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'Cybertron' transforms franchise

July 8, 2010

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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TransformersSpider-Man. Shrek. The X-Men. The Marvel heroes in 'Ultimate Alliance'. It may have not always been the case - Anyone remember some of those 'Spider-Man' movie games? - but you can now add 'Transformers' to the list of ready-made franchises that Activision has improved upon and strengthened through gaming.

Producing original stories that remain faithful to the source material and building upon the mythos that already exist, Activision has taken great leaps forward in finally giving fans the games they have always wanted.

'X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse' from 2005 is still the best X-Men game to date. 2008's 'Spider-Man: Web of Shadows' is the pinnacle web-slinging experience for fans of Peter Parker and his arachnid super powers. The 'Marvel Ultimate Alliance' series is a tribute to the mighty Marvel universe. Now, 'Transformers: War for Cybertron' is THE game fans have waited a long, long time for.

TransformersFilling in the historic gaps, 'Cybertron', a first-person shooter using the Unreal engine, explains how the home of the Autobots and Decepticons was laid to waste by a civil war. Through separate campaigns, both sides of the battle for Cybertron are detailed.

In the Decepticon pathway, meanie Megatron believes it is his destiny to bring Cybertron back from the abyss and to its former glory. He will do so by infecting the planet with the newly discovered "Dark Energon" ridding it of the Autobot plague. He will have to get by the monstrous Omega Supreme first though.

Choosing the Autobot campaign puts players in charge of a novice Optimus Prime who has had the leadership of the Autobots thrust upon him when Zeta Prime goes missing. Alongside Ratchet and Bumblebee, Prime defends Cybertron against the Megatron and the Decepticon onslaught which includes such enemies as Soundwave, Frenzy, Rumble, Lazerbeak, Starscream and the colossal Trypticon.

TransformersDuring each level, three playable 'Transformers' are available and both campaigns can be played single player or cooperatively but only through online multiplayer not via the same console which is a bit disappointing. One wonders why multiplayer on the same console is a rarity these days, especially when it comes to games like 'Cybertron' where fans, especially parents and their children, would love to play side-by-side in the same household? Come on, developers. Cut us a break.

Although combined the single player campaigns total over 10-plus hours of play time, the cooperative campaign and competitive multiplayer modes are what reinforces the replayability. Selecting between an assortment of classes such as "soldiers", "scientists", "scouts", "leaders", who have their own unique traits, transformations and weapons, players can design their own Transformer. In addition to the customary Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Territory modes, there is Escalation which another adaptation of the 'Gears of War' Horde mode.

TransformersThe admiration High Moon has for the 'Transformer' franchise is evident in the detail of the recognizable characters. The more primitive, more mechanical, Cybertronian versions of the 'Transformer' icons with their scratched and scraped bodies, visible moving parts, make the transformations from vehicle to humanoid forms and back totally plausible and to be honest, totally cool.

There is also something about the High Moon's primal look that just feels far more genuine than the glossy and polished offerings you'd see in 'Transformers: Animated' and the like. The approach fits in well with the gameplay which because of the terrain, has characters shifting forms to maneuver their way around and blast enemies. Although some of the raw metallic settings and the enemies themselves could have used a bit more diversity, the look of the game is quite eye-catching. The use of greys, blacks as the primary shades make any other colour, such as Bumblebee's yellow or Megatron's purple, really stand out. The Transformers never looked so good in any media.

Since 1996 when the very first 'Transformer' game was released on for the Commodore 64 - a computer system which will always have a special place in my heart - 'Transformer' fans have yearned for a game that would embody everything that had made the franchise a pop culture mainstay. 'War for Cybertron' is that game


Transformers'Transformers: War for Cybertron'
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Activision
Developer: High Moon Studios
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Official Site:

Rating: 8.5 / 10


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