Saturday, July 3, 2010

Game Review - Transformers: War for Cybertron

Transformers, a series that began back in the 80s, and is a childhood love of mine. It has existed in some form or another over the years, from comics, CGI TV shows, and even big budget live action movies. From the great writing of the Beast Wars cartoon, to the awful writing and directing of Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers has it's highs and lows, and is full of memorable moments, both good and bad. The series has had a hand full of games over the years, most of them are forgettable or just flat out bad (like the Beast Wars game I used to have, it was so bad I sold it to Gamestop). The one game I read was pretty good was the Transformers Armada game for the PS2, though sadly, I never got around to picking it up.

But today we are looking at the newest Transformers game. It is not based on a show or movie, and is set as a prequel somewhat tied to the original Generation 1 cartoon. Millions of years ago on Cybertron, we see the early stages of the Great War between the evil Decepticons and the noble Autobots. Is it good? Is it bad? Read on to find out.

Story: 4/5

I find the story to be really good, namely because it makes several references to the past series, using ideas, lines, and a slew of other points to bring it all together into this game. The game shows the motivations of the Decepticon leader, Megatron, as he wages his war against the Autobots. He desires to return Cybertron to it's age of glory, at any cost. The story is set in two parts, with the Decepticon story taking place before the Autobot one. It shows the Decepticons rising up over the Autobot leader, Zeta Prime, and are poised to take over the planet.

When the Decepticon story ends, the Autobot story begins with Optimus taking over temporary command of the Autobots after the death of Zeta Prime. Eventually, Optimus answers the call and become the leader of the Autobots, becoming Optimus Prime as he battles against the forces of the Decepticons. While there are alot more things going on in the story, I'll leave those to you to find out, but needless to say, it's a love letter to the fans of the Transformers.

Graphics: 4/5

The game looks pretty. The game shows well the planet Cybertron, giving it an alien, yet familiar look. The colors of the game help easily show which areas belong to the Autobots, and what has been taken by the Decepticons. Even the designs of the Transformers themselves has been well done. Ones like Optimus Prime have a familiar designs to their Earth forms, but changed to make it different enough, but still recall the forms and look of the original cartoons. The transformers also carry coloring that makes them easy to pick out, the Autobots having red highlights and the Decepticons having purple, this helps in the story and in the online modes.

Sound and Music: 3/5

This is probably one of the weaker points of the game. The music is rather forgettable for the most part, rock and roll style music to help carry the scenes along. The most memorable song is the end credits, which is a new age version of the old Transformers theme.

Sound effects on the other hand fit the scenes well. The weapons make the standard sounds. The most important sound to have, is the Transformation jingle, and it is there in many variations, similar to the Bay movies, how it's different with each Transformer, which helps make them more notable.

Gameplay: 5/5

The gameplay for the game is excellent. It's an over the shoulder third person shooter. You play as one of three Transformers each level, which helps tie into the online co-op. You can play online with your friends or off-line with AI partners. The Transformers you play can transform at any time and you can play the levels in either robot or vehicle modes, which really adds an extra element to the gameplay, and each transformer has a different handling vehicle to help differentiate them further from each other. Some of the levels require you to use the vehicle mode (namely the jet levels), so you even have a shooter level to help break up the usual ground based mission.

Replayability: 4/5

The game has great replayability. With alot of trophies/achievements to obtain, online modes to play with, and three different characters to pick from per level, you have a solid playing experience to come back to over and over. The online modes are very close to Call of Duty in how it's handled. Bring able to level up four different classes, each handling very differently with pros and cons to help make team play more important.

The one thing that would keep this area a perfect 5 is the connection issues. You will spend several minutes trying to connect to a match, which is horrible. I have no idea why this game has such issues, perhaps the makers did not think it would be the hit it was. But I hope they release a patch update to fix this major problem.

Overall: 4/5

I am a fan of Transformers, I've loved them since the original cartoon back in the 80s, sticking with them through thick and thin, even trying to like and ultimately hating the Bay movie Revenge of the Fallen (seriously, why does Bay still get work? But that's for another review later). This game was made by people who care for, enjoy and cherished this series. it shows in the final product they released, it has so many ties to the other series to have something for everyone (even Bay movie fans). If you like Transformers and were a fan, or even if you're just a fan of a solid 3rd person shooter, then I highly and strongly recommend this game for you, I don't think it will let you down.

Plus the chance to hear Optimus Prime give the famous's great.

Autobots! Transform and roll out!

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