Transformers: War for Cybertron Review - This 8-Bit Life
Overall Score is 4/5
The campaign mode of WFC is split into halves. When you start, you’re presented with an option to play through the Decepticon or Autobot sides of the story. So far I have only completed a few levels in the Decepticon campaign but I have to say, if it’s all like this then I hope there’s a sequel in the works.
You of course get plenty of nods here and there to the original series, especially in the dialogue (which has a healthy dose of camp). You’ll really see what I mean once you get to the second level of the Decepticon side. This doesn’t mean the dialogue isn’t enjoyable, it’s bad for sure, but bad in a good way. It really evokes the original series without going too far.
I’d say that the best part about the story in this game is that it’s all now official canon. There hasn’t ever been a very detailed explanation of the Transformers story that I’m aware of. There have only ever been vague allusions to what happened to bring them to earth. So it’s pretty exciting as a fan of the series and the comics to get some questions answered.
Overall, the story is shaping up to be pretty good.
I’d really like to thank the modelers, texture artists and concept guys who worked on this game. They really made this look amazing. Each character has their own transformation animation and they all look rather believable. The transitions are smooth, the colors are vibrant and they all have subtle nuances that really make everything feel just right. For example, every time you accelerate with an Aerial Character like Starscream their rear thrusters will kind of pull in slightly to focus the force. It’s attention to the little details like this that really make this a believable experience.
As for the level design, it’s gorgeous. It’s really fun just to see the world of Cybertron (the sentient, robotic home world of the Transformers for the uninitiated) as you move through it causing massive amounts of destruction. Alot of the lighting and colors are just perfect and you get a very good sense that this artificial planet is moving and working around you. All this being said, some of the backdrops and color choices are just too drab. So much so in a few cases that it actually hinders gameplay. There have been a few instances where enemy character models would almost blend into the backdrop due to minor color variances. This can get rather frustrating at times, but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule so far.
I have to say I love the fact that the art direction is somewhere between the original character designs and the new movies. Granted, I pretty much hated the character design (and everything else) about the new movies, but they seem to have found a happy medium here. And it even makes canonical sense if you consider the fact that these characters had core roles that they fulfilled on their homeworld, they simply adapted their appearance to those common objects of our world when they got here.
The gameplay in this has got to be the best thing about it. It plays like your standard over-the-shoulder (Gears of War) shooter. Even most of the button mapping is pretty standard with a few tweaks here and there. You get a real sense of speed when moving in the game and your weapons seem to have significant gravity to them. The combat can vary wildly depending on your play style. I really enjoy the melee weapons quite a bit, in a few situations it was clear that the game intended for me to be pinned down in a firefight. rather than sit there and pick off the enemies though, I would transform, rush towards them, transform back to bipedal and land in the thick of them already landing blows with my energon hammer. The combat is in a word, satisfying.
Unfortunately there have been more than a few times when enemies have just seemed plain stupid and bullet-spongy. I fell like the AI could have used a bit more tweaking, but at the same time, it does feel pretty nice to just lay into a group of enemies and absolutely decimate them. Also I feel like the flight mechanics could use a bit of tweaking as they can feel a bit clunky at times, I expect to feel nimble and quick when flying but the turning is just a bit on the slow side.
I could go on and on about the gameplay here but suffice it to say that while it may not be super innovative, it is still a lot of fun.
And now for the seriously surprising part. The multiplayer doesn’t suck ass. As a matter of fact this is the antithesis of ass suckery! It’s damned excellent. All of the gameplay elements from the single player campaign make their way into the multiplayer experience.
To start with, this is a class based shooter, like any other modern shooter really. You have selectable load outs, buffs for weapons and secondary abilities, upgrades and yes even kill streaks. You are presented with 4 classes, Scout, Scientist, Leader and Soldier.
The Scout class as you may have guessed plays very fast and fluid, they have a cloaking ability that can be upgraded and they’re perfect for racking up the melee kills. They transform into a car of sorts that can really book it when they need to, they’re great for guerrilla-style hit and run tactics.
The Scientist is a support class, they pull multi-duty as they can defend with their upgradable sentries, play medic with their repair gun (which also doles out exponential damage to enemies) and they can even hold their own in close combat if you’re careful. They transform into a kind of jet fighter with a missile-lock on system, it’s hard to get many kills this way as it takes quite a while to get a lock but this form is best for getting to friendlies super quick and healing them.
The Leader class is a tank (as in damage sponge). You can dole out and take heavy damage, of course this also means you move considerably slower than the other classes. One of the coolest things about them is their ability to buff friendlies around them to deal more damage as well. So if you have a good leader in the match he should be buffing the hell out of everyone he can. They transform into, you guessed it, a truck. I doesn’t really have a lot to say about this class yet as I haven’t had enough experience with them, I’ll add info in a later edit.
The Soldier class is your standard, well-rounded archetype. They do good damage, take a decent amount and their weapons are pretty fun to use. specifically the chain gun weapon you can unlock which does massive damage and increases it’s fire rate as you lay on the trigger. Bullet Hose indeed. They transform into a tank that is rather slow moving but does a hell of a lot of damage with direct hits, but you’d better be lined up before you fire because the cool-down on it is unreal, I hope it gets fixed with a patch at some point.
Overall I love, love love this multiplayer and I intend to play it for quite a while, the leveling is fun as always, the in-game achievements are addictive and the pacing of battles is really refreshing. The style of game may be pretty common-place but the fact that you can get into a dog fight, transform mid-air and continue to duke it out on the ground makes this all feel fresh, fast paced and adaptable.