Transformers War for Cybertron XBox 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.0
Sound 9.0
Value 8.6
Distributor: Activision
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
June 2010
Reviewer:
Andrew Bistak

8.6


Transformers War for Cybertron

After a rather lacklustre and disappointing Transformers game in 2007 (Transformers the Game) and also 2009 (Transformers Revenge of the Fallen), Activision have once again revisited this franchise, hopefully to repent to the gaming community. With that said, I must admit that I had some trepidation with this latest game, Transformers War for Cybertron but after seeing the trailers over the last few months, my concerns slowly began to ease. Surely, they could get it right this time! After 15 minutes of playing... I was happy!

 

In terms of chronology, Transformers War for6 Cybertron is set before the cartoon series or when the Transformers arrived on Earth and this could be considered the official prequel by Hasbro. Best of all, the game is accompanied by a comic from IDW, the official publisher of comics for this franchise and they have definitely done the series justice.

Unlike the previous game which was loosely based on the films, this current game revolves around the original home planet of the Transformers, Cybertron when the great war began. Here, a menacing battle between the Decepticons and Autobots rages with the victor being awarded total domination of Cybertron. Paying homage to the original cartoons, with some artistic liberty taken from the movie, Transformers War for Cybertron is oozing with a variety of references from this mythology as players transform into a variety of vehicles and duke it out in this 3rd person action shooter.

The game begins with an impressive Transformer inspired cinematic with our favourite Autobot, Optimus Prime narrating the fall of Cybertron as the Autobot and Decepticons attempt to get the upper hand over their opponents. Although certain elements from the movie appear in the game, it's clearly based on the IDW comic series which already lends more credibility to this production. Once the cinematic is finished, the player is then thrown into the Transformer inspired menu system. 

From here, gamers can choose campaign (solo or co-op), XBox Live multiplayer, escalation (survive waves of enemies with friends) and extras which displays bonus content that needs to be unlocked. The main mode of play is campaign but the game does have some great multiplayer options, whether it's traditional death match or escalation which is similar to hoard like gears of war. 

Before starting the missions, players are given of choice of what Transformers they can play and this of course depends on whether the mission will require more air or land based requirements. The campaign mode boasts 10 chapters of the war for Cybertron which is divided into five chapters per faction. The first five levels allows the player to control the Decepticons with the final five chapters beings devoted to the Autobots. In order to appreciate the story, you really should play the Decepticons first. Finally, before starting, you need to choose which of the Transformers you wish to control and best of all, the game allows you to play even the more popular ones such as Megatron or Optimus.

Once in the game, the player is pretty much thrown in the deep end as you need to help Megatron steal a deadly ancient power source from Starscream. In terms of a tutorial, it's all text based via the menus which is a bit of a shame as a more interactive tutorial would have been better for newcomers.

Nonetheless, when you do start controlling the transformers, it does feel like you are controlling these giant metallic giants. The controls have been mapped well on the 360 controller with the left analog stick used to navigate the environment, the right stick to control the camera angle and more importantly, X to interact with the environment. The shoulder buttons are used to fire your weapons or fly and some of the other controls include transforming into a vehicle (sound effects included), jumping and a limited melee attack.

Each of the chapters have a set number of objectives and almost infinite number of enemies to defeat and thankfully there is a compass to assist you in the right direction which includes a distance meter. Combat plays a vital role in the game and the Transformers that you control have access to a variety of weapons which are found throughout Cybertron. From giant shotguns to sniper rifles, the weaponry is quite diverse but the ammunition is quite limited. The grunt battles do become a tad repetitive but when you do face the bosses, this is where the excitement comes into play and it can be quite challenging at times. Flying or driving your Transformers is handled well, although sometimes the tight corridors of Cybertron make for some control difficulties. Nothing is more fun than jumping up in the air and turning into a tank or plane. It's these little things that made the game so appealing to this long time Transformers fan... after so many disappointing starts.

Auto save is used well and you regain health in a variety of ways from regeneration to energon cubes for example. If you do die, you automatically start from the last check point. The gaming environment has been well designed and looks like Cybertron from the comics and the brief glimpse you got from the last movie. The only issue with the world that you play in, is that at times it looks a little busy with all this advanced technology. This is only small gripe though. The only other gripe with the gameplay is that this game does not offer the world of third person shooters anything new in terms of content (apart from being able to transform into a vehicle). However, the star of the game is the homage it pays to the comic series and to the original cartoon series which has been handled well, from the cinematics to the perfect voice acting. Developers High Moon Studios deserve a medal, especially for getting many of the actors from the cartoon series to voice the character!

Multiplayer offers different classes that include scientist, scout and my favourite, the soldier that does borrow some aspects from COD. The multiplayer side of the game works just as well as the single-player and we experienced no lag or issues in challenging other players. But what made the multiplayer for me was the ability to “transform” which added some fun gameplay elements to the game from this popular series. Team Deathmatch was a blast to play as Decepticons and Autobots challenged each other in an all out brawl. Conquest is another great multiplayer game as you attempt to hold off the enemy and is a little reminiscent of Star Wars Battlefront.

The graphics mimic this universe well, especially the detailed character designs which include all our favourite transformers such as Jetfire, Soundwave and Optimus. The environments are quite meticulous but some places seem a little flat and almost appear 2D. The special effects are great as are the pre-rendered cutscenes which are littered throughout the missions and also assist in moving the story forward. The sound effects are perfect with that familiar transformation sound and perfect yet sometimes clichéd voice acting. The Transformers sound identical to their cartoon counterparts which provides some entertaining fan service. Peter Cullen once again sounds perfect as Optimus! Lastly, the music music sets the scene with the gameplay which is mainly orchestral but there is some heavy rock as well.

It may just be another third person shooter but for fans of the Transformers, this is probably the best video game ever. The homage to the original cartoon series and with the links to the IDW comic series, the developers have successfully incorporated this mythology into their game. When you control the Transformers, it actually feels like how they may interact with the real-world, from the powerful guns that they carry to the way they transform. Even though you'll knock off the single player campaign quite quickly, the multiplayer aspect has enough grunt to keep you playing. Definitely one for the fans!






 
 



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