Preview: TF2 game!
I'm not a mega gamer, just so you know. Of course like many, I wasted more than a few brain cells in front of a Nintendo back in the day. But I was still excited to engage in a sneak peek of the TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN game, which hits stores in late June... Perhaps my amateur status will provide an interesting viewpoint - or perhaps I'll sound like a bloody idiot who wouldn't know the difference between an Atari and a PS3. (But for the record, I do.)
Maybe it won't matter, because I didn't even get to play the game! No sir, this preview was so damn advanced that I wasn't allowed to touch the controller, I was just an observer as one of ActiVision guys showed off some of TF2's cooler features. (What I saw was the Xbox version.) As a newb, I can say that it was an impressive spectacle, with as many explosions, hyper-action, and well, transforming, as a fan of the franchise could want. (For the record, you can click any of the images in this article to see them in hi-res.)
First the facts - the game was created in conjunction with TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, meaning that it takes the same story turns, and goes to the same places, as the Michael Bay film. (Bay, along with Steven Spielberg and Industrial Light and Magic were heavily involved in the game's development.) The game actually expands on the movie's ideas and locations; so a 5 minute stop in Taiwan in the film has now been elaborated upon, and you can crash around the city til your heart is content - although of course you're always on a mission, hence you don't want to waste time just blowing crap up, unless you're a Decepticon.
Apparently this is the largest catalog of Transformers ever assembled for a game, with so many possible characters that the Activision people couldn't even say how many there are. (Although I suspect they were intentionally holding back because they did not want to give away some of the surprise characters you're eventually able to unlock). The characters, obviously, transform at your whim, with advanced transformations and attack options while they transform - which I gather is an improvement from the last game. In so many words you can prepare or carry out your attack as you go from upright figure to car and vice versa.
You can change your character within the mission as well, so if for some ungodly reason you find playing as Bumblebee is lame, you can go to another Autobot when you please... Although why be an Autobot when it appears that playing as a Decepticon is so much more fun. As I mentioned before, when you play as a villain, you're encouraged to cause as much mayhem as possible, so when you end up in the "war room" after you're mission is complete, you get props from your fellow Decepticons for murdering civilians with extreme prejudice. (Nice touch, no?) Easily the coolest part was when I watched Starscream in action, as the Decepticon transforms into a jet and lays waste to an aircraft carrier (similar to the images seen in the film's first teaser.)
As far as the technical side of things, the game is usually a marvel to look at. Graphics, sound, and gameplay (from what I could tell) are all top-notch. When a gigantic enemy called Devastator shows up in Cairo, my jaw dropped just a little, I don't mind admitting. That said, sometimes the action is so hectic and furious, that you feel like you're IN the movie. Hey, I guess if they wanted it to resemble a Michael Bay film, they've certainly succeeded.
An intriguing note is that the game has been altered for for each particular game system, so playing it on the Xbox is not the same experience as playing it for the PC or, obviously, the Wii. I'm frankly not sure if that's standard practice or not, but I find it to be pretty cool - and convenient - to say the least. Plus for those of you who love kicking each other's asses, there's multi-player modes, co-op modes, all that good stuff. (You can take the battle online as well, where you can engage in a multitude of competitive game modes with people all over the globe.) At the end of the day, the people from Activision stated their main intent all along was correcting all the mistakes of the last TRANSFORMERS game, stressing that they listened to fan complaints and suggestions and that this really is the ultimate TF experience. As a no-good newb, I can't begin to disagree.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN will hit retail stores on JUNE 23rd. It will be available for Xbox 360, PS2 and 3, Windows PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, and the PSP.