PS3 Reviews: Transformers: War for Cybertron Review

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Transformers: War for Cybertron Review

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Graphics:

 

7.6

Gameplay:

 

8.4

Sound:

 

7.9

Control:

 

8.3

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Online Gameplay:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.2

 

 

Publisher:

Activision

Developer:

High Moon Studios

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action

We’ve seen games based on the Transformers cartoon and movie franchises before, but they’ve never quite delivered. Typically, such titles show little besides unrealized potential, which is why we entered the review of Trasnformers: War for Cybertron with some trepidation. However, High Moon Studios, the team responsible for the very solid and entertaining Kung Fu Panda, had the capability to do it again. And thankfully, for the most part, they did. The technical aspects aren’t anything to write home about, the voice acting is often spotty, and there are some small issues concerning the camera and basic controls, but the positives outweigh the negatives. Perhaps it helps a great deal that War for Cybertron is an original adventure; it isn’t based on any of the films. This means we get a new story in the form of a semi-intriguing sequel and this particular experience will definitely give you some serious bang for your buck.

As I just said, the graphics really aren’t outstanding, but they suffice. I always find myself thinking the game is much too dark – doesn’t this planet have any suns? – but there are a few brighter parts of the quest, and the transformer detailing is actually quite good. What we’re usually most concerned with in a fast-paced action shooter is whether or not the frame rate remains steady, the animations remain fluid, and the overall visual presentation matches the intended attitude and style. As was the case with Kung Fu Panda, High Moon manages to excel in most all areas of concern, and that’s good news for Transformers fans. The levels are nicely constructed and mostly diverse in nature, the special effects aren’t particularly flashy but still quite competent, and the cut-scenes are especially appealing. It’s not going to win any annual graphics awards but then again, it doesn’t need to. This palette and presentation works very well; it delivers much of what it promises and followers of the series likely won’t be disappointed.

The sharpness of the sound and the decent array of music helps to make the game even more entertaining. In some ways, one might expect the effects to override everything else; after all, we’ve got high-powered massive robots engaging in battle. But the developers strike a good balance between the intensity of the effects and the clarity and quality of the soundtrack, which isn’t easy to do. The voice acting can be decent at times but then again, we have to remember we’re talking about a cartoon-y, comic-y premise that doesn’t necessarily take itself seriously. In other words, much like the visuals, the sound simply fits. Occasionally, I wanted more of an explosive impact to accompany one of my over-the-top assaults but overall, I was most satisfied with the results of my mech marauding. It would also help a great deal if you had a decent stereo setup in the home; this is one game that could really benefit from enhanced audio.

Third-person shooters no longer take a back seat to first-person shooters in terms of quality and cutting-edge achievements. In fact, many of the best games of the generation are TPSs, which is why a game like Transformers really needs to nail down the basic control mechanic; the mech-based structure throws another wrench into the works. Controls for mech adventures can often prove to be clunky, slow, awkward and entirely unreliable, and when you’ve got specialized robots that can transform into other machines with completely different abilities…well, it sounds like a development nightmare. But while High Moon doesn’t exactly ace the test, they do pass with flying colors. They simplify the action and transforming approach by fluidly streamlining machine transitions, and they even manage to add an effective and polished flight system. Moving about and blasting away at the enemy is easy and engaging, and the challenge always feels just about right.

There are a few small issues, though. For instance, the camera can go bonkers when jammed into a tight space, or when you find yourself pinned against an ally. This leads me to another slight problem, which involves allies getting in the way during especially intense firefights, and because the AI isn’t the greatest, this can get pretty annoying. While your friends will often help out, there are just too many times when they sit there in cover and do nothing. The good news is that the enemy AI isn’t any better, so you can sort of take advantage. Even so, the preceding can all hinder your enjoyment and it’s noticeable enough to be problematic throughout, which keeps this game from vaulting into the elite ranks. That being said, I refer you back to the introduction, where we told you the positives outweighed the negatives…it’s absolutely true, primarily because when I sat down to play War for Cybertron, I found I was still playing two hours later, which is always a very good sign.

The story involves what amounts to a civil war between the Decepticons and Autobots on Cybertron; at the start, you can either begin in Chapter I with the Decepticons, or you can skip to Chapter VI and take the side of the Autobots. This gives you a good amount of freedom and given the game’s ten available chapters, there’s plenty of gameplay involved. It can take a good hour and a half – if not longer – to finish some of the tougher chapters, so you do the math. Furthermore, you will travel about with a party of three allies for both the Decepticons and Autobots, and although you can’t switch between them when playing through the chapter, you can select the Transformer you wish to control before starting. Most of the robots move in the same fashion, although they stand apart thanks to unique transforming and inherent skills. For instance, Starscream can turn into that speedy jet, and when the meter is full (charge it by collecting energy shards), you can engage your Transformer’s special ability.

Transforming is as simple as a press of the R3 button, and you can switch at just about any time, even in the midst of moving or fighting. You do have to wait for the animation to finish before switching back, but that’s to be expected. You have a melee attack and the option to carry one additional weapon that acts as a supplemental tool to your robot’s default weapon. These weapons are all very cool; although they go by different names, there are equivalents to rocket launchers and sniper rifles, and it’s fun to experiment with each Transformer’s default weapon. And let’s not forget that the vehicle you change into also has a unique weapon, which many times serves as a survival tool if you happen to run out of ammo for the other guns. The control is always simple and accessible, I didn’t sense any collision detection issues, the level design forces you to utilize both forms, the boss fights are intense and enjoyable, and some chapters will play very differently depending on your Transformer choice.

The bottom line is that the speed and control works and the game stays fun throughout most all chapters. There’s a wee bit of repetition involved, you often find yourself running out of ammo a bit too often (depending on the situation), and the camera can pose a problem here and there, but none of this is enough to cripple the experience. For those who either grew up with the cartoon or are newcomers who love the movies, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a great option, and one that’s well worth your time and money. The multiplayer is also fulfilling, especially if you happen to know another big Transformers fan, and there aren’t many problems to speak of. At this point, I’d say that any game made by High Moon Studios should probably be given your due attention; this is the second time they’ve managed to crush our skepticism and come through in fine shape.

6/30/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (40 posts)

Highlander
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 3:17:20 PM
Reply

8.2 out of 10, that's a very respectable score around here. Nice review, it almost seems like it would be worth a purchase for a non-fan of the transformer movies. I don't mean I dislike them, I've just never been bothered to watch them.

Since this is a game by the same folk who made the Kung Fu Panda game, (as noted in the review) I'll need to keep an eye out for their games in future.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/30/2010 3:18:14 PM

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Jonesy555
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 3:44:44 PM
Reply

Gamefly needs to get on their P&Qs and send me my copy so I can finally play it!

Edit: Just as I submitted, I got an email from Gamefly saying they've mailed the game. LoL

Last edited by Jonesy555 on 6/30/2010 3:46:22 PM

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frylock25
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 3:51:19 PM
Reply

i am so happy to read a good review on this game. i havent seen any reviews for it yet this being the first i have read. other wise i have gotten a lot of positive feedback from people playin it and my thoughts on it after watching the videos was that i cant wait.

hell i have decepticon badges on my car and my tv.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 5:40:38 PM
Reply

The only thing I want from High Moon Studios is Darkwatch 2!!!

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Snaaaake
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 6:01:24 PM

So I'm not the only one here on PSXE who love Darkwatch?!?!??

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 6:24:12 PM

Dude, I sport a Darkwatch badge on my Fall jacket. "Death fears those who wear the badge." I really hope High Moon gets to work on that one.

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main_event05
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 7:05:46 PM

I like that game too. My only problem with it was it was a bit short.

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kraygen
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 11:04:16 PM

@ world

I've never heard of that game, what system is it for and what kind of game is it?

And in case you missed my post a few days ago about contacting me

Kraygen is my psn id.

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Axe99
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 5:58:24 PM
Reply

Only played the first couple of chapters and a few hours of this online, so I'm not the most informed commenter, but my experience totally agrees with the review - it was a really pleasant surprise to find such an enjoyable and polished game.

It also does very well online, with the online matchmaking and party system working far better than the oft-touted but far clunkier set-ups of MW2 or BC2 (I'm not talking about gameplay here, but rather how you get into a game), and the lag noticeably less than either of these two. And it has proper private game options, something both BC2 and MW2 shanked (they've got 'em, but their barely functional). With eight maps and six modes, it also offers more variety than BC2, and is a blast to play. The Escalation (survival) mode is also top fun with mates, and well thought-out :).

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chedison
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 10:49:01 PM

glad to see people getting and liking this game. If you want someone to play with, add me :)

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Axe99
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 3:55:22 PM

Hey chedison, would love to mate but struggle to get room on friends list - deffo not you, and hope to bump into you online sometime - double XP this weekend I hear :).

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 6:19:26 PM
Reply

Yes, yes, yes, avid "Darkwatch" fanboy here!

I need's me another bloody taste of a evil supernatural vampire Western

And I just gotta love those babes too...
Cassidy's hot & Tala's not only seductive, she's one hell of a bada$$ed MO'FO' too!!!

"The Darkwatch want's you"
(So MAKE IT SO, High Moon!!!!)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 6:27:10 PM

Definitely one of the more fun FPSs of all time. And nothin beats shooting bad guys from your Demon Horse.

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schillah
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 7:09:55 PM
Reply

idk...score seems kinda low for this game

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 7:13:42 PM

IGN gave it a 9

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 7:38:57 PM

It's averaging less; around an 8 according to GameRankings.

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kraygen
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 11:05:29 PM

An 8.2 is low? In my book 8.2 means that a game is really great.

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MyWorstNightmar
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 8:06:16 PM
Reply

A bit O/T I admit, and perhaps it has been addressed already and I have missed it, but why the lack of a ModNation Racers review? I thought a PS3 exclusive with that amount of advance hype would have gotten a review rather quickly.

Interested to hear what Ben or Arnold think of the game top to bottom...

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MyWorstNightmar
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 1:22:01 AM

So Ben has responded to comments that were posted after mine......

So I am to surpmise that PSX will not review ModNation and in fact, perhaps has a beef with the developers. Silence can lead to all kinds of assumptions.

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Highlander
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 8:58:40 AM

Um, actually, I believe that Ben has answered this on previous occasions, you must have missed the response. Gotta love instant negative assumptions though. :P

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MyWorstNightmar
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 9:11:19 AM

haha, ok, I will assume the opposite...they loved the game, but decided to not do a review.

I suppose the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

I have seen others ask about it, and have not seen a response. But again, they could have and I missed it.

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Highlander
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 9:36:29 AM

I may be mis-remembering, but I thought that it had been answered a while back, but I may be wrong. I have seen the same request from many others though. Hopefully Ben can set us straight.

As for a review, if I get a chance tonight, I may post a user review of it with some help from my son. That should provide a kids POV (he's 13 going on 12) and an adult point of view.

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MyWorstNightmar
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 7:17:11 PM

Now we're talking! I'll look for it.

I looked back at an old comment section, and a user said they thought Arnold was doing it.

But good grief, the game was release May 25th.

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PAKINIPS
Friday, July 02, 2010 @ 7:33:24 AM

Iv asked a few times as well, i was holding back on a purchase because i wasn't 100% sure from the demo.
I can wait :)

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dork02840
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 9:16:52 PM
Reply

ben as far as the lower scores are concerned, TPS are becoming more and more common this generation. also they are from overseas( a couple of them anyway and so i can easily imagine that to them maybe the show is not quite as big and it just comes off as gears of war with robots and clunky graphics. i am a ravenous transformers fan and i found myself taking issue with the textures and a few glitches. i like it mainly due to the fan service and the voice acting. my only gripe is the lack of more single player offline modes. oh and ben: hate to say i told you so. :-p

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 12:48:37 AM

Told me so...? About what?

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 9:31:41 PM
Reply

Lovin the game a lot! I didnt expect it to be this good!

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kraygen
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 11:06:35 PM
Reply

I'm really surprised by the love this game is getting. I just don't typically see good scores for transformer games or mech games in general. So I may have to keep my eyes open for a good deal on this game.

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FM23
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 11:25:55 PM
Reply

This is the most accurate review on the internet. Gametrailers praises it while forgetting to point out most of the flaws and they give it a 7.7. IGN transformers nerds were too excited to give the game a proper score and gave it a 9. Gamespots reviewers were too stuck up to find this game enjoyable. And every review that rated it low were mad because it almost played like Gears of War, don't want to upset Microsoft. Anyway, all I am saying is, Ben, thank you for being honest. After GOWIII, this is the most fun I have gotten out of a game this year mostly due to the multiplayer and Transformer G1 appeal. But there is no lying, this game has drawbacks for days.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 11:51:28 PM

Personally those drawbacks are forgettable. I finally can buy a Transformers game and be happy with its direction and game play.

I really enjoy this game. It feels like a true homage to Transformers! That's all the fans ever asked for, and all we get is Shia LeBeuf and horrible movie tie-ins.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 12:49:13 AM

At the very least, agree or disagree, I'll always be honest with the readers. :)

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Highlander
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 9:40:10 AM

I find that far too many reviewers are like those at Gamespot. As you said of them; "Gamespots reviewers were too stuck up to find this game enjoyable."

Too many times I'll read a review of a game that I know is good from my own experience and find the reviewer is so stuck up and opinionated that they cannot fairly review the game. Of course there reverse is true - usually of the same reviewers. There'll be a game that is utter drek but because of their innate bias and whatever other baggage they carry, they think it's world class.

Thankfully, these reviewers are easily identified by their style, and I avoid them like the plague.

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th3_bLy
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 2:41:15 AM
Reply

I think my biggest gripe about the game is how tedious the boss battles get.. My friends and I have been trying to finish the Decepticon campaign, and it's frustrating to do on hard mode and on the second part of the fight.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 10:16:18 AM

Uh...maybe they're tedious because you're playing on Hard?

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___________
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 3:17:22 AM
Reply

im actually really impressed with this, though the constant remark of 2010s batman AA is stretching it a little!
this is good, batman AA was outstanding!

though as usual with shooters there is almost no change in level design and environments what so ever.
what is it with shooters these days and designing one level than repeating it 10 times?
a little variety would be nice!!!!!!!!!!

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tanner1
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 6:43:32 AM
Reply

Off topic but what about the review of the ps3 exclusive mod nation racers thats been out a while now?

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fluffer nutter
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 3:33:30 PM

You know that you can send them an email and ask this and run the chance of getting it answered directly, right?

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fluffer nutter
Thursday, July 01, 2010 @ 3:32:24 PM
Reply

I read a review, last night, that said this game was great, lots of fun but then they hit the score down to a 7/10 because of the multiplayer. Regardless, I just ordered a copy for $49 shipped. Looking forward to it.

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chedison
Friday, July 02, 2010 @ 3:27:47 AM

Not sure why they bumped the score down because of the multiplayer, when that's one of the shining factors of the game. Anyhow, glad you ordereed it. Add my on psn if you want someone to play with.

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mid10smaradoarg
Friday, July 09, 2010 @ 2:48:31 AM
Reply

tell activision to fix the god damn online of BLUR

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