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Joystiq impressions: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


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Okay, so maybe we were a little harsh on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (the game) when it was announced back in February, but can you really blame us? First off, it's a movie tie-in. Secondly, Activision's video game treatment of the first Michael Bay Tranformers flick was awful. Having now seen what the crew at Luxoflux is putting together for PS3 and 360, we have to admit it actually looks ... kinda good.

The good news is, apart from giant transforming robots, the game has little in common with its predecessor. If anything, it's akin to a fast-paced mech arcade title, with a non-linear level structure and lots of bonuses for pulling off flashy moves. For the land-based Transformers, its creator is playing off the momentum they can build up in vehicle mode and translating it into more devastating attacks or longer jumps when they (very quickly) transform into robots.

Gallery: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (PS3/360) | 8 Photos

We saw some of this while Ironhide was racing around Shanghai and chaining together kills against a lot of Decepticons. He'd tear down a street full-bore then transform and jump in one seamless sequence, his momentum carrying him up onto a freeway overpass high above, where he came punching down into his enemies.

Later, Bumblebee was moving from rooftop to rooftop by racing across them and transforming at the last moment, catapulting him towards the next and returning to vehicle mode when he landed. It was fast, fluid and looks like fun.

The game's missions are timed, with set completion criteria and global time attack / score leaderboards. Score bonuses are awarded for taking out enemies in stylish ways, such as racing up to them as Bumblebee and transforming into a somersault kick. The more mundane awards went to things like headshots and blasting enemies while airborne. The whole thing, combined with the lightning-fast transformations, looked like it would be a rush to play.

We got a taste of doing battle as the Decepticons as well. Activision showed off a level in which Starscream must destroy multiple aircraft carriers and airborne Autobots. The action had an extremely cinematic lead-in sequence as fighters scrambled to intercept incoming Decepticon jets -- it was epic looking, and presumably based on a scene from the film. The stage looked great, too, with Starscream quickly switching from F-22 jet mode to hovering robot and back again against a backdrop that reminded us of the more recent Ace Combat games.

Online multiplayer was mentioned only briefly and we were given an equally truncated glimpse of Optimus Prime battling Devastator, a Decepticon easily 8-10 times his size and built from construction vehicles. And with that it was a wrap.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen doesn't strike us as a game that will be exceptionally deep, but it definitely looks like it could deliver some fast-paced, good-looking arcade thrills. Hopefully, the finished product will help to further transform our opinion of licensed movie games. See what we did there?

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