by Jason Clement
previewed on PS3
Return of the Bots
Everyone's favorite robots in disguise are set to return along with the upcoming third Transformers movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and where there is a movie based on a comic/toy/animated show, there is usually a videogame tie-in to follow, and Dark of the Moon is no exception. However, don't think this will be a simple rehash of the movie's plot. Instead, the videogame adaptation of Dark of the Moon follows in the footsteps of previous blockbuster movie tie-in games such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Avatar, crafting an original story that will serve as a prologue for the movie.
The game will feature the "gripping events and backstories that lead up to the upcoming film," according to Paul Wright of Activision Publishing. This works to the developer's advantage, giving them more freedom to shape the design and game's needs rather than being restricted to a pre-written movie script, as was done with the first two Transformers movie-based games.
In Good Hands
Fans will be glad to know that High Moon Studios, the critically acclaimed developer behind last year's Transformers: War for Cybertron, is in charge of development of the PS3 and 360 versions this time around. The Wii, DS, and 3DS will all receive their own distinct versions and are in development by Behaviour Interactive, the developer behind such games as Naughty Bear, Doritos Crash Course, and WET. And to those of you worrying about a rushed development schedule on the game, you can rest easy knowing that development was already under way before War for Cybertron shipped to stores last year.
As is the case with every Transformers game, you'll be fighting against the Autobots' sworn enemy, the Decepticons, in battles that will shape the events of the upcoming film. You'll also get your first look at the movie's primary villain, Shockwave. Interesting enough, in the comics, Shockwave was not driven by bloodlust as the other Decepticons were, but rather by logic, and a few times he turned against the Decepticon leader Megatron and tried to overthrow him because he was convinced that he should rule in his place, thinking that no emotion should prevent the Decepticons from conquering the universe. It will be interesting to see if this specific plot plays into the game's story at all, but given that Shockwave is the main threat in the theatrical version of Dark of the Moon, it would seem likely that the events that transpire in this game will see Shockwave throw down with Megatron at some point.
The game will once again feature third-person shooting action as you transform back and forth between robot and vehicle mode, as well as featuring the likes of such locations as the jungles of South America, Siberia, Detroit, and more. High Moon is reportedly sticking to a similar control and gameplay scheme that of War for Cybertron, which should help ease the fear of any skeptics.
One of the biggest new features in the game is a new mode known as Stealth Force, in which you undergo a third transformation, a hybrid state of sorts that gives you the firepower of robot mode combined with the maneuverability of vehicle mode. It'll be interesting to see exactly how this mode plays out since it would obviously be the go-to mode if it were the most powerful, but given the name, it seems like it will be used for quick sneak attacks before jumping straight into robot mode where you'll dish out the real damage.
Close Cast of Characters
So far, characters including Optimus Prime, Megatron, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Stratosphere, Starscream, Ratchet, Warpath, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Mixmaster and Shockwave have all been confirmed to appear in the game, but there's been no word on other favorites like Arcee and Grimlock. There's definitely a chance you'll see unlockable hidden characters, like War for Cybertron had, so I wouldn't rule them out just yet.
And of course, what would a good Transformers game be without online multiplayer? High Moon Studios has had plenty of experience in this area with War for Cybertron, and it looks like they plan to bring the same great online experience to Dark of the Moon. This time around you'll be able to play as actual Transformers characters and not just color palette-swap lookalikes. High Moon isn't going into specifics just yet on the different modes within the online element but more info will be available as the release draws near.
Could this be the best Transformers game yet? High Moon hopes so; the group working there have stated that they are all big fans of the property and want to do the franchise justice, and from what we have seen of the game so far, it's looking to be the most promising game in the series yet.