnerable to enemy fire.
And vulnerability matters because – for a game likely to attract a hefty number of younger fans – Dark of the Moon is surprisingly tough. Having different controls for each of the three Transformer modes doesn’t help, nor does the emphasis on using cover to complete missions.
Transformers is flawed, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. There’s an engaging multiplayer mode that comes on like diluted Call of Duty and plenty to keep casual gamers coming back for another blast. It still can’t delivers on the promise of the Transformers potential, but fans will lap it up.