Review by furiouspenguin
"It's the best you'll find from here all the way to Iacon"
Ever wonder what brought Optimus, Megatron and their ragtag band of soldiers to Earth? Have you ever wanted to visit the place where it all started? If so, then High Moon Studios has just the answer for you. In Transformers: War for Cybertron, you'll take to the skies and the scarred surface of the Transformers' home planet of Cybertron as your favorite bots. Along the way you'll learn just what drove them to the planet Earth.
Cybertron was once the home of Optimus and his crew of Autobots until Megatron and his rowdy bunch of Decepticons infected their planet with dark energon. This forced the planet's inhabitants to flee their homes and take to the stars eventually leading them to Earth where the Autobots continued their struggle with the Decepticons. Transformers: War for Cybertron tells the story of the war that was fought before they crash landed in our televisions in the mid-1980's.
Players will storm the Autobot capital of Iacon and raid a Decepticon prison in the heart of Kaon. As you fight your way through the war torn landscapes of Cybertron players will be able to assume the roles of some of their favorite bots such like Iron Hide, Starscream and even Megatron or Optimus. While the War for Cybertron sports a rather great campaign, it's over before you know it. Each faction has 5 playable chapters that will run you about thirty or forty five minutes a level. Completionist may stretch it out a little more by scouring each level for the 50 bot symbols. As wonderful as it is to battle along side Optimus Prime and be bossed around by Megatron, it's disappointing how quickly your time on Cybertron comes to an end. Well, then you watch the credits and feel much better.
When you're done with the single player campaign, you can dive into the multiplayer. Players will notice a dab of Modern Warfare, Gears of War and some Battlefield here. The multiplayer comes with a familiar set of game modes such as Capture the Codex(flag), Conquest and Team Deathmatch. There are also customizable classes that range from the scouts and scientists for lightning quick assaults to the damage absorbing soldier. Each class has its own set of special abilities that unlock as players gain experience and level up by completing challenges and objectives lest we forget the old fashioned way of just killing our opponents for experience.
If competitive game modes don't fill your desires, three players can tackle the co-op campaign or four players can team up and play Escalation. Escalation is much like Horde mode but with a twist. Players will need to spend the points they earn from taking down enemies to get ammo, weapons and health. The downside of Cybertron's multiplayer is that it doesn't have an established community yet. Most of the players congregate in the Deathmatch game modes making it harder to play some of the other modes. There are some minor balancing issues between the classes as well. Sure, each one has their own unique specialties but players shouldn't have to stick to those specialties. Eventually people will be playing the strongest one and ignoring the smaller guys.
The controls in War for Cybertron are rock solid though they may feel a tad unfamiliar and lacking in some areas. The bots in this game for instance could certainly use a roll maneuver, especially on the higher difficulties when you're taking on a horde of bots with explosives. Players will find a rather wide variety of weaponry scattered around Cybertron like the ion disruptor turret or the neutron assault rifle. Transforming into and out of your bots vehicle mode and delivering a swift and deadly melee attack is easy and at times very useful. The war on Cybertron is a tad repetitive though. The basic formula of a level is to shoot some enemies, hit a switch, shoot some more enemies and the hop on an elevator or race to the next area to do it all over again. Boss battles feel a tad underwhelming though. The best tactics seems to be shooting it in it's exposed core after the boss launches a series of attacks at you that ultimately leave it exhausted and exposed.
Outside of some minor texture loading issues, Cybertron and its inhabitants look great. You'll take the fight into space, across the planets war torn surface and even through the deep underground metallic tunnels of Cybertron. There are a lot of bots on Cybertron but they all seem to look the same no matter what side you're on. If it wasn't for the color coded red Autobot and purple Decepticons and the fact they're shooting at you, it would be hard to tell just who the enemy is. The audio is well done, especially the voice acting which helps build on that nostalgia factor. The explosions and sound of gunfire off in the distance make you feel like you're in their war. Then there's the satisfying sound of your transforming.
Transformers: War for Cybertron is a surprisingly fantastic game. High Moon Studios did a great job telling the story of a war that hasn't really been told before in the series. The feeling of nostalgia only lasts so long and the length of the game doesn't try to prolong it. The multiplayer is fun but it's not something that will last you forever, especially if it doesn't build up a stronger community. If you're a fan of Transformers and want a solid multiplayer to distract you from another, then War for Cybertron is your game. If not, then head to your nearest rental store and pick this up.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/10
Game Release: Transformers: War for Cybertron (US, 06/22/10)
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