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July 20, 2010
Transfomers: War For Cybertron - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
23/6/2010ActivisionActivisionHigh Moon Studios12-10
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc5GB720pDD5.1NoM

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War for Cybertron is a pretty impressive game.
Admittedly I wasn't the biggest Transformers fan growing up. Sure I had some toys, I watched some of the cartoons, but I can't say I was a fan in the same way I loved some other franchises. When the first Michael Bay movie came out my love of the franchise was reborn, and has continued to this day with some, but not as much admiration, for the second movie as well. Sadly while we've enjoyed the movies, the video game tie-ins from Activision have, frankly, sucked balls (or perhaps the enemies' scrotum is a more accurate term).

So here we are with Transformers: War For Cybertron a game freed from the shackles of a movie tie-in and this time developed by High Moon Studios. Could this redeem the franchise in videogame form? In short, yes.

Set before contact with Planet Earth War For Cybertron tells the story of the civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons for their home world, Cybertron. With Hasbro's approval this game fills in many of the gaps in Transfomers lore including how Starscream defected to the Decepticons, and how Optimus Prime became leader of the Autobots.

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In-game, War for Cybertron looks impressive.
This third person action game is played from both sides, the Decepticons and Autobots, and upon starting the campaign mode you have a choice of either side, however the storyline progresses from the Decepticon to the Autobots so we suggest you play them in that order. Each of the campaigns offers a few hours of play and all up the 12 chapters for both sides takes around 8 hours or so to get through, depending on the difficulty level selected.

As you move through the levels your selected character, each of which comes from a different class and has different weapons and attributes, can transform from mech form to vehicle simply by pressing the L3 button. It's quick, and looks slick. As well as being able to hold two main weapons you can use L1 to zoom in for more accurate targeting, press R1 to fire weapon or use the R3 button to melee attack. The developers have also worked in sections of the game where you really do need to transform in order to complete certain sections.

Impressively War for Cybertron's main campaign isn't just a single-player game but allows you to go online to play through the missions with two other friends. Obviously it's dependent on your internet connections, but the games we played were pretty lag free, an a lot of fun. Sadly there is no option for a split-screen co-op mode.

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These guys with shields are tough.
There are a few annoyances with the single-player campaign unfortunately. First of all the game has a very lengthy initial installation time where it dumps around 5GB of data onto the Hard Disc. Annoying, but we can live with that. What then annoys is that every single time you boot the game, you have the introduction logos and videos (which can be skipped), but then around a 40 second data check as the game verifies that the PS3 has the 5GB of files loaded... Zzzzz.... Not only that but occasionally in the middle of a level the game will pause for a few moments to load more data. C'mon guys, you need to make this a lot slicker.

In terms of the actual gameplay the biggest disappointment is that the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns, while different, almost feel the same due to the same types of weaponry and abilities for the characters. We also felt that the lack of cover type system for the Transformers made the game feel a little 'old' compared to the Triple-A titles we expect today.

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Looking down on Cybertron.
We now move onto one aspect of War for Cybertron that really surprised, the mutli-player which reaches well beyond the co-op mode detailed above. Not expecting much we concentrated our review on the single player experience, but when we went looking we found quite an accomplished title online with support for up to 10-players online at once. There are six game modes in total which includes favourites such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch (which is where almost everyone is playing at the moment), and the very entertaining, but under populated, Conquest mode. The developers have included a pretty comprehensive leveling up system too which sees your Transformers getting new abilities and weapons. There's plenty of depth here and we can see ourselves spending plenty of time in this game mode.

Beyond those six game modes War For Cybertron includes a mode called Escalation which sees up to four players battling endless waves of enemies which get tougher as each level progresses. As you defeat enemies you earn points which can be spent on extra health, ammo or opening up more areas of the level.

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Transfomers on PS3 looks very good..
One of the first things that hits you about this game is the impressive cut-scenes. Through them you truly get a sense of what Cybertron looked and felt like before its destruction seeing the two warring factions heading to Earth. Everything looks metallic and machine-like while the levels often have a massive open, epic scale to them. The game holds a fairly good frame rate, even when transforming which looks simply amazing.

If there is a downside to this game it's that everything simply looks too grey and metallic and as a result the enemies often blend into the background a little too much and you're often looking at your targeting reticule to change colour to know you have the enemy in your sights. We can only imagine High Moon Studios bringing a sequel to Earth which would look spectacular with the large metallic characters stomping around a colourful city, or the wild green forests.

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Looks like a boss, but it's a small one.
One aspect of this game which we absolutely loved was the audio. The music fits the universe quite nicely, and the effects are meaty enough with pounding gunfire and explosions dominating. Where this game hits the home run though is with the voiceovers which are simply amazing. Sure, the cut-scenes are filled with banter (and these voices include Peter Cullen among others), but it's during the actual game too when Transformers calling out to each other, or telling you to get a move on. It just sounds so filled with dialogue...

Overall we certainly enjoyed Transformers: War For Cybertron more then we expected, primarily due to how crap the previous games were. If you're a Transformers fan this is a no-brainer, it's worth a purchase no doubt, if you like action games then we certainly recommend you check this out, especially if you're an online gamer. It's not perfect, but it's a damn good effort and we love High Moon Studios for it!

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSTransformers look good, video clips are great, but it looks a little too metallic and grey.
77%
SOUNDThe voicework for the Transformers is sensational, effects and music impress too.
85%
GAMEPLAYThis really is a fun game although there isn't much gameplay difference between the two warring factions.
76%
VALUEThe campaign isn't too long but the online aspect really adds plenty of value to the game.
84%
OVERALLHuzzah! While it's not perfect this is a Transformers game which fans will love. It looks and plays well and should High Moon make a few small adjustments in the sequel it should be a cracker. As it is, this is still very entertaining.
80%

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