Game Review: Transformers: War For Cybertron
Release: June 22nd, 2010
Genre: 3rd Person Shooter
Developer: High Moon Studios
Available Platforms: Xbox360 / PS3/ PC
Players: 1-3 Campaign Co-Op / 2-10 Online Multiplayer
ESRB: T for Teen
Growing up as a child of the late 80’s I vividly remember running off the school bus each and every day to watch the blockbuster cartoon segment, which formed a big part of my childhood. Leading the pack was always Voltron Defender of the Universe, followed by G.I. JOE a real American Hero and then capping the day off was The Transformers. The Transformers were the epitome of heroism to me as a young child, their leader Optimus Prime in particular. A father figure to all the Autobots, he was more than a leader, living in an alien world that did not understand them as they struggled to get home while fighting the evil Decepticons. Those memories never faded and when I recollect upon the Transformers I have fond memories of the adventures I had as a child. Today it seems as if everything 1980s is now new again, as everything is now being remade or revisited in video games or movies. Being tasked to review Transformers: War for Cybertron I had mixed feelings about a video game taking liberties with an intellectual property that I have such fond memories for. Before reviewing the game I really have to say to developer High Moon Studios…Thank You. Thank you for having a creative enough vision to respect the universe I grew up knowing, you have seemingly done an amazing job with taking the 80s cartoon and the 2000 like Transformers design and introducing an origins story that is intelligent and respectful for everyone.
From the overall presentation, any fan of the Transformers will notice the level of detail from the sound effects to smallest design touches, like the prison bands used to hold the prisoners. (The same design used in the cartoon.) Most of the characters voices are spot on with the cartoon and the vocal reflection also invokes the personalities of these characters as well. The world of Cybertron is amazing and lifelike, and High Moon Studios does a great job of making the world different enough to never seem drab and boring. This is no easy feat considering that Cybertron is essentially one big machine. If anything the overall presentation is what should be the new staple when taking a TV or Movie properties into the realm of video games. I found that even when they did take liberties outside of conventional continuity it was all done within context of the property, with the utmost respect.
Transformers is a prequel story telling of the rise of both Optimus Prime as the Autobot leader, and the rise of his arch nemesis Megatron. Played in a series of levels spit up between Autobot and Decepticon based missions, gamers can choose one of three Transformers per level. These levels can be played out solo or with three-player (Drop-in-Drop-out) Co-op. The energonic action in Transformer is the traditional 3rd person shooter that throws in some vehicular combat via the ability to transform at any given point. Each transformer has its own mini special ability and ultra cool robo melee weapon in robot form and a character specific weapon in vehicle mode. All the additional weapons found within Cybertron are scattered throughout the levels and are robotic variations of traditional guns, (Sniper rifle, grenade launcher, etc), and red barrels of energy that..guess what?? “EXPLODE!” The controls are solid, although at times they seem a bit floaty as your character seems to glide while in zoom mode. While doing little vehicle segments in which you race to get to a checkpoint seem very cool you never get a real sense of speed or power from your character. This is a little distracting at times since the overall presentation is very spot on.
Transformers also has many different multiplayer options , such as Escalation mode in which you fend of waves of enemies with up to four other players via live. This mode has a lot in common with Call of Duties Zombie mode where points earned per round are then spent to unlock new areas and or buy health and power ups. The other multiplayer options are all standard fair such as death match, Conquest (Territories), Code of Power (Capture and Defend), Countdown to Extinction (Bomb). Also like Call of Duty you will find character customization and a perk system set up for online play.
After spending many, many hours with this game I can honestly say that the only thing stopping Transformers from being a AAA title is the controls. If High Moon Studios could tighten up game play to be a little more responsive and give a little more power to the robots in disguise this could have been one for the books.
As a fan of the Transformer series, both the young and older child in me would recommend the game in a heartbeat. It is amazingly entertaining and full of wonderment and respect for the series. For the no- fans, I would still recommend the game as a rental or bargain buy. The Transformers: War For Cybertron does what many licensed games do not do, it does not stray to far from the working formula of the series and what they made is a winner. So I wanted to say something clever to end the review and I cant think of it so Ill just go play some more Transformers.