Reviews

Transformers: War for Cybertron review

Release Date:  Out now!
Developer: High Moon Studios
Publisher: Activision
Singleplayer: Yes
Splitscreen: No
Co-op: 3 player, 4 for Escalation
Multiplayer: 2-10
PEGI: 12+

Transformers has had a rocky history with gaming, the two recent movie adaptations have done nothing to help the movie tie-in stereotype but now a new game has hit the shelves and it’s the best Transformers title yet, by alot.

The first thing to get out of the way is Hasbro have classed War for Cybertron as official Transformers canon, and that’s great news because as the name suggests the game is set entirely upon Cybertron a long time  before Optimus and buddies came to Earth and generally trashed it up and explores the civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons.
In fact the game explains a good number of questions people have been asking, how did Optimus become Prime? How did Megatron and Starscream meet?

All will be explained in War for Cybertrons twin campaigns which allow you to play as the Decepticons and the Autobots, either of which can be played first though chronologically speaking the Decepticons story comes first and sets everything up for the Autobots giving the feeling that it’s a bit pointless allowing people to start the Autobots campaign first.

Each campaign will last around 5-7 hours giving a total of about 10-14 hours which is a solid chunk of game without a doubt.
Taking the form of a third person shooter Transformers is far from breaking new ground, but while it may be lacking a little in originality it’s a very good shooter without a doubt.
As you may expect you can transform at will from your standard robot form to a vehicle which helps keep the gameplay exciting, the vehicles all handle very well but feel a little underused as many of the combat areas don’t lend themselves to vehicles but there are several driving sections throughout the game to make sure you get at least some use out of them. Mostly using vehicle form is left up to how the player wants to use it letting them create a playstyle that suits them.

The robot form feels nice and chunky and have a nice weighty feel to them but still feel agile to control and fight with, Cybetron is a very up close and personal game with most combat being up close instead of far away so making use of your Transformers in-built melee weapon is vital and this close up approach gives the game a very intense feeling and leads to some brilliant fights thanks to some good enemy AI as well which will often flank you to keep you on your toes.

Each of the games weapons all feel nice and meaty as well, you can carry up to two at a time plus a big heavy weapon should you get your hands on one and of course your vehicle form comes packed with weapons as well however ammo is hard to come by at times and you often feel like you’re getting ammo thrown at you at some points and then getting barely any at others.
It’s a decent selection  from assault rifles to the Scrapmaker mini-gun along with some of the heavy weapons and before each mission you can choose from three Transformers to play as, each having a different set of two Abilities which can include shockwaves, Barriers and the Warcry which boosts you and your team-mates.

It’s all backed up by a good soundtrack which varies from dramatic music to some tasty Rock/Metal guitar and drum when the combat kicks off giving that extra bit of “Oomph” to the Transformers as you slam your axe into an enemy and the weapons sound nice and powerful.

The entire campaign is an intense, action packed shooting fest that rarely lets up, while this does keep you gunning it can get a little tiresome as there are few sections to break up the almost constant gunplay leading to it feeling a bit repetitive at times, thankfully since the actual gunplay is so solid it keeps you entertained and the flying levels add a nice change as well thanks to solid handling and controls.

Controls is somewhere else the game shines,  within minutes of picking up the controller you’ll feel right at home if you ever played another shooter.
Melee is assigned to your right stick while transforming is on the opposite stick and grenades take the place of the shiny red button, it may copy itself from almost every other shooter out there but that’s simply because it works so well, so why change it?

You’ll come across the usual defense sections on your way but mostly it’s a case of get from A to B by shooting everything that moves but it’s interspersed with a few epic boss battles to keep things interesting, sadly these fall into the “shoot the glowing bit” category but still remain entertaining with the Omega Supreme and Trycepticon fights being standouts not just because of size.

The entire campaign can also be played in co-op with two of your friends as well which adds to the fun, along with that a co-operative mode call Escalation is included which follows the basics of Horde and Firefight with some interesting twists.
You’ll fight with up to 3 other people against fifteen waves (though you can keep going) of robotic enemies and as you get a kil you earn Energon which can then be used to purchase health, ammo and weapons from area’s around the map, you can also use it to open doors which can lead to better weapons, defensive positions and more.
It’s possible to pool together resources as well giving the game a nice teamwork aspect as you buy a team-mate some health or you all pool together to open that expensive door.
It’s one of the most fun variants on this mode I’ve experienced and has an intense, insane feeling to it.

Multiplayer plays a big part as well, and once again Transformers delivers a solid and engaging experience though following the norm for Multiplayer set-up nowadays.
Eight maps and a good selections of game modes is a good way to kick it all off and Transformers happily uses the standard ranking up system that most will feel happy with.
As you progress you gain more weapons, perks and abilities to kit out your four class’s with who each have Killstreaks as well (though these are set) and you can choose the Chassis (Body) form your robotic Avatar as well.
It may not be original but it still works very well and the four class choices are well-balanced, the basic Soldier transformers into a tank and packs some sweet melee abilities and firepower while the Leader changes into a truck and uses his abilities to his teams stats which the Scientist flies above the battlefield and can heal team-mates and finally the Scout is can change into a nippy little car and cloak.
It’s a good mix and it all feels very balanced with each ability and perk giving enough of a boost to help out but it never feels overpowered and can be combated with the correct tactics.
It delivers a very fun Multiplayer than adds to the lifespan of the game and you may find yourself becoming happily addicted to it as you quickly pick up the basics but spend months mastering.

The Good:
– Finally a good Transformers game!
– Transforming into Robot mode in mid-flight before landing on someones head and melee killing them!
– Flying!

The Bad:
– It’s almost all shooting! it makes my eyes hurt.
– Megatron is a git.
– Cybertron all looks the same.

The Scores:

Graphics: 8
Using the Unreal Engine it all looks smooth but there are some low-res textures and Cybertron all looks very samey.

Sound: 8.5
Rousing music keeps it all interesting and the voice acting is good as well along with some meaty sounding weapons. Soundwave sounds perfect.

Story: 8.5
Megatrons use of Dark Energon makes for a compelling story and the showing of how Optimus became Prime, how Megatron met Starscream and the coming together of Bumblebee and Optimus make for something fantastic.

Gameplay: 8.5
Solid, fun shooting if uninspired mixed with some the brilliant Escalation mode.

Lifespan: 8
A chunky singleplayer will keep you going and Escalation will keep you entertained though sadly only 15 waves means it ends quickly. multiplayer is deep and addictive.

Overall: 8.5
In its own right this is a solid and entertaining shooter but throw in the best use of the Transformers License so far and you have a fanastic game that all Transformers fans should play as should shooting fans.
It’s a love letter to the fans and a good game to boot, whats not to like?
But of course it doesn’t have Megan Fox anywhere in sight, damn.

 

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