Transformers: War for Cybertron

PS3/Xbox360/PC (alternate versions on Wii, Nintendo DS)
Release: June 2010
Price: Around $30 currently (original price was $60).

As long as the Transformers have existed there have been video games chronicling the exploits of our favorite robots in disguise. Many of the previous games have been regarded with indifference or even dislike.
    Personally, one of the first TF games that I played and truly liked was 2004's Transformers game (based off the Armada concept). Unlike some games (1997's Beast Wars comes to mind) it seemed like it made decent use of the transformation gimmick. The last game I really put any effort into was Beast Wars Metals. I liked Armada but never played it all the way through (but liked what I saw). I also tried 2007's Transformers and 2009's Revenge of the Fallen games (both based off the live action movie continuity) and found them to be decent (although the “drive from one point to another, engage enemy drones then drive somewhere else and repeat” aesthetic felt a bit tedious).
    Enter 2010 and the release of War For Cybertron from developer High Moon Studios. Could it produce a truly good game? Or would it follow the often taken route and be another mediocre media tie-in video game?
    Most reviews online tend to hail WFC as a monumental success. I was late to the party, only purchasing the game in December so I was aware of its reputation. Still, I wanted to give the game a play through and see if it was all it was cracked up to be.

I don't tolerate failure!

"Simon Furman is not a hack--but I am!"

The Good:

- Enough variety to keep things interesting.

All of the game involves playing one of three robot characters (the others are computer or co-op player controlled). You can be Optimus Prime/Bumblebee/Ratchet/Ironhide/Sideswipe/Warpath for the Autobots and Megatron/Soundwave/Onslaught/Barricade/Breakdown/Brawl on most stages. You move through long maps and attack a variety of enemy targets. You can simply shoot them or use a melee weapon (such as an axe, mace, sword) to bash them into submission.
    One stage of the Autobots and one stage of the Decepticons involve taking the role of the aerial warriors instead. You can be Jetfire/Silverbolt/Air Raid on the Autobot side or Starscream/Thundercracker/Skywarp on the Decepticon side. You fly to your target and use a combination of aerial combat and land based combat to achieve your goal. The aerial stages were a great addition to the game.
    The non-aerial stages have their charms too. As an Autobot, you use gun batteries to take on Decepticon opponents from a giant Decepticon drill machine and also ride a giant robot slug while attacking all enemies from gun batteries on its back. There’s also a stage where you have to dodge missile launching Decepticons as they try to blow the floor out from under you. As Decepticons, you have to attack Zeta Prime and avoid his vast energy creations as they try to squish you flat.
    The end boss of the Autobots is Omega Supreme and he is tough but entertaining to fight. The end boss of the Decepticons is Trypticon. He struck me as tougher to combat (he pummels you with missile volleys if you're not careful). Both are varied enough in their attacks and your counter strategy to defeat them that they don't come across as repetitive.
    Additionally, transforming into vehicle mode has some use (like in the Armada game). You can use it to get through some distance areas quicker and can use it to fight too (you have a weapon in that mode as well. Which is good if you screw up and run out of regular ammo and need the extra juice to take on your enemies).
    Like most modern games, this one has various hidden icons and items to hunt down or perform in order to get trophies/achievements, which helps add to the replay value.
    You can play the missions solo, in co-op mode or even in group multi-player maps (I admit I didn’t do any multi-player/co-op stuff but I like the set-up in this game for that just the same).

- Graphics/Sound.

Excellent graphics overall. The in-game play and also the cinema scenes all look excellent. The sound effects adhere to established cannon for the most part and fit well with the game.

- Great Voice Work.

Peter Cullen plays Optimus Prime and it feels right here. Fred Tatasciore is Megatron (I’d thought it was Frank Welker as he sounds like him from “Prime”). Anyway, he sounds suitably menacing. Steve Blum channels Vic Caroli’s G1 narrator for the set-up texts for missions. 

- Story.

The first five stages follow the Decepticons as Megatron plots to gain control of Dark Energon.
The remaining five stages follow Optimus and his Autobots as they fight to stop Megatron from gaining his ultimate victory. (I played the Autobot campaign first).
A departure from any one previous continuity, this is like a slightly re-imagined G1 story. Optimus, Megatron and Soundwave are the same but Starscream is now the officer in charge of the space station controlling the Dark Energon (until he later defects). Omega Supreme is closer to how he was in Animated (the key to ancient power) with Ratchet needing to power him up later in the game. Zeta Prime is the leader until Optimus assumes command... All in all, though, the changes are not jarring and fit the plot well. (Although I still don’t see this as a precursor to Prime, no matter what Hasbro says).

The Bad:

- Some areas are slightly repetitive. You get locked into an area and have to fight a horde of enemy clones. Repeat. You fight car drones, jet drones, missile drones, the odd “brute” with shield and axe.  I’ve given the matter more thought and don’t see how they really could’ve avoided this completely though...

- No Devastator? What the hell? :)

- Nice graphics overall, but agree that sometimes the NPC robots blend into the background too much.

- Glitchy in places. You go to get a gun or energon cube and it won't work for some reason. You just pass over/through it instead.

- Stan Bush redid Ground Zero slightly for the end credits (you mileage may vary, but I disliked that. Why not something completely new?)


- An excellent Transformers video game and easily the best one to-date. I look forward to the inevitable sequel (which has been confirmed as being in the works).

(All pictures in this article courtesy