Astute people may have noticed I changed up my signature recently. There's a link to a blog now. Why, you can Click Here (basisgames.blogspot.com) to see it. My brother-in-law and I have started a video games blog as a little hobby. As we were starting it up, I thought "I posted reviews at The W for a while. Maybe I should do one more".
So here it is. One more full review for The W, before they all go up to the blog, which you can Click Here (basisgames.blogspot.com) to see (last of the cheap plugs, I promise). After this one you can expect a brief overview followed by a link or something like that.
On with the show, shall we?
Title: Transformers - War for Cybertron Systems: Available on all platforms, although for this review we're looking at the 360. Style: 3rd person Shooter Developer: High Moon Studios. Publisher: Activision. Players: Up to 3 in the Co-op Campaign mode.
I'll level with you all; I'm 28 years old and I grew up with Transformers. I have longed for a good Transformers game for years. I've heard and seen about this game for a while now. Watched several videos, read previews. Everyone was optimistic except.....we've been burnt before. These people are like me; they want so desperately for a good Transformers game yet they get burnt all the time. Others want a good licensed game PERIOD just so that the trend of poor licensed games stop. Stop the bleeding. So at this point, after two poor games already under their belts, Activision sees that the fans of the franchise simply want even a decent title.
Enter High Moon Studios.
High Moon Studios has had a long history, although some may not know it. They've worked with licenses before, the latest one was a quite serviceable entry into the Jason Bourne brand. So Activision proceeded to entrust High Moon with the Transformers Franchise. Preview video were soon shown, which had people thinking "this looks nice, but previews are previews". Soon developer diaries were being posted, and people thought "they talk a good game, lets see if they MAKE a good game". Then something crazy happened; they showed multiplayer gameplay footage.
And it didn't suck.
Now people were paying attention. People like me all of sudden got their hopes up. People who enjoy good shooters were getting excited. Hands-on previews by journalists yielded positive results....but still. Everyone was still cautious. We've all been burnt before. The past week or so a multiplayer demo hit X-Box Live....was the hype justified?
That's why I review games of course.
The long story short here is YOU either take on the role of the Decepticons or Autobots, as they battle for the fate of their World Cybertron. They've been fighting for...." a while",and the War is about to come to a head. Two separate campaign modes, both of which can be done through online co-op. Hasboro, the makers of the toys, have stated this is an official prequel to the G1 Universe. If you know what that sentence means, you are with me in the hope that this game is excellent. Does it deliver?
Graphics: These days companies really need to work hard to make a bad looking game. Seriously, you really need to try. On the opposite side it also takes a lot of effort to separate yourself from the pack. War for Cybertron overall has good graphical presentation which adds to the gameplay. The key is the sense of scale....you see a huge building, you might forget you are a GIANT ROBOT. But the scale works well. Some people might complain about the "darkness" of the game.....but when there's been a long conflict between giant robots who can make things go boom, dark and gloomy is going to happen. Overall, I've seen better looking titles.....but I've seen a lot worse. And the graphics do add atmosphere to the game. I'd give it a solid 8.5/10. Of course, graphics was not everyone's concern with this title.
Sound: Explosions, robot sounds, TRANSFORMING SOUNDS. All of this is in there. The music isn't bad, but with all the action happening you may not notice it. Nothing really jumped out me, which is both good and bad. Good because it did not provide a distraction, bad because a good score can really get you involved more. I really don't have much to say here; it is what it is. I'll give it an 8/10, although to be fair I still have a good chunk of some Campaign left so this score might change. Of course, sound was not everyone's concern with this title.
Controls: THIS was a big concern. How would it control? Well, High Moon did the smart thing and decided to not re-invent the wheel. They apparently wanted to make sure that the control scheme would work well not just for the game, but also make it one that just about anyone could pick up and use.
Enter the Unreal Engine.
When used as it should, the Unreal Engine is one of the most well-known and respected engines in Video Games. Any game that uses it tends to have instant credibility. If a company screws up the Unreal Engine, it is a mark of failure which follows a developer for quite some time. The issue High Moon faced was "what about the cover system?". The cover system would not work well in a game with giant robots. So High Moon's response:
"Dudes, screw the cover system, we got robots that TRANSFORM AND BLOW STUFF UP".
And the game is the much the better for it. In robot mode the game plays like any Unreal title, and it controls great. Wonderful, actually. And I safely will say you will NOT miss the cover system. Why? Because vehicle mode rocks.
That's right, vehicle mode controls well and has a purpose. Maps are huge so you'll need to transform to get around. A lot of weapons can lock-on target vehicles, so you can't stay in vehicle mode (or get awesome at barrel rolls). Controlling the vehicles might take some used to, but once you do you'll be a pro. Deciding when/where to transform is key to multiplayer. Transforming is fluid to a fan of the series looks wonderful. The game mechanic issues that have plagued all games in the franchise are no longer an issue. 9.5/10 easily.
Intangibles: It's a Transformers game that doesn't suck plus it's officially canon. If you're Transformers fan you're looking at a 10 right there. If you're NOT a Transformers fan, you have a solid title that is fun to play. Lots of replay experience with the different multiplayer modes, especially considering they lifted not only the class based system from Team Fortress 2 but ALSO the perks/leveling system from Call of Duty.
Yes, that's right, TF2 and CoD. These guys are serious.
Through in an online co-op mode for the campaign and it's still a winner. A special not for Escalation Mode, which is like Horde mode with a twist; the ammo is limited to you must share ammo between you and your teammates.
Oh, and there's the novelty of even if you don't know anything about Transformers, you have GIANT ROBOTS THAT TRANSFORM INTO VEHICLES. 9.5/10, with a slight deduction for a lack of cosmetic customization in multiplayer (ie; vehicle chassis).
Closing Comments: I picked up my pre-order at EB Games and mentioned I played the demo for a while. The guy behind the counter asked me if it was any good. The following exchange happened:
Me: "Take Gears of War and remove the cover system. Add in Team Fortress 2 class styles. Throw in Modern Warfare 2 perks and level progression. Oh, and transforming into TANKS AND JETS".
Him: "You're joking".
Me: "No. The Scout can cloak, snipe, and moves fast. The solider is a tank. Literally, a TANK. The Scientist is an Engineer who heals. And turns into a jet.
Him: "......I need to get this".
Me: "Yes, yes you do. And tell your friends and customers that".
My friends, I'm here to tell you you need to get this game. If you like any of the following you will love this game;
- 3rd Person Shooters (like Gears or Unreal). - Team Fortress 2. - Modern Warfare 2. - TRANSFORMERS. - Co-op campaigns. - Multiplayer shooters. - TRANSFORMERS.
As a fan of the franchise and as a gamer, I am here to tell all of you that this game delivers the goods.
Final Score: 35.5/40, which is a emphatic 89%.
Get this game. Everyone get it. If for no other reason to show companies you won't settle for less than this from a licensed game. And if you're a Transformers fan like me......rejoice, and feel vindicated that you finally have a game that does service to your memories.
(edited by El Nastio on 22.6.10 1919) After a (very) long hiatus, I have begun to write again. And this time, I'm not alone!
Click Here (basisgames.blogspot.com) to check out Basis Games - Video Game/Console Reviews, Commentaries, and Analysis. Check it out!
I think the store updates again tonight as part of their efforts to get caught up on the release schedule, so I'd imagine that a number of those sales will end then. At least for Fancy Pants and Braid those are tremendous deals!