Review: Transformers: War for Cybertron

BECOME THE ULTIMATE WEAPON

Developer: High Moon Studios
Genre: Action Adventure / Sci-Fi Shooter
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Compatability (PS3): n/a
Compatability (Xbox 360): 196KB Minimum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-10 | Co-Op 2-3 (2-4 for Escalation Mode)
Rating: 8.0

Transformers: War for Cybertron is not based on the recent Michael Bay films, and for that we can be happy. The most recent games in the Transformers universe have been movie tie in that neither do the IP justice, nor are particularly good games. The new game however, is a retelling of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons that lead to the transformers being forced to leave their home world. I do not consider this a spoiler as even with my very small knowledge of the Transformers cannon I knew this. Before I get into the game I think it important in the interest of full disclosure to address my lack of affinity for the Transformers franchise. I did not grow up with the series and I neither hate it nor love it. I think this allows me to review the game on its merits rather than its subject. Now that that’s out of the way, the game is good but a few nagging issues keep it from being great. The game is split into two distinctly different modes, the single player and the multiplayer.

The single player allows the player to experience the titular war from both sides of the battle. There are a total of ten missions in the game; five missions you control the Decepticons, and five in which you control the Autobots. The game allows you to start at either mission one, or mission six. If you play the game from level one on you start out as the villainous Decepticons as they assault the Autobot capitol in hopes of turning the war in their favor. Interestingly the Autobots campaign has you fighting after the invasion and creates an odd dichotomy in which the player is taking action, and then undoing said action from a different perspective. Every mission in the campaign allows the player to pick between three different characters that most of the time represent three different classes. I immediately got to play as Megatron and that was really interesting. The class system plays a bigger part in the multiplayer portion of the game because most of the time, in campaign, its best to be the ‘Leader’ class as they have the skills that help the best. The classes are: Leader, Scout, Soldier and Scientist. More on the classes when I discuss the multiplayer.

Autobot or Decepticon. Choose your side.

The campaign is fun because most of the time the gameplay feels solid. It feels good to shoot and while that may sound simplistic, everything has a nice sense of weight. How many times have we played games where the shooting mechanic felt off? At basically anytime you can transform from the robot version of your transformer to the vehicle version. The vehicle version is not as strong, in terms of control as the robot version but you get around faster. It is a rush and very cool to look at when you’re in battle and you keep transforming back and forth to get around and to keep from reloading. The story is fine but feels disjointed. While you feel like the actions you are taking are important and mean something to the war, the most important stuff happens between missions and you are not privy to the information. Before each mission a line or two of a narrator fills the player in on where you are going next but it never feels like the progression is natural. It invokes a sense of be put in building after building and told to an objective without really knowing how you got there. The most surprising part of the campaign is how well developed the characters are. The banter between the three characters that accompany each other on any given mission is great. If all you know of the characters in transformers is from the films then you will be interested in just how fleshed out they are. Optimus is stoic and leadery’, Bumblebee is young and rash, Megatron is a giant dick, and Starscream is the Revolver Ocelot of the Transformers universe. I loved hearing the character banter and it gave insight that the narrative did not. My biggest complain about the campaign is the final boss in the Autobots portion. The boss feels tacked on and comes out of nowhere, which is a downer because of the obvious last boss we could have had.

Just as big a part of the game, if not more so is the multiplayer portion. There is a full co-op campaign option present and it is a blast. The multiplayer options are varied, ranging from the horde mode like Escalation to the Code of Power name given to their capture the flag variant. Escalation is very fun especially with a group of friends. You are given the option to build your own transformer for multiplayer and given the choice between the classes mentioned earlier. The classes come with different special abilities, weapons load outs, and transformations. The soldier is the basic damage dealer, the scout is fast and good with quick bursts, the scientist is the support class that can heal and set defenses, and the leader is more or less a mixture of all three. While Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are both present the most fun is the objective modes. Conquest is like Star Wars Battlefront in that it tasks your team with holding a certain area of the map after it has been captured. I have already mentioned Escalation and Code of Power and they are also more interesting than the basic deathmatch. With a couple of friends the multiplayer part of the game is awesome.

Transformers: War for Cybertron is full of action.

The graphics in War for Cybertron are good. The game has an almost Gears of War metallic filter on everything but it makes sense because the game takes place on a planet that realistically is a giant machine. The animations for the most part look great. The only thing is that the transformations are so fast that it feel less like an actual process and more of a button being pressed, this is to be expected because of how free you are to transform. If it took a long time the gameplay would suffer. The sound is great. The sounds effects are well done and each weapon feels different. The voice acting is terrific. Megatron and Optimus sound deservingly epic and the rest of the characters are voiced well also. A majority of the voice cast from both the cartoon show and the film lend their talents and the game is better for it. The bosses sound giant and there is good peripherally sounds.

The problems with the game are few but never the less pronounced. My problems with the story in the campaign aside the biggest problem is with glitches. The game froze up on me a total of five times. One time was during an auto save. That was a scary few minutes as I restarted my PS3 and hoped my data had not been corrupted. In the second mission I fell through the world, but since I was in a space station I found myself floating around space looking at amazing work an artist on the game created in hopes of it never being seen. The only other problem I had is much harder to quantify. The game just didn’t really speak to me. When I completed the campaign I messed around with the multiplayer for a while but then I was done. It may be because I have no history with the Transformers IP so take that with a pinch of salt. Transformers fans will love this game, and if you just like a solid playing shooter with interesting multiplayer (who doesn’t?) you should also give it a look.

Reviewed by jamespugh5 – July 22, 2010

Graphics
The transformations are awesome and the visuals are one to look at. Rare glitches though.
 
Sound
Sound effects are great and the voice acting is also a positive in WFC. Voice cast is from the cartoon shows and movies.
 
Fun
Both campaigns offer massive amount of fun especially the multiplayer. A solid shooter which must not be missed by all fans of the series.
 
Final Score

 

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