Mindless Review: Transformers: War for Cybertron
I was a bit hesitant going into Transformers: War for Cybertron. After having my childhood murdered by the first live action Transformers movie, than having it’s corpse defiled by it’s sequel it wasn’t the greatest time to be a Transformers fan. But low and behold the light at the end of the tunnel. Transformers fans can stand tall because the folks at High Moon Studios not only made a great Transformers game, but one who’s story has firm roots within the G1 cartoon mythology. Greatest of all Michael Bay has nothing to do with it.
The campaign revolves around Megatron getting ahold of a substance called Dark Energon, and him using it to take control of Cybertron. You can play as both the Autobots and the Decepticons over the course of the campaign. Whats interesting about the story is that Hasbro has gone on record in saying that this is actually canon with the G1 cartoon. So you can consider this a prequel to the events of the cartoon. You get to see some interesting events unfold, like how Optimus became a Prime, Starscream’s betrayal from the Autobots, and a few others.
TWFC is a 3rd person shooter that has you in a squad of three Transformers at any time. You have no choice over who is in your squad but you can pick between any of the three Transformers you want to play as. And there is a difference between which Transformer you choose to control, each has their own abilities and skills that set them apart from one another.
Your squad members are AI-controlled, but you have the ability to play the entire campaign in 3 player online co-op. I havn’t tried the co-op myself but it’s a nice option to have, since most of the time your AI companions are pretty useless.
If you’ve played a 3rd person shooter before than you can probably guess what you can expect from the gameplay. You run from point A to point B shooting enemies with a variety of guns, but this time you get big ass robot guns. You get your standard set of guns that you would expect: pistols, shotguns, rifles, sniper riffles,etc but with a Cybertronian twist.
The big hook though is that you are a Transformer so being a Transformer you will transform into things. It’s really fun to be running around one second than transform into a jet instantly, and suddenly have a new way of doing things. What’s really smart about the transforming is that the controls for each mode are pretty much identical for each form. So it doesn’t leave you fumbling around trying to figure out what does what, it a very smooth and natural transition.
The graphics are nice and polished, the character models looks great and animate smoothly, and the environments look nice although they do get a bit repetitive. Everything is very mechanical looking, it’s a robot planet so the look of it makes sense for where you are, and it would have been really hard to stick a jungle in the middle of Cybertron and make it seem natural.
Also it would have been nice for High Moon to put in a few puzzles here and there instead of just shooting things all the time.
The audio in terms of music isn’t anything special. I can’t really remember what the music was like, I didn’t have any complaints with it, it just wasn’t memorable but it was serviceable. And no, The Touch is no where to be heard in this game. The voice acting however is very well done. Each Transformer sounds like you would expect them to, they even got Peter Cullen to voice Optimus.
When your finished with the campaign there’s still a lot to do to hold your attention for awhile. TWFC has two main online modes. The first simply called Multiplayer is your standard competitive online experience you would expect from any shooter. Here you have modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Attack/Defend and a few others. The online is actually pretty heafty in terms of what you can do.
You can choose between four different classes: Scout, Scientist, Soldier and Leader. Each class plays differently and comes with their own weapon load-outs and different abilities each one can use. As you play you earn experience points and level up. Leveling up earns you new weapons, abilities and different perks you can equip to your Transformer.
Speaking of your Transformer there is a bit of customization in how your bot looks. All you can do is choose between a different body type for each class and change it’s colour scheme. It isn’t much but it’s nice that there is some control you have over how you look.
The second online mode is Escalation. Escalation has you and a maximum of three others teamed up together to fight wave after wave of AI controlled enemies to see how long you can last with each wave getting more difficult. Escalation has you in control of Transformers that you play as throughout the campaign rather than your custom bot from Multiplayer.
Now here comes the bad part. Although the online stuff is fun, there are definitely some major connection issues within Multiplayer. It’s very difficult to connect to a game and stay connected, many times will I think that I’ve gotten connected only to be kicked off at the last minute. Oddly enough though I don’t have any of these problems while playing Escalation, I usually get connected right away and I’m very rarely kicked off due to connection issues.
High Moon Studios has already released a patch on the 360 version of the game, but I’m playing on the PS3 and we haven’t gotten anything yet. So hopefully they get this fixed soon cause it’s a shame that they have this great online option but it’s frustratingly difficult to get a chance to play it.
If your a fan of 3rd person shooters and want something different from the usual fare you should put some serious thought into picking up TWFC. It’s a great 3rd person shooter and the transformation mechanic keeps things interesting and fresh. If your a Transformer fan this is a no brainer TWFC is a must by, it fills in some blanks from Transformer history and is cannon with the G1 cartoon. With it’s fun online modes (when they work) Transformers: War for Cybertron my very well be the sleeper-hit of the summer.
Transformers: War for Cybertron: 8.7/10