Transformers: War for Cybertron Review

-Keith Michael

I have always loved transformers; the toys, the cartoons, and even the movies were always good times. The videogames on the other hand are the one area that Hasbro has never seemed to be able to hit hard on. Sure, there was that mediocre Beast Wars game and the Transformers game that had the Minicons in it, but neither of them seemed original and I never got the feeling that I was a big metal robot running around waging war against other robots. Well, Hasbro has finally got something to be proud of thanks to the people at Activision. With tons of explosions, enemies, and of course constant transforming. This game truly is the best Transformers game out there.

The story in Transformers: War for Cybertron is pretty much what the title implies. The game starts off with Megatron, the Decepticon, beginning his assault on Iacon, the Autobot home city. Right out of the gate, this game was throwing out tons of famous transformers like Starcream, Soundwave, and Bumblebee. Most of the time, when it comes to a Transformers story, the robots are already making their way to Earth with the intent of stealing all of it’s energon or something along those lines. Well, in War for Cybertron, you get to see how everything goes down; from Starscream’s first encounter and deception with Megatron to Bumblebee meeting Optimus. One thing that kept me enjoying the story was that not everything is how I remember it, Optimus had to become the leader of the Autobots and to my surprise he was actually reluctant at first. The game was nicely done allowing the player to see both sides of the story all while not making you feel like the first half of it was for nothing. I don’t want to give it away, but I will say that you won’t spend the entire time taking over as Megatron just to have EVERYTHING taken back by the Autobots. The dialogue in the game was all done by professionals. Megatron, Optimus, Starcream and pretty much every other character was done by there cartoon voice-over counterparts. There is plenty of voice work to be had in this game because characters like Bumblebee and Sideswipe never stop talking. For me, the story was like a dream comes true when it comes to Transformers, simply because I don’t remember ever seeing a good origins story.

The graphics in War for Cybertron are far above all of the other Transformers games that have ever come out. Cybertron is a big moving world, constantly transforming as you make your way through it. The levels all get blown apart as you are playing and even in the background there are explosions and flying transformers chasing each other in an all out dog fight. The really neat thing about Cybertron is, in this game, even though there is no foliage or organic material any where to be found, the planet still seems to be alive. There are running rivers of energon, little robotic bugs walking around, and it even rains on Cybertron. Who would care about any of this if the robots themselves didn’t look good; well that’s not a problem. Each transformer is pretty recognizable (depending on how big of a nerd you are) and even the vehicle modes will remind you of their Earth forms. Since War for Cybertron is actually on Cybertron, there would be no reason for Optimus to look like a big semi, but oddly enough when he transforms, his chassis looks like a semi. Let’s face it though, I wouldn’t want it any other way, Megatron has to have a big Cannon and Optimus has to be a semi. The only real complaint I had with the graphics is that sometimes during the cutscenes, the characters would not be rendered completely until a few seconds into the scene. I’m not sure if it is just my copy, but it is something to be aware of. I simply loved the way Activision portrayed the Autobots and Decepticons in this game and Cybertron was just how I always imagined it.

The gameplay in War for Cybertron will remind most of you of games like Gears of War and Battlefront, without the covering system of Gears of War. War for Cybertron is part over-the-shoulder shooter, part vehicle shooter, and part dog-fighting. Each different method of playing the game works just fine. You can melee and switch to different guns like sniper rifles or shotgun if the all-out shooter game is your thing. Or you can do what I did and spend most of your time switching back and forth just to see some of the crazy transformation kills you can get. Or you can just stay as a vehicle most of the time, which reminded me of Twisted Metal. I always wanted to go really fast transform and kill something while still sliding out of vehicle mode, well in this game, that is possible. The transforming is no longer a three second task that makes you want to stay in robot form the entire time. Activision wanted to make sure you were using both modes and they made it pretty flawless. The little noises are thrown in and everything. The flying in the game is pretty cool too, with the ability to hover and strafe or just fly at “mach” speed. All of the controls are pretty easy to understand and they will really remind you of flying a helicopter in Grand Theft Auto. Like any shooting game, the enemies will get kind of repetitive, there is a good selection of enemies to kill though. Anything from little grunts to big brutes to giant bosses will be available to destroy, although most enemies you just point at and shoot until they explode. The boss battles are really the only thing in the game that takes thinking. Sometimes I found myself fighting them over and over until I figured out the method. Other than some really tough boss battles and reused enemies, the gameplay is pretty solid. A good selection of weapons accompanies an option of three different robot selections for each chapter, making War for Cybertron a nice game that has some depth. Finishing the game is more satisfying than in other games because the credits have this really cool retro style song playing while the different transformers role around and do some quirky things.

I just want to say it again; I loved the Transformers series as a kid and, even to this day, still have some of the toys in my house. I have been waiting for a good Transformers game since I was a new gamer seeing them on T.V. for the first time, and never has there been a good game, until now. Transformers: War for Cybertron is what any fan has been waiting for when it comes to a Transformers game. It isn’t perfect yet, considering Activision chose not to give it any type of cover system, which should, pretty much, be a mandatory things in shooter games any more, but it is truly the best Transformers game out. There is still some room for improvement and maybe Fall of Cybertron will bring them, but until then this game is well worth the 30 or so dollars you will pay for it.

Verdict: 90%

Transformers: War for Cybertron - Full Trailer

Are you a Transformers fan? Did this game live up to expectations? Haven’t played it and want to?