I was lucky enough to talk to the cast and creators of Monlith’s upcoming action adventure RPG Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Myself and other members of media peppered Michael de Plater (Director of Design), Christian Cantamessa (Lead Writer), and Troy Baker (voice of Talion), with questions about the upcoming title which is set to launch on September 28th. Baker, who gamers might recognize from starring roles in The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite, had some interesting things to say about the voicing the game’s protagonist Talion and just how important Tolkien’s work is to nerds everywhere.
What? A movie game review. Yep, you can thank Redbox for that one. Half a day and $2 later here we are.
I’m not even sure why this current franchise is called Transformers. Last time I checked Transformers was a story about robots, not necessarily people. The movies that we’ve been stuck with currently have more to do with ‘mericans kicking butt + actual female butts + toilet humor +
nearly offensive ethnic stereotype robots + other robots whose names (and sometimes voices) are similar to those of a Saturday morning cartoon and 80’s flick I so dearly love. Sadly, I’ll probably suffer the 3rd movie at some point in my lifetime. Explain to me why Optimus has flames painted on him again?
My outlook on the game is slightly different. I didn’t play any of the previous movie tie-in games, but I did play the throwback Transformers: War For Cybertron game, which was quite good. For better or worse, this game copies much of the formula of it’s predecessors. Only problem is it feels a little half-baked.
First there are only half as many levels. TF:WFC had separate Autobot and Deceptacon campaigns. This game has seven levels which switch off between a handful of both factions. There is no co-op support, as most of the game is played without your companions, they join in the fight at certain times, but you don’t really interact with your robot buddies at all. The campaign is short, but enjoyable with only a few hiccups.
Specifically, in-level loading — It happens at the worst time. There are points in the game where you need to quickly drive across off-road terrain, boosting and jumping over canyons… you guessed it, I got hit with a “Loading…” while in mid-air multiple times, or just as I was about to hit a ramp and spot my landing to catch the next hairpin turn. I’d rather you just preload the whole thing upfront, or at least give me a heads up about installing to the drive.
The boss battles, thankfully, are not nearly as annoying as some of the pattern recall slug fests from WFC. For the most part, boss battles are duels between two characters, as nature intended…. robo-a-robo (I think that’s Spanish). Boss battles should be spectacular, with explosions, your character tumbling out of the way of said explosions, while returning fire to the enemy. It’s actually pretty good here.
Transforming has a new wrinkle I don’t remember from WFC. Vehicles have a Stealth Force mode, which is the not-driving mode. In this mode you can strafe around and fire your weapons, hold down the left trigger and the weapons fold down and you’re off to the races (think Turbo Pursuit Mode without the flair). In this mode you can move quickly and boost in the racing sequences. Not really earth shattering stuff, but it’s there.
And that’s about it, multiplayer is pretty much the same as WFC, and the campaign has little replay value after completing it. No Stan Bush, or any real human presence in the game for that matter. The only other striking distinction is the fact that the game takes place on Earth, which, compared to Cybertron is a little boring to look at. The vehicles are (of course) GM vehicles, so no fancy sci-fi robo tanks or hover vehicles made the journey here. Come to think of it, I think I even saw some “tribal” on Starscream’s Jet…. ::sigh::
So there you have it, if you like TF:WFC, this is a rent if a.) you’re just jonesing for that movie or b.) you want a little more WFC style gameplay. Otherwise, it’s a no.. no no no No NO NOO NOO!