I had to admit, after the sludgy wreck that was the original Transformers game, I wasn’t expecting much of anything out of its sequel. It’s a general rule, at least in movie circles, that the sequel is almost never better than its predecessor. In fact, a lot of games behave that way too–how many people played Resident Evil 2, for example, and were disappointed to discover that the house would have nothing to do with what they were playing? I was, and I doubt I was alone. Not that it wasn’t fun, it just wasn’t the same.
However, in the case of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the fact that it isn’t the same actually works in its favor.
This time, you’re once again put in the role of either the Autobots or the Decepticons (you’ll get to choose when you start a new game). Megatron’s been long since blasted and the Allspark is just plain old out of the picture, but the Decepticons aren’t exactly curling up and dying since losing their leader. In fact, if Michael Bay was actually paying attention for twenty seconds to the source material for a change he’d have realized that everybody’s favorite obsequious toady Air Commander Starscream was probably waiting for a moment like this with baited breath. Anyway, old Megatron may not be as dead as everyone thought, and this is all badly timed for the Autobots, who now find themselves not only taking on the still very active Decepticons but also trying to protect Spike Witwicky and dealing with the arrival of a mysterious object from space that looks like it might tip the rather fragile balance of power squarely into the hands of the Decepticons.
So this time, you’ll be launching back into a full-on action title just like the last one, only this time you’ll also get RPG elements on the side. You’ll run and jump and blast things and even occasionally fly, all in the name of pounding Decepticon chassis and protecting humanity. When you do break open a Decepticon, you’ll collect actual Energon cubes that can be collected and used to buy options and expansions between stages. Those would be the RPG elements, an interesting way to shake up otherwise predictible gameplay (do you add on to your maximum health first, or do you focus on your gunnery?) and a downright welcome addition. Oh, and those rare times you’re allowed to fly? Great fun.
This time around, however, there are some new problems. For instance, battling in Singapore I found it rather difficult to keep track of where my enemies were at any given time. They had a tendency to blend in with the many buildings, and, despite the radar, it was tough to tell if they were at ground level or running along rooftops. And if so, WHICH rooftops were they on? Also, I definitely didn’t like the new transform mode, where now you hold down a button to remain in your vehicle form and release it to come out. The problem is, the button you have to hold down is your throttle button. Thus, in order to slow and go around corners you MUST use the brake. There’s no other option.
So yes, it’s true–Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a vastly better experience than its predecessor, with a deeper storyline and deeper gameplay and some really fun flight scenes. However, it’s far from perfect, and thus should only be intended for those who really enjoy Transformer games or clearly action-based games.