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Transformers: War for Cybertron Review

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When it comes to Transformers games, let’s just say most have been a swing and a miss. The movie adaptations are repetitive and bland, and the lust for a new Transformers game has dwindled to the lowest it can go. War for Cybertron is a new reminder of why the franchise still stands a chance, and it puts the past Transformers attempts to shame.

STORY-

We’ve seen the battles the Autobots and Decepticons have had on earth, and they’ve certainly made their mark. But what was life like on their previous home, Cybertron? And more importantly, what made them leave? War for Cybertron is the beginning to a series that shows just that. Megatron’s rise to power through the use of Dark Energon does a brilliant job of showing how the formerly peaceful Cybertron began to crack. Megatron and his small band of followers quickly become an armada, as he gets more and more bold and power-hungry. Nothing stands in his way, and he soon conquers all. And I have to admit; being a Decepticon sure is fun. I never thought I’d enjoy taking down the Autobots I had loved since I was a kid. Having the feeling of triumphing over the challenges that were set up against me, I felt the same feeling of glory and power that my fellow Decepticons did once the enemy had fallen. But once you triumph as a Decepticon, then the story switches over. Time has passed since Megatron has risen to power, and the Autobots have moved from a supreme species to a lowly band of heroes. The Decepticons rule the streets, and it’s up to you to turn the tables on them. I’ll admit, when I first began the Autobot side of the campaign, I was a little disappointed. Not in the actual campaign, mind you, but the fact that I had to reverse what had taken me so long to complete. The story wasn’t as gratifying on the Autobot side because I felt like I had done it before, but at the same time it was like I was doing something I shouldn’t. Rather than rising up against the opposition, I felt like I was killing my original plans against my will. Nevertheless, it was still a great experience and a heck of a lot of fun. Battling my former allies showed how powerful they had now become. And to top it off, there are some funny moments from the Autobot campaign that make it just a blast. With the end of the intense final battle I was begging for more, but I know that the series is far from over.

RATING: 7

            +An engaging and entertaining campaign
            +Both Autobots and Decepticons have their own campaign
            -The Autobot campaign isn’t as rewarding

CHARACTERS-

From the bold hysterics that spout from the mouth of Megatron to the grandfatherly wisdom of Optimus Prime, the characters are clearly fleshed out well and pay homage to their origins from when they were first created. Though most of the minor characters don’t have too much to them in terms of impacting the story, there are a few who make up for it. Soundwave was by far my favorite, and it was cool to see the origins of Starscream. I understand that the storyline is geared mostly toward Optimus and Megatron however, and seeing how Optimus came to be was a great addition to the game. I really liked how the game incorporated so many characters into the storyline and still pulled it off well. Those who could be played fit with the missions, and gave a good variety to them. And using some old favorites for bosses was a lot of fun to face up against.

RATING: 8

+A big variety of characters to see and play
+Plenty of old favorites
-Lack of many major characters

ENVIRONMENT-

I’ve seen the Transformers fight on Earth, but I always wondered just what Cybertron looked like before it was abandoned. The way it looks in the game fit my imagination perfectly and was gorgeous to boot. The world is filled with futuristic alien technology and has a feel of a space-like Metropolis. Seeing both the outer city and the inner core of Cybertron was a great contrast. And the as the world falls to ruin, I have to say it looks gorgeous. And the environment is alive, from electricity jumping out at you to steam bursting from a pipe. I only wish I had an opportunity to explore and see what Cybertron had to offer.

RATING: 10

+Fantastic detail
+Diverse areas of Cybertron
+Watch the world crumble

GAMEPLAY-

If I had to say my favorite part about the game, it would be one word: transforming. Changing between vehicle and robot is so smooth and well done that it almost feels like one form rather than two separate ones. And for a third person shooter, this game feels fantastic. At the start of each mission, you are given the option to choose between three characters, each with their own particular skills and weapons. But on top of that, there are in-game weapons to pick up as well as some that you can loot off of others. And the weapons here are diverse; from the chargeable plasma cannon to the null ray, which is a sniper rifle with a 10x scope. My personal favorite thing to do was to use turrets placed at different parts of the game. You can fire them infinitely and have the option to pull them from the ground. But be warned, once you do you’ll have a lot more limited ammo. And did I mention that vehicles have their own weapons too? So if you run out of all of your weapons and grenades in robot form, just transform and blast away. My one wish is that characters have their own specific weapons. We’ve seen that in Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Starscream. I’d like to see it in the other characters; that would make replay value much higher. Another part of the gameplay to note is that your character has their own special ability, also both in robot and vehicle form. You have a standard ability such as a hover or dash that you can use most all of the time. Then you have better abilities that are only available after you’ve filled them up with the little shards that come from defeated foes. The combination of these makes combat very unique to you. The styles of enemies vary, but all in all they look and feel just the same. You’ve got fliers, soldiers, brutes, and cloakers; both on the Autobot and Decepticon sides of the campaign. The AI for the enemies is basic, they’ll either shoot or evade, but they stay pretty static in regard to combat. But what’s really the treat of gameplay are the bosses. These guys are huge, and it’s no small feat to finish them off. But when you do beat them, it feels extremely rewarding. War for Cybertron also has an online multiplayer with a leveling system and many different styles of play such as capture the flag and team deathmatch. If you want a break from the traditional online multiplayer, I’d definitely recommend it. The more you level, the better weapons you can get, and you can also customize how you look. Also, who needs a better incentive than transforming?

RATING: 7

+Good variety in playing style
+Fun and challenging bosses
-Lack of difference with basic enemies

GRAPHICS-

From the individual gears moving on the back of the robot to the smooth animation for transforming, the graphics are spectacular. Attention to detail is what makes everything stand out so well. As enemies are defeated, they burst apart into a fading pile of scrap. Going in turbo makes the surroundings blur. As you turn towards the sun, your screen flares. And like I said before, the Transformers actually have moving parts! This makes them look animated and alive, not just a walking pile of metal. However, during cut-scenes I would sometimes have textures be missing. But overall the game looks fantastic and the cinematic clips look even better. What’s not to like?

RATING: 9

+Perfect attention to detail
+Realistic looking surroundings
-Some texture loss

SOUND-

We’ve got some heavy hitters in the voice acting ballpark. Featuring the vocal talents of the great Peter Cullen, Fred Tatasciore, and even a cameo from Nolan North, the voices all work well with the characters. Sound effects such as gun noises are all unique and top-notch, and the background music fits with all situations. I’m not too much of a critic when it comes to sound, but it played a big part of my game experience. It’s also funny to hear the banter between characters, such as Megatron and Breakdown. Each characters voice reflects their personality well, and my personal favorite was Soundwave. That voice made me choose him as a character over the others, and I’m glad I did. I did notice that a lot of Transformers had a British accent… that was unusual. But all in all, the sound of the game was great.

RATING: 10

+Well-voiced characters
+Diverse sound effects
+Voices fit the characters

            When it comes down to it, War for Cybertron is a fantastic start to a series I know will be very successful. It’s fast paced, entertaining, and even has some funny parts! This sets the standard for any Transformers game (or should I say attempt) in the future and deserves a lot of praise. Whether you think you’re an Autobot or Decepticon, definitely get your hands on this game!

     TOTAL RATING: 8.5 

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