The game itself has a few things going for it. Other then the prequel factor it's also made by High Moon Studios, the guys who brought us the best Transformers game to date; Transformers: War for Cybertron. Even better is that it's built upon a basic version of the WfC Gameplay engine which means it plays the same as WfC, which is also good.....so why is this game not worth the immediate purchase? Well the main reason, and this game's downfall, is time. Specifically, the little amount of time High Moon had to create this game.
Gameplay, as stated before, is very similar to War for Cybertron. You technically have 3 modes to play with; Your robot mode, your vehicle mode and your "Stealth Force" mode. Stealth Force is basically a weaponized version of your vehicle mode which provides a bit more armor and allows you to move around freely. Pressing the left trigger acts as a boost mode and transforms you into your full vehicle mode in the process. You'll most likely spend most of your time in robot mode while transforming when times get tough and you need a quick getaway or boost in fire power. Sadly, though, the regular vehicle mode seems borderline useless since you'll probably only boost if there's a time limit you need to watch. The rest of the time will probably be spent in vehicle mode since you don't have to worry about being gunned down after transforming. You also don't have to worry about running low on ammo, since both modes come with unlimited ammo. For some reason, though, you still have to reload. I honestly would have liked it if there was a cooldown meter instead, since it would probably be more in line with the movie universe.
Also returning is the Multiplayer mode, only much more basic and condensed from WfC. All classes share the same perks and boosters with different abilities being assigned to specific character models. Players can now either play as an actual movie character or a custom colored version of their model and the max multiplayer level has been brought down to 20 as opposed to 25. Unfortunately it doesn't feel like it would hold someone's attention long after they max out all of their classes, which is much, MUCH easier to do here and could probably a day at most if you play nothing but multiplayer. The gameplay also takes a good amount of getting used to. The robots move surprisingly slowly and the weapons just don't feel like they do all that much damage, taking more then a clip and a half of ammo to kill an opponent. The maps look good, but are a bit too small to really do anything strategic. Finally, the game types are limited to three; Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch and Conquest. While it seems kinda poor it makes sense considering they were the only gametypes anyone played during WfC. The only other mode I would have liked to see was Escalation, but sadly that is missing entirely. The multiplayer is overall fun, but forgettable once you've done and seen everything.
So after all the poor points I pointed out you'll probably expect me to say not to buy this game. Well quite the contrary. In my opinion, you should definitely buy this game, just not at $60. The short single player, quickly forgettable multiplayer and lack of most of the features that made WfC awesome keep this from being a really good game, but it's still fun to play. A great weekend game at most. If anything this game's biggest hurdle was the development time, which was a few days short of a year between WfC's release and this. With the care High Moon put into WfC I am certain DotM would have been just as good if Activision had given them more time to work on gameplay, content and story. As is, it's worth 30 bucks at most. While I don't feel all that disappointed with the game at full price, I can't garuntee that to be the same for everyone else, so either wait for a price drop or rent it. It may not be the best movie tie-in, but it certainly is far from the worst.
It all comes down to this. After six days of reviews, tomorrow will be the week-ender. Stay tuned as the Addict Overview of Transformers: Dark of the Moon is right around the corner!