Transformers: War for Cybertron Preview

Transformers: War for Cybertron
The preview seems to have answered our inner childhood dreams, wishes and wants. As fans of the "Transformers" franchise, the preview left us not only wanting more, but also wanting a time machine so we could jump to June 22, 2010 and start playing the full game now! If you are a Transformers fan of any age, set your money aside for this one. Period! If you are not, the fantastic game mechanics, visual and audio will keep you happy.
There are a few major plusses to buy this game no matter what.
First, the story!

The fact that this game is built off the original Hasbro cartoon from the 80s, is amazing. The last company to show case the "Transformers Universe" almost entirely from Cybertron, was the Canada based Mainframe Inc. well known for their award winning "Reboot" series. But that's not the best part. Hasbro, the parent company responsible for this iconic and staple franchise [that Hollywood unfortunately got their ugly vicious hands on], officially accepted parts of this game story as canon (an official part of the Transformer's history). Hasbro has even gone so far as to build toys based off the designs that were created specifically for the game by the design team at High Moon Studios.

This without a doubt confirms that Activision and High Moon Studios are on the right path to redeeming what Hollywood nearly destroyed. In-fact, this adds an incredible amount of credibility to the game which was never there before. High Moon Studios seems to have achieved in one game what some artists, writers, developers and even filmmakers couldn't achieve in almost 2 decades; actual relevance and respect to the original Transformers property.

The game is built around two distinctly different story arks [single player campaigns] that are evidently intertwined. The one caveat which we think makes perfect sense, is that the "Decepticon" story is a prequel to the "Autobot" story. To quote Matt Tieger, Game Director for High Moon Studios, "Bad-guy hatches evil plot, poise to take over the universe. Good guys reset balance of power to neutral".

Here is where you get a lot of back story as to why there was a war to begin with between the "Autobots" and the "Decepticons". Find out how they met and how the initial rivalries were formed. For example have you ever wondered why Megatron seems to keep Starscream around despite his many failures?

Second, core gameplay fundamentals.

Transformers: War for Cybertron (TWC) was built to play well first. High Moon Studios' main goal here was to make the gameplay feel right and then add the rich "Transformers" universe to that experience. They modeled their controls from the Gears of War because well they're pretty much some of the best controls in the world for third-person-action shooters. There are 3 player co-op missions for every level. So when you select either the "Autobots" or "Decepticon" campaign modes, you get to select three characters to play with. Being able to transform between robot mode and vehicle mode is important and was subsequently important to the developers as well. But more importantly unifying the control scheme between modes was a necessity to reduce the level of control complexity. They way they accomplish this is that all vehicles (ground or air) have a hover mode and then a speed mode - for when you hit the gas. Air combat, though different from ground, uses the same controls as ground combat. This is a very ambitious move by the developers and since this wasn't a hands-on demo we can't comment on whether they actually accomplished it.

Third, believe ability.

The scale to which this game was developed seems to be of the highest caliber. The folks over at High Moon Studios are gung-ho over producing a product of this scale and magnitude. The Cybertronian environments, sounds, enemies, locations, are all intrinsically intertwined within the new story ark. At one point during the demo a battle against "Omega Supreme" who is an extremely huge "Autobot". The scale here is noticeable right away and it's spot on. The weapons and movement match the psyche of the characters very well.

Lastly, multiplayer.

To be honest this wasn't a surprise though admittedly met with some angst. Since we didn't see a specific example of multiplayer mode we can't talk about how the experience was. What we can tell you is the following. Everything that you can do in campaign mode can be done in multiplayer. The same experience as far as scale, design, interactions, animations, control schemes, etc., are all present according to the folks at High Moon Studios. Customize your own transformer is a feature that allows all the mod-heads to build their own robot. They're four classes available in multiplayer mode, leader, scout, soldier, and scientist. For each class you can select from available vehicle types and then based on those types choose a selected number of weapons, abilities and skills accordingly. The Leader class are the trucks. The scout class (cars) can cloak and move fast. The soldier class (tanks) have the most health and deal the most damage. And lastly you've got the scientist class (Jets) that use "repair rays" for healing and repairs, disguise their colors to look like the other team, lay traps and manipulate the battle field. You can level up each class as you play through and earn experience points to enhance their abilities. You've got your standard modes of play like capture the flag, death match, team death match, etc.

Finally to quote something Alejandro said at the end of the demo. "Even if every mag/site/etc gives this game a low rating of a 1, they still have my money". I second that. This is a must have game for 2010 and is being released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 and PC platforms.