Transformers: War for Cybertron
|a game by||High Moon Studios|
|Platforms:||PC, Playstation 3|
|User Rating:||7.8/10 - 10 votes|
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|See also:||Transformers Games, Mechs Games|
This, The Latest game with Transformers in it is dumb fun for one great reason: unlike their metal homeworld, Transformers have no shades of grey. The Autobot and Decepticon moral outlook is so simple, there's not even a chance of having a good Nazi character. Head evil dude Megatron is a complete and unapologetic dick, from the first Decepticon mission to the last. 'Decepticon' is actually too subtle a name for these aggro-douche warriors. They should just be done with it and call themselves Team Bastards'. If people die, that's because they are weak. They're all Drago from Rocky IV: "If he dies, he dies." Boo!
Meanwhile, the Autobots are the very spirit of Sesame Street. Go, us! Hurray for teamwork! You can do it, all you have to do is be as amazing as you can be!
Even better, freed from movie plots and Hollywood's incompatible schedule, but still with authentic voice talent like Peter Cullen as Optimus, this is a Transformers game as it was meant to be. In terms of actual quality against most hopeful estimate it's another Arkham Asylum. Which isn't as great a compliment as it sounds, if you know how low my expectations were.
New Old World
War for Cybertron's story takes us into a new time and place, there's no stomping around Earth cities and looking behind office buildings for collectibles. We're on Cybertron, the long-ago planet-bot home of the Transformers. This game is set long before the time '80s cartoon kids will be familiar with, and even longer before that weird Beast Wars era from the '90s - Optimus hasn't even been promoted to Prime in this.
The first missions are the Decepticon campaign, where Megatron begins his personal mission to harness the power of Dark Energon and dominate his home world. This is a self-destructive path that'll lead to Cybertron becoming uninhabitable. Starscream is keen to point this flaw out but, as we said, Megatron's a stubborn prick. The game itself is an ambitious three-player co-op third-person shooter. And if you can get a third person to play the three-player co-op from the moderately populated lobby, it all comes together pretty well. There's not so much in the way of combining forces to solve puzzles, but combat is always more fun with a mate yelling in your ear.
The transforming aspect isn't what you might expect, the red lorries and yellow VW Beetles were an affectation Autobots used conceal themselves on Earth. On their home world, Optimus is a kind of underwhelming hovercraft, and Megatron, well, he's a kind of hovercraft too. It makes sense, given the surroundings. You're not driving around human roads, you're navigating the inside of a robotic planet. The Decepticons aren't fighter jets and leisure cars, they're strafing combat machines. That said, you still get a fundamentally snazzy feeling when you try a hip-shattering mid-air transform.
Going solo is the worst way to play War for Cybertron, even when using the sensible co-op AI. So if you're a loner, play Singularity instead. The mini-boss enemies, for example, with glowing weak spots on their back, are enjoyable to take out with friends; but when your AI companions are distracting him, leaving you to casually melee his spine and take the glory effortlessly, it's all a bit of a let-down.
Halfway through, the game morphs into the Autobot campaign. On the streets of Iacon, you'll take car form and drive around. It feels more open and, because it takes the bit of experience you got in the evil campaign for granted, you're in the thick of action much faster. It's supposed to feel better to be good, even if you do have to put up with a constant stream of encouragement, modesty and heroic chat. Wisely, you can start at the beginning of either campaign.
There are no pistols here. Every weapon's powerful, but each has its own drawback. Slow bullets, short range, low clip capacities, and an allround paucity of ammo forces you to rely on your friends and engage in the odd bit of sneaky melee under the cover of your co-op fire. The combat feels full-on, nowhere more so than in the strong Escalation co-op mode.
War For Cybertron is a surprisingly strong game that does everything by the book. While it won't get any awards for originality, or for going too far beyond the call of duty, there should be a tiny medal for making a decent Transformers game, at last.