Review: Transformers War for Cybertron (PS3)

Title: Transformers War for Cybertron
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Publisher: Activision
Developer: High Moon Studios
Price: $59.99

Gameplay:
Transformers’ single player mode tells the story of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons prior to their arrival on Earth, and consists of ten missions, split evenly between the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns. At the outset, you’re given the option of selecting either the Decepticon or Autobot campaign, but playing the missions in order, starting with the Decepticon missions and then followed by the Autobot missions tells one continuous story. For each mission you have the option of choosing between three different characters. Whichever characters you don’t choose are controlled by the AI. The AI characters work well, although they occasionally did get in between me and the enemy I was targeting.

Even though each side’s campaign only has five missions, they are, for the most part, pretty lengthy. The main issue I had with the single player missions is that you rarely fought any of the iconic transformers. You mostly fight generic Autobots or Decepticons, and while you’ll encounter several different classes of these enemies, like those than can transform into jets, or those that have the ability to cloak, it would have been nice to have fought against more of the popular characters as well.

The control scheme for Transformers works really well. The game provides similar control schemes for robot mode and vehicle mode. A button that performs a specific function when in robot form, will for the most part, perform the same or similar action when in vehicle mode. For example, the button that makes the character to jump in robot mode will also make ground vehicles jump, or make jets ascend.

The fact that the control schemes in robot form and vehicle form are so similar makes controlling your character fairly easy, and in no time at all you’ll find yourself switching between modes with ease. In a game where the character can switch between different forms, the potential is there to have a really cumbersome control scheme, with each mode controlling completely different, but High Moon did a great job in avoiding that potential pitfall.

Visuals:
Transformers looks fantastic. The world of Cybertron in this game is incredible, and it truly feels like a giant robotic, mechanical world. Whether you’re in the deep underground caverns near the core of Cybertron or the Autobot headquarters known as Iacon, the world provides great backdrops for the action.

I also like the new look of the Transformers themselves. They look like more stylized versions of the 80’s transformers, but are still recognizable as the characters we know and love. Their vehicle modes look good too. Since the game takes place before the transformers arrival on Earth, you won’t see fighter planes or trucks. Instead you’ll see more sleek, futuristic-looking vehicles that are really well designed.

Audio:
The game’s audio is well done, specifically when it comes to voice acting. Even though almost all the voices in the game weren’t the original voices from the series, they were in many cases, similar, and were able to give the characters real personalities. Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, provides the voice for Optimus once again, and for anyone who is a fan of the show, hearing the original Prime’s voice throughout the Autobot campaign will definitely put a smile on your face.

Online/Multiplayer:
Transformers offers a good variety of competitive multiplayer modes that range from your standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch fare to more teamwork-oriented game types like Code of Power, which puts one team on offense trying to steal a powerful weapon, and the other on defense trying to stop them. There is also a co-operative multiplayer mode called Escalation. Escalation is Transformers’ version of Gears of War’s Horde mode or Halo’s Firefight mode. The goal is to survive wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies. After each wave you can spend points earned from defeating enemies on things like health, ammo and weapons.

Creating a character is necessary for the competitive multiplayer modes. The characters fall under four different classes: Leaders, Scientists, Scouts and Soldiers. Each class has various weapons to choose from, and can be given a specific set of abilities and upgrades, more of which open up as your character gains experience levels. Unfortunately, while there is a great deal of customization in terms of the capabilities of your characters, each class only gives you a few pre-set choices for what you character can look like, and what they transform into. I hope that if there are future entries in the Transformers series, you’ll be given more options for character creation, since the idea of creating your own transformer and pitting it against others in multiplayer, or even single player settings for that matter, sounds like an exciting prospect. Unlike the competitive multiplayer modes, Escalation doesn’t use custom characters. Instead, you select your character from any of the iconic Transformers characters.

I was only able to play some of the multiplayer offerings, but I enjoyed what I got to play. Deathmatch was certainly fun, and I like what I played of Escalation, though I played in a public match, and I think it would have been more fun if I played that mode with people I knew, since that mode definitely requires teamwork and communication,

Conclusion:
Transformers: War for Cybertron is a solid effort from High Moon Studios. The single player campaign, despite its lack of popular transformers to fight against, still manages to be fun, and the multiplayer modes give players plenty of options for taking the fight online. I’m hoping that this isn’t the last we see in this series, and that High Moon takes War for Cybertron and builds upon it, making a good game even better.

Score:
8.0

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Written by Paul Nash

Paul is originally from New York City but now lives in South Florida (A former New Yorker now living in Florida? That NEVER happens…). Paul has been playing video games for a long time. He started playing games during the days of the Sega Master System and NES, and hasn’t really stopped since. He’s owned just about all of the major consoles since then, and quite honestly, doesn’t see the sense in stopping now. Some of his favorite games include Revenge of Shinobi, Final Fantasy Tactics, and The Mark of Kri.

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