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4 out of 5
It’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a great Transformers game to date. With the clunky controls and boring or bland missions; The Transformers may do well in the theater or on television, but has failed to equal the success in video game form. Will Transformers: The War for Cyberton finally break this continuing vicious cycle?
Transformers: The War for Cybertron is a re-imagining on the origin of the Transformers from the early 80’s cartoon series. There are two campaigns when first starting the game, Decepticon or Autobot – you can choose either one, but I suggest starting with the Decepticon’s since this is how the game developers intended it, and the story would make a lot more sense. I was instantly brought back to my childhood the moment I started the game, and the music video at the end is definitely a treat for everyone who loved the series. Hearing Optimus Prime during the game gave me goose bumps, and Soundwave actually sounded like Soundwave, but I was really surprised to hear that more of the original cast wasn’t featured in the game [except Peter Cullen, who has been giving Optimus Prime his voice since the original series]. It would have been nice hearing some of the original cast members from the cartoon series, but the voice talent featured in the game sounded great. The acting and storyline during the game actually felt like a missing script from the series, which is why I wish it was developed using cel-shading – it would have completed the cartoon feel to the game.
Controlling each character has always been an issue in previous Transformers games, it always felt awkward when changing form, but changing from robot to their vehicle form was smooth and easy. In fact, the controls felt great during the entire game.
There’s not that much to complain about here. The story-line is strong and it resembles what was seen in the cartoon, the voice talent was well done, and even though I think it would have looked better using cell shading… the graphics are great. But no game can be perfect, so if I had to nitpick anything it would be the length and linear path of the campaign, some of the level designs, and the lack of back story that could clear up a lot of issues. It seems like every game these days is featuring an environment that the player can explore, a lot of games get it right [such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and Fable II] – those games usually have a longer shelf life in my game collection since exploration is not only fun and interesting, but usually a key to understanding or beating the game. Whenever I come across a linear game that only gives you one path to take, I feel forced [by the developer] to advance to the next stage even if I’m not ready or willing to go. The levels seemed short [even though they really weren’t that short] mainly because of this reason, I didn’t see a reason to take my time to enjoy the scenery… which was often times dull or carbon copied from the previous level… especially during the Decepticon campaign. Although I enjoyed the storyline to this re-imagined prequel to the cartoon series, I felt that a little more back story was needed to fully understand the situations they were facing on Cybertron. And the lack of Autobot vs. Decepticon battles featuring the main cast was definitely a setback, especially since each enemy we’d battle seemed the same. But all that aside, this is a great game.
There was only one glitch I came across during the campaign. A few times I would be in an elevator that would go through my body and leave me stuck on the bottom floor, I would then have to re-start from the previous checkpoint because the elevator would not come back down. This can probably be fixed easily with a patch, but as of June 4th, 2010 it was an issue that came up a few times.
One feature that I wasn’t quite sure about at first was online gameplay. I went into the game expecting to dislike online matches, but I was honestly surprised to see how well it worked. There are many elements from previous blockbuster games seen in this game: Gears of War, Halo, and Call of Duty are just a few of them. This Transformers game takes an element or two from those games and applies it to the right locations, making this a really well thought out game that I hope to see more of in the future. Maybe I’ll get my cell shading wish in the next installment while they recreate the early episodes from the original cartoon.