A little over 25 years ago, Hasbro introduced a toy-line that would change the lives of many little boys (and girls). The Transformers are a novelty when it comes to 80s cartoons; itís a bona fide classic series, alongside many others. So, to think that a quarter of a century later, we would still see movies and video games made out of this prolific franchise, is a testament on how popular, it really is. Optimus , Ratchet, Bumblebee, IronHide , Soundwave, Megatron and Starscream shouldnít be complete strangers to any Transformers fans. They have a special place in everyoneís heart, who happen to grew up in the 80ís and the 90ís. Sometimes however, franchises lose steam, and while some games might not be as great as we hoped they would; The Transformers was a great commercial success elsewhere, namely on the box-office. Itís no lie when we say, that the franchise hasnít been treated too well by the video game industry. Blame it on the tight deadlines, the pressure to release a movie-based game. Itís not always easy to bring to life, the true spirit of The Transformers.
So here we are, so many years after the original toy-line release, wondering if a game might have the touch, the power to convince us. That the flame for the Transformers franchise is still burning in our grown-up hearts. Weíve waited a long time for a genuine rendition of the series universe, letís see if Transformers: War For Cybertron, delivered on that.
The first thing youíll realize, while playing Transformers: War For Cybertron is, that itís a run-of-the-mill shooter. Thereís nothing impressive here, but a simple display of a classic third-person shooter. The big difference is the versatility of gameplay. Having a plethora of iconic characters diversifies the game enough so that, boredom never settles in. Itís actually one of the few aspects, that the game has going for itself. The main campaign although extremely linear and short, provides enough entertainment with its constant nudges to the original series, and incredible voice acting. A lot of the voice-actors are back, giving a sense of authenticity to the story. There are lots and lots of cameos, to satisfy even the most dedicated fans. The story essentially follows the events, which occurred before the Autobots venture, to the stars. It remains straight forward and simple, the acme of the campaign emphasizes more on the characters, and foreshadows some great encounters. Youíll play as both the Decepticons and the Autobots during the story.
Boss fights are dynamic and surprisingly, well done; they take full advantage of the diversity of the classes available. Leaders, soldiers, scouts, and scientists are the main assets youíll have to work with in single-player and in multiplayer mode. Thereís nothing revolutionary about anything here either, matter of fact, the game follows a very conservative Activision style of gameplay, especially in its multiplayer mode. The Call of Duty scoring system is in effect, with multiple ways to earn points. Several modes are available mimicking the same prefixes of its Modern Warfare cousin.
The Escalation mode is fairly straight-forward as well, (The good old horde-mode we have come to expect from every shooter ever), where youíll have to survive waves after waves of enemies in set battlegrounds. Itís kind of a shame that thereisnít any real incentives to play this mode, since the only ranking youíll have, will be based on the total score youíve obtained and the waves fought. It wouldíve been great to have the mode integrated with the rest of the multiplayer system, rather than leaving it more pointless, that it already is. The Coop mode is a nice addition; you can play the entire campaign accompanied. And since itís relatively short, youíll most certainly be making speed-runs with friends or random strangers. Replayability is high; however it will jeopardize the experience for players who have low interest in these kinds of features.
High Moon Studios was able to bring out, a fairly standard shooter that provides an entertaining and endearing experience. The characters deliverance is spot on; the story follows the genesis of the franchise, with a sense of style, and commitment to the lore. (Any fan of the series will find his or her place in the universe that War For Cybertron, has to offer). Youíll find an incredibly diverse 3rd person shooter to mess around in, and the game delivers especially on this point. The world is actually made for Autobots and Decepticons, itís massive, cybernetic and let you fight however and wherever you want. Transforming in mid-air from a speeding dash while cloaking, will never get old, as well as flying through the battlefield in your jet-form. The overall controls are tight and responsive. However youíll find out, more than once, in multiplayer, that the transforming button will cause some unwanted frustrations. Since it is mapped on the L3 button, you might want to be gentle with the analog movements. Itís far from broken, it actually feels natural most of the time, but especially in close combat (mapped on R3) it will most likely, give you some issues.
As for the gameís AI; your enemies are extremely moronic. They get stuck in walls or die, watching you unload havoc on them. Enemies tend to move unnaturally in the battlefield, use cover poorly, (the kind of robots who throw themselves in the open). Computer allies are unhelpful and really dumb. Transformers:War For Cybertron is not a very well polished game, Decepticons seems to have blurrier textures than Autobots (on the PS3), loadings are atrocious, especially in Multiplayer. Ultimately, even if all those problems contribute to some of the gameís biggest flaws, itís entirely irrelevant to the overall experience. Beneath all this lays an amazing game, with a solid multiplayer, awesome characters, and a brief but epic campaign.
If you had any interest in the Transformers franchise in the past, or have recently discovered about their greatness, War For Cybertron is not a title to miss. Itís incredibly fun, true to the original vision of the series. Way more serious than what weíve come to expect from the franchise, while maintaining its juvenile fun. It remains one of the most faithful adaptations of the Transformer lore, to any medium ever. A lot of love has been put into this game to please the fans, despite its flaws. Thereís definitely an appeal to Transformer: War For Cybertron, it couldíve been more than meets the eyes, but it isnít quite. Fortunately, itís the best Transformers game to come out in years.
*The PS3 version was played for the review.*
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