I’ve been a fan of Transformers ever since I was a kid. So I was pretty excited when the movie was announced. I had such high hopes for the movie (and the sequel), but obviously a geek’s dream are never what going to be truly realized. Outside of the horrible acting and plot holes an Optimus could drive through, the main thing that bugged me about the “modern” Transformers was how they looked. Don’t get me wrong - they looked pretty realistic. You can’t knock the special effects. What bothers me though is how… unrecognizable they look. Outside of Bumblebee and Optimus, everyone else just kinda blends in together. The movies did get some of the personality right and I remember remarking on that after I saw the first movie. But in general I didn’t feel any real connection to these new robots. (Wow, I can’t believe I wrote that. I am a complete dork.) When I got “Transformers - War for Cybertron” I had much of the same worries. First, the game was all on Cybertron, not Earth. Secondly, these were all definitely “modern” Transformers. I had not read any reviews on the game so didn’t really know what to expect.
First - lets talk about game play. This game is nothing more than 100% shooting. There isn’t much stealth. It’s basically run through corridors and keeping your finger on the trigger. It is complete fun. I never got bored once. It is essentially all the cool fight scenes from the movies without any of the lame jokes. As a Transformer you obviously get to spend time both in robot and vehicle mode. The vehicles themselves don’t have much variety. You are either a beefy looking car or a jet. But the game uses these modes pretty well. It’s typically a ‘get to point X as fast as you can’ levels that work great. There is a good mix of opponents to shoot up as well as a good set of weapons. From nice sniping rifles to guns that look almost as big as the Transformer itself. And speaking of size - the game throws a few “jumbo” opponents at you that are absolutely epic to fight against.
The story is also really well done. I don’t want to give anything away. Yes, there is a war going on. You get to play through first the Decepticon campaign and then the Autobot. What I really liked though and what surprised me was how well they tied it into “our” Transformers. It’s obviously a good lead up to a sequel (which I hope they make) and was much better than I expected.
But all of the above is bunk. Let me tell you what I really liked. While playing as Megatron during the first half of the game, each mission involves you performing some task. Get to X. Blow up Y. Whatever. You always have two other Transformers there helping you out. What made me laugh out loud more than once is that throughout every single mission Megatron is being a complete and utter ass to his subordinates. It’s like the manager from hell. It’s awesome. And unlike the movie which touched on the Starscream/Megaton rivalry a tiny bit - the game nails it perfectly and has a lot of fun with it. On the flip side, playing as Optimus means you get to hear the constant prater about how they “must” get it done for the good of all and blah blah blah. It was dead on.
I haven’t yet given the multiplayer game a try yet but I’ve heard great things. I can say I definitely recommend picking the game up. It wasn’t deep, but just a heck of a lot of fun.
Oh - one last note. The ending credits? Best credits song ever.