IGN Review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers fans should be a weary bunch by now. For every shining moment in games like last year's Transformers: War for Cybertron, there are traps like its Wii counterpart, Transformers: Cybertron Adventures. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Stealth Force Edition is the latter. An insultingly bad attempt to throw some car models into the barest framework of a game bearing the recognizable logo, Transformers Stealth Force Edition is a disaster in your living room or in your hand.
The premise to Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Stealth Force Edition is… Listen, there's barely a premise here. The only effort at a concept is your complete inability to transform from vehicle to robot for no apparent reason other than the amount of work it would take to make more game. Instead, every Transformer you use can shift between vehicle mode, which is a dreadfully dull arcade-style driving experience, and "Stealth Force" mode, where your character's vehicle form splits open and guns shove through the cracks. The main difference comes down to whether you want to be fast or shoot something.
Most levels revolve around doing the same thing over and over for around five minutes in a small arena-style level, though Stealth Force Edition will really try to blow your mind here and there by having you race to checkpoints. Otherwise, you'll be "transforming" and trying to destroy targets, or just surviving until time runs out.
Hilariously, you don't even need guns to kill enemies -- as one of the larger characters, like Soundwave, Optimus, or Ironhide, your opponents will often crash into you and explode. This would be funnier if head-on collisions with the bad (or good) guys weren't a near necessity. Even with liberal aim assistance, shooting anything in stealth force mode feels like lobbing uncooked rice at it. It's not satisfying, and it's not fun.
This might be because of how poorly Stealth Force Edition controls. There's no Wii-mote or stylus control at all. In car mode, you'll accelerate by holding up on the nunchuk's analog stick and steer with the same. But once you shift into Stealth Force, the world turns upside down and you're moving and strafing with the analog stick and rotating with the Wii-mote D-pad. The 3DS has it even worse, with the shoulder buttons handling rotation and shooting relegated to the face buttons. The developers have ignored the unique control methods available on both the 3DS and the Wii, offering what might be the most uncomfortable shooting controls since Quake III on the Dreamcast.
But the most stunning insult is in Stealth Force Edition's presentation, which is identical across the 3DS and Wii. The 3DS visuals rank in the lower tier of titles on the system, and on Wii they... still rank in the lower tier of 3DS titles. Stealth Force Edition looks exactly the same on 3DS and Wii, save that the 3DS version is sharper because it's running on a lower res screen. Both systems receive the same ugly environments, the same jagged, low detail "characters," and the same phoned-in voice acting.
©2011-06-28, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved