It's been almost 30 years since the Transformers exploded into the global consciousness, with the concept of robot toys turning into vehicles and back again, having been developed into a rich and lively multimedia universe. So why have nearly all the Transformers games released since 1984 been such crushing disappointments?
This latest effort, a prequel to the latest Transformers movie, has much in common with 2010's War For Cybertron. It runs off the same engine, the multiplayer mode is a clone, and you play in both the heroic Autobot and evil Decepticon factions while progressing the storyline.
There are improvements over WFC, like the new ability to replenish your own ammunition simply by transforming into vehicle mode. This beats the old system which required utter frugality with a limited ammo supply, and tedious backtracking through plain and repetitive scenery in the hope of finding more. Transforming into "stealth mode" gives the player so much more firepower that there's little point in using robot mode at all, so why bother with Transformers when this could have been a tank game?
Verdict: Movie tie-ins are typically rushed affairs with little replay value and Dark of the Moon is no exception. The enemy minions are too weak, the bosses too hard, the level design too dark and the complete package lacks spark. For forgiving fans only.
Reviewed on Xbox 360 (PG)