I’m not a huge fan of the Transformers franchise (blasphemous, I know), primarily because I’m too young to have any nostalgic feelings towards the cartoons and despite some fantastic special effects, the films never managed to keep my attention.
Because of this, and the fact that I had to review the utterly terrible Revenge of the Fallen game, my expectations started off pretty low. Lucky for me, War for Cybertron isn’t based off the films, and is instead a return to the roots that made the original so popular.
The ten chapter long single-player story is broken up into two parts; the first half has you controlling the bad robots, or Decepticons, who are trying to take over the world of Cybertron, and the second half puts you in the shoes of the Autobots, who are defending their world. Both halves are made up of very similar gameplay, having you drive or fly throughout the levels, taking out waves of enemies or bosses that were dumb enough to get in your way, and simply kicking tons of mechanical ass.
The main difference comes with the weapons and abilities of the Transformers you control, because each has their own unique ability and vehicular form. Because I was allowed to control the leader in almost every chapter that usually ended up being the character I controlled since for the most part they were the only names I recognized, and because I figured they would be the strongest.
The story is interesting, and the world is beautifully realized with Cybertron shifting and transforming in a way that’s similar to the Transformers that inhabit it. The visuals are great, the sound effects enjoyable, and the voice acting over-the-top (in a good way). You can play through the campaign alone or with a friend, and with the exception of a few levels that consist only of boss fights, each chapter takes roughly an hour long to complete, bringing the campaign to a meaty 8-10 hours.
But that’s not all, there’s also a multiplayer component to the game that definitely doesn’t feel tacked on. Now, I’m not saying you’ll choose Transformers over games like Modern Warfare 2, but it’s a satisfying change of pace if you’re ever finding yourself bored with your current arsenal of online games. Then there’s also the Gears of War inspired Horde mode, called Escalation, which pits you against increasingly powerful waves of enemies. The addition of an experience system that gives you perks and upgrades takes the experience to a whole new level.
War for Cybertron is a great game that exceeded all of my expectations; it’s fun, has plenty of content, looks and sounds great, and with hidden items, achievements, and the option to play other Transformers, there’s more than a few reasons to play through again. The only downside is the lack of variety in the missions, which usually `consisted of driving sections or killing lots of enemies/bosses so you could get to your next destination and do it all over again. But if you’re a fan of the series or looking for a fun game, this game will treat you right.