Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - PS2 - Review
I have to admit a fondness for the Transformers that goes way back when I’d rush back home from school to watch the cartoons in hopes of seeing my favorite toys battle it out for planet Earth. When the first Michael Bay movie jumped on to the big screen I was reduced to that excited kid again and enjoyed seeing the Autobots in two live-action movies. So I approached the game with much respect to the source material hoping that Activision would do justice to them.
As it turns out, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for the PlayStation 2 broke my heart.
It was interesting to see that the game follows its own path and doesn’t try to port the somewhat better PlayStation 3 version of the game and it was great to see that it covered some story elements not found in the next-generation versions either. Yet thanks to a number of flaws, bad gameplay decisions and uninspiring level design, Revenge of the Fallen is a game that just isn’t worth the purchase price.
On the plus side, the game does follow the movie’s main premise while introducing other plot elements that does a good job of fleshing out the story. You see, after the fall of the Decepticon leader, Megatron, a hidden master of evil named The Fallen has ordered the remaining Decepticons to continue their assault against Earth. Their first step in Earth’s annihilation is rescuing Megatron in order to carry out phase two of their plan seeing as the All-Spark has been destroyed. This plan includes a weapon of mass destruction that would bring Earth to its knees and create a new order for the Decepticons.
Of course, Optimus Prime and his Autobots will not stand for it and sends his forces of good to aid the humans who have been busy hunting down all Decepticons. As part of the military, Optimus and the Autobots find themselves in a fight as new enemies begin their attack in Shanghai. The game’s first level begins with Optimus jumping out of a transport carrier and fighting waves of Decepticons along the way. It’s not a bad way of beginning an action game, actually.
Oh, but this is where Revenge of the Fallen takes a turn for the worst. You see, you control a number of good guys that include Bumblebee and Ratchet as well as take control of Decepticons in other moments in the level. Played in third-person mode, your giant robot has primary and secondary fire as well as melee attacks. It sounds good on paper but it just doesn’t work … but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Sure, you’ll go up against a number of nameless enemies on both sides but you will also go up against the big boys such as Starscream or even Long Haul. While the only time you’ll be transforming during the shooting action is as a special attack, you will be able to transform to robot form at will during the driving or flying moments in the game. There’s very little here that will make you feel like you’re controlling the great Optimus Prime and that will disappoint in every way.
The game contains five levels that include the Shanghai level, rescue Megatron in the Atlantic Platform level, head out to Russia, and raid the Decepticon Base and finally head to Cairo. Each level does offer some variety that does make for some fun moments and there are some boss fights. Still, the boss fights are simplistic and not very challenging. Let’s take the boss fight against Devastator. Does it really take a few punches to the head to bring this big boy down when it took a couple of rockets and a sword to the cranium in the movie?
Some levels even offer some puzzles to open doors but these puzzles aren’t very inventive and oftentimes you’ll simply bypass them out of mere boredom. I do applaud the effort but these puzzles could have at least been fun to solve. I also liked the vehicle moments, although flying above the Atlantic as Starscream wasn’t as enjoyable thanks to the jerky controls.
Speaking of the controls, the game makes shooting quite annoying thanks to a shooting reticule that isn’t easy to move about on the screen so smoothly. I invited a friend to take control of the reticule (which counts as the game’s co-op mode, for some reason) but it still was too painful. Then there’s the camera that doesn’t offer up the best angles, which will result in falling to your death on a few occasions. Also, why do some of the enemies just stand there taking melee attacks without blocking or making an effort to move away?
Visually speaking, Revenge of the Fallen is not the prettiest PS2 game in town. In fact, it might have some pretty character models but the backgrounds are so hideous that you’ll think you’re looking at an unattractive original PlayStation game. Even the visual effects are less than spectacular that even Transformers director Michael Bay would wince at the sight of it.
The voice acting is not bad at all mainly because the original voice for Optimus Prime is back and in top form just like in the movies. Some of the other voices aren’t bad either and the movie’s soundtrack plays over the game and cut scenes. I just wish the same attention was given to the sound effects as well.
In the end, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for the PS2 is a weak shooter and a bad version of the game. As a Transformers fan, I loved a few sections within the levels and the idea of playing as Autobots and Decepticons. I just don’t like the game’s glaring flaws that will only make you wish you spent the money seeing the movie again in theaters. Consider this kid very disappointed.
Review Scoring Details for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
There are a few fun moments in the game but it is ruined thanks to some repetitive level design, controls that make aiming a chore and vehicle movement that’s really jerky. Some battles are fun but then again the boss battles are something of a joke.
The graphics aren’t horrible but they’re not great either and that’s a real shame considering the Autobots and Decepticons look good. Still, the flat backgrounds and the dull visual effects are not visually pleasing at all.
The score from the movie plays throughout the game and that’s awesome but the sound effects are so muffled that it would make Michael Bay cry. At least the voices are good and sound the way they should.
You’ll die often in this game but it’s not because the enemy is intelligent or the boss fights are overly challenging. Instead, you’ll die because of the wonky controls and weak camera.
Play as the Autobots and the Decepticons in a campaign that will take you from the streets of Shanghai to the desert flatlands of Cairo. It’s great to play familiar characters but taking control of them just isn’t as exciting as expected. There’s co-op but it’s awful but at least the game tosses in some episodes from the original ‘80s cartoon.
There’s two-player co-op but before you have visions of aiding a friend as an Autobot or Decepticon, one player moves the character while the other takes control of the aiming. There’s also an arena battle mode, but I don’t see gamers playing that mode for too long.
Revenge of the Fallen for the PS2 is a considerably flawed game that could have been fun but just doesn’t cut it as an action game featuring the Transformers. Unlike the next-generation versions, this version plays quite differently but in the case of this game it’s not a very good thing.