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

All of the Transformers look visually interesting and unique, and the levels themselves work around the graphic limitations of the DS by using intense combinations of colors that is, at times, superb. It takes a true artist to overcome a limited palette and create something visually striking.

Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot

However, all of those great visuals are ruined by the fact that the camera is tilted way to much towards the floor, and the floor of nearly every level just so happens to be the least visually interesting thing going on. Time and again I would enter an area, be fairly amazed by the color scheme, then the camera would reorient itself back to my character’s shoes, as if the camera was manned by some anxiety-stricken introvert deathly afraid of making eye contact with someone else. I caught myself jumping a lot just to get a look at some cool futuristic structure, or look out a window at a gleaming cityscape, or to get a glimpse of a shining nebula out in space. But can you really enjoy a great view while straining to peer over a window ledge two feet above your head? This isn’t the fault of the DS and its small screen; I’ve played a lot of great action/adventure games on the DS in which this wasn’t a problem. This is a problem concerning the gameplay guys not communicating with the art guys or the early testing guys.

The sound, however, is a slam dunk. The music is action-packed and dramatic and, while not exactly memorable, it inspired me to great acts of heroic violence on more than one occasion. The Decepticon themes are especially great; sinister “cold electronica” tracks perfectly highlight not only Megatron’s thirst for power, but also the brutally psychotic nature of his underlings. The voice over, when it occurs, is surprisingly good. While the dialogue is of laughably rock-bottom quality, the voice work itself is done with a good deal of personality. Nobody is simply phoning in their lines. It’s unfortunate that dialogue is accompanied by incredibly tiny character portraits and, while I understand that animating each and every interaction is probably impossible, some comic book-inspired artwork to go along with the voice work would have been great. As it is, the lackluster visuals alongside the great voice work make the game feel as if it’s still in development.

At least the DS makes that cool transforming sound when you open and shut the lid - that’s something!

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Now, there is the issue of how this game is being sold. One disk for the Autobots and one disk for the Decepticons means that if you want to experience both of the unique storyline perspectives concerning the battle to control Cybertron, you’re going to have to buy TWO games in order to essentially play, well, ONE game. If you want to ignore all of the criticism I’ve leveled at War for Cybertron, and choose only to hear the good things I’ve said about the graphics and sound (which are admittedly good), then I recommend only investing in one disk, not both. I went into the experience assuming that the Decepticons would be cooler, but both sides are equally interesting in their own way. The Decepticons are admirable because it’s fun to lust after power, and the music is very foreboding and dark, but the Autobots are also fun to play because you get to see some character development with Optimus accepting his role as Prime, and the heroic side of the soundtrack is also enjoyable. So it’s not one hundred percent true that only owning one disk means owning half of the game; you can have a very complete experience by playing just one side. Not only is there a fairly lengthy campaign, there’s bonus areas and characters to unlock, and each game even allows you to engage in a poorly executed ad-hoc battle with a buddy in which you both try to figure out how to effectively use the frustrating lock-on targeting system!

By Kyle B. Stiff
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.8
Graphics
Visually interesting Transformers and great-looking levels are marred by a downward-facing camera..
2.0
Control
Though the Transformers move with a satisfying sense of heaviness, combat is a chore due to awkward button mapping and a heinously fickle lock-on targeting system. Using the stylus to transform precludes actually transforming on-the-fly.
4.1
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A great, if not memorable, soundtrack perfectly embodies the sinister aspect of the Decepticons and the heroic struggle of the Autobots. Voice acting, when it occurs, is expertly delivered.
3.2

Play Value
Plenty of Transformers to unlock and collect, and even customize through distributing points during level-up, can add a lot of gameplay to an already-robust campaign. Whether it’s fun to actually use those unlocked Transformers is another matter entirely.

2.6
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Dozens of unique Transformers to unlock. Some are heavy, some are light, some can fly, and each can be upgraded in any way the player sees fit.
  • Takes place on the Transformers’ homeworld of Cybertron, millions of years before their epic struggle was resumed on Earth.
  • Engage in ad-hoc gameplay against friends, and wager one anothers’ collectible Transformers in a game of winner-take-all!


  • Screenshots / Images
    Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge Transformers: War for Cybertron - Autobots/Decepticons screenshot - click to enlarge

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