Having grown up with the original Transformers cartoon in the 80s, it was something that was indelibly etched into my young, geeky mind. Heck, I think I still have, somewhere in my boxes of stuff, my G1 Optimus Prime toy.
And now, after multiple cartoon, comic book, movie and game versions — with multiple continuities threading their way through each — we’re given Transformers: War for Cybertron, which acts as a prequel to the 1980s cartoon, explaining the story up to the Transformers crash-landing on Earth. Telling the story in two distinct campaigns — one for Decepticons, one for Autobots — the groundwork is laid for the last days of the Transformers’ civil war on their home planet.
The game is a lot of fun. You should probably just stop reading now and go buy it.
A solid third-person shooter is the foundation, with a fantastic transforming mechanic layered on top of that. The combat situations are then designed to take advantage of both aspects. Going from robot to vehicle and back is an absolute treat. The combat is solid and satisfying, especially if you are able to get in close enough to pull off a melee attack.
The attention to details is evident. War for Cybertron was a labor of love for the developer, High Moon Studios. Small moving pistons and gears on the characters are noticeable, and the slight redesigns to core characters such as Soundwave, Starscream and others are well thought-out. The characters still look like themselves and are recognizable, but have a freshness to them. The voice actors all do their best to replicate the voices from the original cartoon. And then there’s Peter Cullen, the original voice behind Optimus Prime (yes, he was in the recent movies, too), reprising his role as Optimus … ’nuff said.
The multiplayer aspects are solid, fun and outrageously addicting. The “Escalation” mode is my absolute favorite, because of the strategy involved (nonstop hordes of enemies keep attacking you, but you have to coordinate with your teammates about obtaining ammunition, health and weapons from distant locations).
If you’re an old-school Transformers fan and you’ve been blase about the recent games, do yourself a favor and go pick up War for Cybertron. You’ll thank me.