I was excited forTransformers: War for Cybertronwhen it first released back in 2010. A Transformers game that calls back to the 1980s show? Of course I’m excited! I bought it the week it released, played it for a few days, and then I got distracted by other deadlines. I think I was still with Kombo back then, so most likely I got another game I had to review or something else released that caught my attention even more…who knows. The game was shelved with the ideal that I would finish it that year. Considering that it’s 2012 and I’m just now writing a mini-review on it, obviously that never came true. It’s sad that it takes the announcement of a sequel to get my butt in gear, but it happens, and it happened withWar for Cybertron. I’m really sad that I waited so long to play it.
Transformers: War for Cybertron is not a revolutionary game by stretch of the means. The game itself presents nothing new in terms of gameplay. It’s a third-person shooter, but it’s not cover-based, so it often feels clunky in how you have to “take cover” from incoming fire. Basically, if you can’t find a pillar or a doorway to stand behind, you’re kind of hosed if you walk into an ambush. Transforming into a vehicle/plane sometimes helps, but unless you’re a plane, you can count on running out of ammo very quickly.
Nothing is very creative either. For example, with the tank enemies–actual tanks or tank-like soldiers a/k/a brutes–you have to shoot them in the back. With some mini-bosses, you have to shoot off their appendages before their weak spots will magically open up. Every enemy and situation you come across, you’ll know almost instantly how to take care of it, because you’ll surely have already encountered similar situations in other games. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve played a game; everything will feel similar.
The game also suffers from severe steep climbs in difficulty. It’s divided up into two campaigns, Autobot and Decepticon, and they run almost identically. One Act requires using plane Transformers, and the final Act is just a boss fight. I played the campaigns “in order,” meaning that I started with Act I and played straight through to Act X, which started with the Decepticon campaign. The difficulty stayed very similar all throughout until I hit Act X and the Autobot final boss fight. The difficulty suddenly jumped to OMG YOU’RE GOING TO DIE IF YOU BLINK. This wasn’t one of those situations where it seemed hard at first but once you figure out what to do, it’s cake, like the first Guardian boss in Darksiders II. It was incredibly hard even after I saw the patterns and knew what to do. The Decepticon boss fight took me about three tries, and that was mostly my own fault. The Autobot boss fight took me roughly ten tries, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of throwing my controller. One checkpoint in the fight WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE. I honestly thought I would never get through it and I was going to rage quit yet another game this year.
All that said, why did I likeTransformers: War for Cybertronso much? Despite all of these flaws, the game is so much fun. I’ve played a lot of heavy hitters this year, including games that hit me emotionally and games I got overly frustrated with, so it was nice to take a break with a game that is honestly a lot of fun. It called back a lot of my nostalgia to be sure, but since it replicated so much of the 1980s fun SO WELL, it’s why it was so much fun. It’s not going to tug at your heartstrings, and it’s not going to blow your mind, but it’s mindless fun for Transformers fans.
Since there are so many Transformers games based off of the movies, it’s nice to find one that stands out and calls back to old school fans. I cannot wait for Fall of Cybertronnext week now.