Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC | DS
Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: High Moon Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 22, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall
by Kyle B. Stiff

The best thing about War for Cybertron is that it actually takes place on the Transformers’ homeworld of Cybertron. The problem with nearly every Transformers story is, of course, that they tend to take place on earth.

Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot

So on the one hand, you have these giant, powerful robots, each with its own personality, and all of them are intense because, whether good or evil, they’re fighting for something they believe in; on the other hand, script writers always wrongly assume that the audience won’t be able to identify with these heroic badasses, so they throw in a bunch of humans that we can relate to, except the humans are always small, weak, uninteresting, and don’t really believe in anything. And I know I’m not the first person to be disturbed by the idea that if a human is riding around inside a Transformer while in vehicular mode, all it would take is one slip-up, one high-speed transformation gone wrong, to reduce the human a soupy mess of bone shards and sausage left spraying through the cracks of the Transformer’s hull.

So, thankfully, you get to play as any one of a huge cast of Transformers in and around the sleek, mechanical world of Cybertron. The bad part? The gameplay handles like a blind mule.

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B button, the bottom bump, jumps; that much is fine. But then the attack buttons are mapped to Y and X, which are the left and top buttons. Imagine trying to use Y, the button commonly used to exit a menu, for attacking, then imagine using the very top button in the middle of close-quarters, hand-to-hand combat. The end result is that you’re going to find yourself hitting A, the button on the far right, the button most commonly mapped to some form of attack, in the middle of a fight... and the A button is, guess what, used for swapping out characters. This function should have been mapped to the “select” button, not nestled right alongside buttons used for attacking and evading. Of course, all of this would be moot if players had simply been given the option to change the control scheme to fit their personal taste or, in my case, in order to resemble the thousands of other games I’ve played during my years as a gamer.

Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot

The stylus is not used except for one purpose: to transform. So forget transforming on-the-fly. Transforming should have, of course, been mapped to the “start” button, so that it’s available but still out of the way, while the menu screen could easily have been accessed by the stylus. As it is, you’re going to find yourself fighting, pulling out the stylus, tapping the screen to transform, and then tucking the stylus into your mouth so you can access it as quickly as possible. But because it’s absurd to expect gamers to do that, expect to eventually get pretty good at never transforming unless the level design specifically requires that you do so... meaning that transforming becomes more of a bothersome chore rather than a fun gameplay bonus. And why you can’t recharge your weapon’s energy while in flight mode is beyond me; perhaps the developers were afraid gamers would have too much fun while in flight.

There is one thing solid about the gameplay: the huge cast of unique characters. You can play as two different characters during each outing, and it doesn’t take long to unlock quite a few to pick from. Characters can be slow-moving heavy bruisers, like Megatron and Optimus Prime, light and fast like Bumblebee, or capable of flight, like Starscream. Characters handle similarly at first, but as you gain experience and level up and distribute stat points into different fields of expertise, eventually each character can really gain a unique identity all his own.

Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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