As a video game prequel to the third Transformers film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon for the Wii console is a third-person vehicle shooter featuring the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Sadly, this entry to the Transformers franchise is utterly disappointing and has few redeeming qualities.
Transpiring before the events of the third film, the Wii Transformers: Dark of the Moon game highlights the back and forth efforts of Optimus Prime, Megatron, and their respective camps. The Autobots seek to rid earth of all Decepticon presence, while the Decepticons initiate a set of plans that will trigger the events in the third movie. The story is told in an excellent manner featuring still characters drawn in a cross between the movie’s designs and the traditional cartoons.
The game lets you play alternately between Autobots and Decepticons in a campaign spanning eighteen missions. It’s a nice touch to be able to experience fighting for both sides. Transformers: Dark of the Moon also allows split-screen multiplayer cooperative on some of the levels.
A glaring drawback in Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the inability to transform into gigantic robots which is what the series is best known for. The entire game is played in vehicle mode. The game does feature “Stealth Force mode” where the vehicles seem to be in the process of transforming with guns protruding out of their frame, but they remain vehicles nonetheless. Slapping the Transformers logo in what is essentially a driving game definitely hurts the value of this entry.
While in vehicle mode, players can move around fairly swiftly. However, combat can only be done in Stealth Force mode where players will be able to maneuver less but gain the ability to fire their guns and special weapons. The machine guns have unlimited ammunition, but the special weapons require you to collect “Energon” power-ups in order to replenish them. The battle system then goes as follows: encounter an enemy, fire your weapons until you run out, retreat to look for more Energon power-ups, go back and repeat the process. This becomes incredibly tedious the more you play the game.
The controls are clunky and the analog stick performs all driving motions: up accelerates, down reverses, and left and right turns the vehicle. This was perhaps done to allow for simplicity, but it achieves the opposite effect instead. Inexplicably, the controls reverse when you go into Stealth Force mode. The directional pad is now used for vehicle movements, and the analog stick is used for strafing. Why this was done and what it accomplishes is beyond sane reasoning.
Although the story cutscenes are quite decent, the gameplay locales and audio are below par. Uninspired and showing lack of creative effort, players wouldn’t want to spend any more time in a game that clearly does not want to be played. As if to prove that allegation true, Transformers: Dark of the Moon was designed to be incredibly short and can be completed within three hours tops so players can move on with their lives as quickly as possible.
The Transformers: Dark of the Moon game can be played on the Wii console with the standard remote or Nunchuk. It allows for multiplayer cooperative action on certain missions.
Some gamers would rather be tickled with a feather for three hours than play Transformers: Dark of the Moon. That way, they’d be laughing and having fun instead of enduring this sad and depressing entry. Although the cutscenes are cool, it’s not enough to salvage this shipwreck which doesn’t even allow players to transform into a robot. Tired, boring, and thankfully short, Transformers: Dark of the Moon unfortunately cannot transform itself into a good game as well.