Transformers: War for Cybertron Review
|Developer:||High Moon Studios|
|Genre:||Third Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||June 25th, 2010 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Andrew Hemphill (Bandit)|
There's no Megan Fox. Not one bit of Megan Fox. Now that sad fact is out of the way, let's talk about Transformers: War for Cybertron, a surprisingly good adaptation of the long-running and thoroughly confusing Transformers series.
As a kid I was never one for Transformers, finding the hammy acting a little too annoying for my liking (that and Lego was so much more fun to play with), but Transformers fans can finally rejoice - this is a good game.
Yes you heard that correctly - High Moon's War for Cybertron is the game all you fanboys have been waiting for. With a license like Transformers, High Moon were going to be hard-pressed to impress, but the final product is so good that Hasbro has even retconned it into official Transformers canon - so when you're playing the game, you're forging the very start of the series.
Set millennia before the events of the '80s TV show, the game covers the middle and end of the Cybertronian civil war - between the heroic Autobots and the power-hungry Decepticons.
Megatron (with cheesy '80s style voice acting) has discovered a new source of power: 'Dark Energon', and he intends to poison the living planet to wipe out the Autobots. Optimus, not yet a Prime, leads the Autobots in defence of Cybertron, meeting familiar faces and discovering his true destiny along the way - fans will enjoy the attention to detail High Moon have crammed into the game, and will revel in the history being exposed this way.
The single player campaign, which is fought from both sides of the battle, is a good 10 hours of blasting, and has enough intrigue and character progression to keep the gameplay light and fun. The gameplay itself is styled as one of the now-rare third-person shooters which eschews cover for all-out blasting.
It's surprisingly refreshing not to have to worry about health bars and destructible cover, and the Tribes-meets-Unreal action is fun and addictive.
The transitions from robot to vehicle are very well implemented, and are far more useful than the pointless showboating of previous games. The characters also look and feel right, and pretty soon it becomes natural to switch back and forth for different situations.
All the major characters are in attendance - Optimus, Starscream, Bumblebee and Jetfire being particularly well dubbed - and a supporting cast of Transformers, ranging from a city-sized monster to giant worm-type things - bring the battles to life.
The game itself is mostly open-world fare, with only a few corridor shooter sections and the occasional on-rails blasting bit. These larger areas of Cybertron are really great fun to fight in and explore, the mechanical planet managing to look very different as the mission take you across its surface, though the colour palate could have used a little more imagination than metallic grey, blue, red and purple.
The shooting action can start to get a little repetitive now and then, but as each level can be played with two other players online in a drop-in system it can be great fun to team up and use your Transformers' abilities to aid each other in a scrap. When you finish the campaign you come to the real meat of the game - the multiplayer.
This part of the game is a brilliant little squad-based shooter which harkens back to the days of Team Fortress and Half Life. Choosing either side of the civil war, you and your team have to complete any number of objectives, or just go head to head in team deathmatch. There is also a decent Horde-alike mode which pits your team against wave after wave of robotic enemies.
The wide-open spaces are brilliant for this kind of blasting, and watching a truck and a tank face off before transforming in mid air and coming to blows in robot form never gets old - It's great fun and very addictive, and a must after a hard day at work.
Graphically the game is pretty reasonable, though the environments can start to look rather familiar after a while. The textures are all pretty solid, though they can occasionally glitch when the action really gets going.
The camera is also (thankfully) pretty docile, staying locked over the Transformers' shoulder all the time. This is a good thing to, as when you transform into any one of the dozens of flying Transformers the action gets pretty intense, and keeping track of just what you're shooting at becomes a challenge in itself.
Overall, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a brilliant addition to the series, and well worth a look if you're a Transformers nut, or new to the series. The singleplayer is an enjoyable, if repetitive, blast, but the best side of the game by far is the multiplayer, which combines old-school blasting with squad tactics and, lest we forget, robots in disguise.
- Good story, woven into official canon
- Simple but effective gameplay
- Fantastic, old-school multiplayer
Not so good stuff
- Repetitive missions
- Fairly dull colour palate
- Occasional graphical bugs