Transformers have been going strong now for 26 years and have provided so much joy and entertainment for millions of people all around the world. The series has shown up in popular TV series, movies, toys and of course video games. Sadly the good transformers games out there can be counted without much effort as there has yet to be a good one to date. High Moon Studios and Activision look to recreate the Autobots and Decepticons and finally give everyone a transformers game they can be proud of.
War for Cybertron takes gamers back to the roots of this whole conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons. Cybertron is the home base of both factions and the beginning to this 26 year battle between the two. Gamers will have the chance to fight on the front lines of evil with Megatron and his decepticons or Optimus Prime and his fellow autobots. Megatron is out to use a legendary energy called Dark Energon to infect Cybertron and reign supreme over all. Optimus Prime is hell bent on stopping him from this evil plan and will need your strength to get through it.
There are 10 chapters to the campaign of the game with the first 5 being dedicated to the Decepticons story and their attempt at taking control of the war. The last 5 chapters are thus reserved for the Autobots and their attempt at stopping this event. Each Chapter has sections that allow the player to save their progress at multiple times during the campaign. You can play through these stories by yourself or online with 2 others, though offline play has not been included in the game and its a shame. Each mission gives you the option of a select 3 characters to play as, each with their own abilities to bring to the table. If you decide to play some of the online campaign you will be placed inside the first available game, whether its in progress or not. This is a bit of a bummer as it would have been great to be able to select exactly what campaign you wanted to do and you can do this if you just create the online game yourself. Gamers are also given the option of playing Competitive Co-op or regular when playing through the campaign. Competitive makes for some great trash talking and fun as you race to beat your fellow robots, as you also try to help each other complete the level.
Transforming has never really been much of an issue in the past games as it always seems to be done right but War for Cybertron really takes the cake. Transforming is done with the L3 button and while it takes some getting used to, it is incredibly easy to switch in and out of robot form. You can fire your weapons while in robot form or vehicle form and are given 2 weapons for both. It is also very easy to melee attack, providing the player with great combos of driving up on enemies, and while transforming to robot quickly performing a melee attack. This is where War for Cybertron really shines as the game keeps you moving forward with its lack of a cover mechanic, meaning you will always be pressing forward, no matter what form your in.
The story of the campaign is well told with very solid voice acting and great dialogue. All of the voice actors picked for their perspective parts are spot on with Megatron and Optimus Prime taking the cake. The story is well told with solid pacing and does a lot in telling the back story of that historic rivalry between the two sides. The graphics are a step up from previous games in the series but still don’t manage to do enough at times. Environments are spectacular at parts but then very average at others and the same can be said for all the robots featured in the game.
Guns in the game are a bit on the normal side which was a bit of a disappointment considering the Transformers lore, but is not a deal breaker as all the guns function well. Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, Grenade Launchers and Pistols all make an appearance in the game along with multiple kinds of grenades. Switching between the weapons is made very simple with a single button and provides a cool effect as the gun transformers from your arm.
Playing through the campaign is not your only option in the game as you will also be able to take your skills online in either Multiplayer or Escalation. Escalation is very similar to Uncharted 2’s Survival mode, putting 4 players into a map, letting them choose from a set list of characters and battle wave after wave of oncoming enemies. The key here is to pick up energon points from slain enemies as those are very important in this mode. Use the points during or after a round to buy ammo, health, weapons or other various upgrades. You also have the option to pool your points together with your teammates to purchase the higher priced items such as opening doors for shortcuts and such. This mode is great fun as it can get very hectic trying to not only stay alive but keep your friends alive while trying to collect enough energon to refill your health and ammo.
The final mode featured in the game is your traditional online though its really anything but traditional when you have robots fighting each other and transforming all over the battlefield. There are 8 maps included on the disc and 6 MP modes to be had, ranging from your usual suspects of Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Power Struggle and Countdown to Extinction (grab the bomb and plant it). All of these modes are a lot of fun to play and provide tons of action for up to 10 players. The best about this all is the customization of your autobot or decepticon, though it could have been a bit deeper. Select from one of four basic types of characters (Scientist, Soldier, Scout and Leader) and from there pick your two weapons, 2 abilities and 3 upgrades. Much of this is not available from the start but as you level your character you will unlock new abilities and weapons to better outfit your character. The game provides you with the chance to have 3 different setups per class, similar to how you setup your different classes in games like Call of Duty.
Each class in the multiplayer has various different rigs to choose from and gives you the option to chance 2 colors on the robot. Again these options could have been a lot deeper and will leave some disappointed but still provide enough for most. The abilities and upgrades that you can gain and assign to your characters really make the difference in battle as you earn things like Battle Cry with the leader class and cloaking with the scout. The Multiplayer itself plays pretty smooth for the most part though it was not without its lag issues and when they occurred it was pretty bad. Just imagine transporting halfway across the map mid battle and then quickly being brought back to where you were. These issues aside, there is nothing better than watching two jets dog-fighting in the air and then transforming mid fall only to continue their epic battle on solid land.
Transformers: War for Cybertron is a breath of fresh air for fans of the series and a great introduction for those of you out there oblivious to the feats of the Autobots and Decepticons. The game is not without its growing pains as the graphics suffer at times, offline co-op is absent and the Multiplayer can become a lag fest. However when the dust settles and you step past these issues, you are left with one of the most enjoyable games featuring transforming robots in recent memory. There is enough depth in the package that it should keep you hooked for months and the sound of your robot turning into a vehicle is easily one of the sweetest sounds to touch your ears.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Co-op and multiplayer add depth to solid campaign
No offline co-op and online lag hurt experience