Transformers: War for Cybertron is unlike any other Transformer game to date in the fact that it doesn’t suck tail pipe. It also isn’t constrained to any predefined plot like a movie tie-in, or a previously established story, which opens up the possibilities when it comes to playing a unique Transformers adventure. This is where War for Cybertron shines. It’s unique setting and prequel style lore really help to setup the best Transformers game to date.
The single player campaign, which can be played with two other gamers, is split into two parts and deals with the battle that took place on Cybertron before the robots came to Earth. You begin with the Decepticon campaign, which sets up the second half of the game, and then you wrap up the game with the Autobot campaign. That’s the main jist of the plot, and so far it’s been enjoyable. There’s a pretty cool reveal about Starscream towards the beginning of the campaign, which helps to add to the Transformers lore, and surely will excite some fanboys. Overall, I’m totally enjoying the campaign story and it seems to really add to the gamers experience while playing this game.
The actual gameplay itself is very solid. My one gripe is that the default controller scheme is bogus. I highly recommend switching your controler scheme to option B, which allows you to transform with the “Y” button versus clicking down on the “LS” function of the stick. If you don’t believe me I promise you’ll change to it the first time you go to strafe, and instead of moving right or left you transform like a spastic robot. It’s a minor gripe and easily fixed using the settings menu, so it’s not a deal breaker at all.
If you’ve played any third-person Unreal Engine shooters then Transformers: War for Cybertron will feel right at home. I like to compare the gameplay feel to Gears of War with Halo overtones. The controls and 3rd person perspective give it that Gears flavor, but instead of the pop and cover formula of Gears, Transformers feels more run and gun like Halo. The action is pretty intense with very few lulls in the pacing. Your crew of Transformers seemlessly blast the opposition, and can change in and out of their vehicle form at ease. It makes for some interesting fire fights that are a constantly changing battle between robots and vehicles.
Speaking of the vehicle forms, I’d have to say the Jets are my favorite. Sometimes flying mechanics in a game get kind of hairy, and you may find yourself fighting the controls. This is not the case with Transformers: War for Cybertron. It’s so damn easy to convert to a jet and hit the skies to finish the fight. I love jumping off a platform, and mid jump transforming to a lean mean fighter jet. The animation looks cool, and the transition to fighting as a jet is seemless. Transforming into your vehicle form works very nicely and feels exactly as it should for a game about shape shifting robots.
It’s a fun experience and I have no complaints about the gameplay. If anything the game may be too easy. Maybe it’s rougher on Hard, but I want to save that playthrough for a co-op run, so hopefully some of my buds will be grabbing this 3 man co-op romp in the near future. I really enjoy the game solo, but I think it’d be even better if played with 2 other humans. You’re AI bots do alright and don’t just stare out into space like crackheads, but it’d be nice to roll through the land of Cybertron with some real brains behind your wingmen.
The graphics aren’t anything to drop a load to, but they aren’t shabby either. I think the color pallette of the Cybertron world is what makes the game seem so machine like. I mean sh*t, it’s a planet full of robots, so you’re probably not going to find any lush landscapes, or human-like world features. I didn’t notice any frame rate issues, and all of the action seems to play out smoothly on screen. The cut scenes aren’t anything spectacular, but at the same time they don’t take away from the game, and only serve as segues. Ultimately, it’s a good looking game, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen already.
I have yet to play the multiplayer portions of the game, which encompass your typical multiplayer options as well as an Escalation mode, which is similar to the Gear of War Horde mode. I have played the multiplayer demo, and the one issue I’ve noticed is the rampant use of the melee button. It just seems odd that a melee attack is almost an instant jib, where your gun play doesn’t seem to do the same amount of damage. Outside of that, the multiplayer seems pretty frenetic and fun.
I’d imaging Escalation is a blast with some friends, but I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet. I believe it deals with defeating wave after wave of Transformers while you earn points, which can be spent on upgrades, ammo, and new weapons. I love that games are taking this approach now where a mode is included that just focuses on kicking the tar out of the AI. It’s fun playing against humans, but every once in awhile I enjoy teaming up with some pals and taking on whatever the AI can throw at us.
In the end I believe Transformers: War for Cybertron is an 8/10. It’s a game that takes a fresh spin on the Transformers license and makes playing with these robots fun again. It has tons of replay value with the ability to play the campaign co-op style with arcade scroing, standard multiplayer, and the escalation mode. The best part is that the game just doesn’t suck.
I really found myself just having a good time playing. I didn’t feel like smashing my controller, biting myself, or even letting some spit fly at the TV. This is always a good thing, and is a sign that this game is entertaining. The graphics won’t blow you away, but the gameplay and co-op abilites will keep you coming back for some more robot goodness. What are you waiting for? Pick up your copy today. I need a Bumblebee to compliment my Optimus! You’ve been given more than meets the eye with this game…
E.B. “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”