Synyster Graves

Transformers: War For Cybertron

by on Apr.15, 2011, under Xbox 360

Transformers: War For Cybertron is a third person over-the-shoulder shooter on the Xbox 360. Contrary to my previous perception, this is nothing to do with Michael Bay, and since this has not been tainted by the cancerous abominations created by Bay, this has a fighting chance of being good. As a child I was an avid Transformers fan and the animated movie from 1986 is quite possibly one of the greatest movies ever made, in my opinion. The four series which ran either side of the film (1,2 pre film, 3,4 post-film) were excellent and I have all the boxed sets at home, so it’s safe to say that I’m a G1 fan. Then reading the back of the game box, you soon realise that this is based on the G1 Transformers. Good start. Plus this is an Activision game, so it’s nice to see them ploughing resources into something that’s not Call of Duty anyways. Straightaway as soon as you boot the game all G1 fans will recognise Peter Cullen’s voice immediately, as he was the voice of Optimus Prime in the original series.

Soundwave superior, Michael Bay inferior...

There are two modes in this game, single player campaign and multiplayer. At the single player campaign beginning, you can select whether you can start the Decepticon or Autobot campaign, as well as the difficulty. There are stark differences between the difficulty levels as during gameplay you only get four bars of health, which will drain very quickly if you’re careless, especially on hard. There are quite a few classes of which you select when starting a campaign and this will depend on the special ability you get in game. Each of these different classes will select you a different robot such as Megatron, Soundwave and Breakdown on the Decepticon campaign, or Bumblebee, Ratchet or Optimus on the Autobot campaign. There are notable absentees in this game and as a fan I would have loved to see Devastator (scratch that,I want to play as Devastator!) and the other Gestalt teams like Bruticus and Menasor, the Dinobots are sorely missed (again I wanted to rampage through the game as Grimlock!) and other key chracters were omitted, like Hot Rod, Wheeljack, Blitzwing and Astrotrain. But I guess you can’t have everything. They do include the main characters like Starscream, Jetfire, Ironhide and Omega Supreme, so that’s good.

Take that Decepticreep!

The first thing you notice when starting a level is the graphics. They are brilliantly presented and very well rendered and gives you a real feel of playing on Cybertron. The controls are more free flowing than other over-the-shoulder shooters like Gears of War and Vanquish, and is without the annoying sticky cover system too. The sounds are fantastic too and the dialogue is kept very close to the original G1 cartoon, except now it’s had an HD reboot, to great effect. Megatron for example is brilliantly portrayed and even picking up ammuntion will cause him to say fantastic quips like “This is an excellent tool of destruction”. This is very cool.

The combat is very good too but comes with some critical difficulties. Firstly there is nowhere near enough ammo as ammo drops are quite scarce, similar to a survival horror game but in a game which is reliant on firefights, this becomes quite detrimental and you’ll find yourself hammering on the melee attack too often which usually isn’t merited. The array of weapons is good, ranging from short range shotguns to long range sniper rifles, but again, they really don’t hold near enough ammunition so you’ll be discarding weapons like a spoilt child often in favour of taking weapons which are available, and not necessarily suitable to the current level. For example, the chain cannon is a good weapon, but you’ll run out of ammo by the time that you’ve killed about 3 robots. This for me is a big criticism. I was playing the campaign as Megatron and his arm cannon ran out of ammo. When on earth would that happen in the series? Plus fighting a “brute” enemiy involves you having to flank behind him and igniting his backpack, but when he only focuses on you, you have to rely on your AI partners actually helping. Suffice to say, they don’t do that too well.

The switch between vehicle and robot mode is very smooth

Being a Transformers game, this of course gives you the capability of transforming into a vehicle. The driving handling isn’t great but it is amusing to have four wheeled vehicles with zero turning circles. Again they do suffer from lack of ammunition as Megatron’s tank mode will only have 10 rockets to fire. This is quite poor. The only vehicle mode with infinite ammo is the Starscream’s jet mode’s machine guns. The vehicle modes all do have a boost option for faster movement, but this lasts a matter of seconds and really isn’t worth it.

The only other criticism of the game I do have to make is the unnecessary animations within the game. Using a mounted turret will take abotu 3 seconds to be ready before you can fire away and against some bosses this is problematic. You can however take the gun off and carry it as a portable cannon but where the mounted variant has unlimited ammo, the personal version again has limited supplies and can’t be replenished by picking up ammo drops.

Omega Supreme is one tough s.o.b.

The AI warriors on your team are typically braindead, but at least not to Left 4 Dead proportions. Fighting bosses whereby splitting up would be prudent, they will follow you like retarded sheep, drawing fire in your direction. When playing as a Leader class like Megatron or Optimus, you’d like to think you could give orders, but that facility unfortunately is not there. The bosses however, are all really tough, and the general drought of ammuntion in the game relies on more strategy rather than the archetypal running in guns blazing approach. While most of the bosses rely on cheap attacks which will essentially one-hit kill you, I appreciate the challenge, albeit at the cost of a portion of your sanity.

The online modes have the typical co-op campaign as well as a variant of the waves format in Gears of War 2, called Escalation. I’m still to play through this game in co-operative but if it’s anything like the campaign mode, it should be a great experience. It has the obligatory deathmatch modes too but from playing Gears online, I’d imagine that there would be a glut of twatty idiots online, so I just boycotted that.

So in summation, T:WFC is a great game for al lthe original G1 Transformers fans out there. The game dynamic isn’t perfect and certainly on the harder difficulties, the bosses are nearly impossible, but it provides a good challenge. Certain elements of the game could be tweaked for the better like more ammo and the storyline could have been a tiny bit longer and I would have liked to see upgrades for characters and a bit of a longer health bar instead of hiding half the time, but as a fanboy of Transformers, this is a good game to play and exactly how you’d like to see the cartoon being brought forward to the 22nd Century with is fantastic graphical representation. Michael Bay should take some notes as to how Transformers should be. This is fantastic homage to a classic series, and the inner child inside my mind is very happy right now.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • King

    Finally, a game I’ve lent you which you actually like! Result! 🙂

    (Incase anyone wants to know, I’ve lent Graves Lord of the Rings, Dragonball Z Burst Limit and Viking, which if you read his reviews on he’s not that fond of to say the least!)

  • Synyster Graves

    Viking was ok, just wasn’t brilliant and the combat was completely guff! This game however, is very good.

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