Transformers: War For Cybertron - Autobots
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Transformers: War For Cybertron for the Xbox 360/PS3 came out of the gate as a pleasant surprise for fans of the brand, finally giving the franchise a proper video game treatment after years of dismal tie-ins. Taking a title to other hardware platforms can be a risky prospect as there will surely be differences that will ultimately be compared to the superior version (in this case, the Xbox 360/PS3). The Wii edition of War For Cybertron has already failed to live up to the expectation. Does the DS port fare any better? Well, mostly yes, but not by much...
The story follows the end of the war between the Autobots (the good guys) and Decepticons (the bad guys). For the handheld iteration, the two factions are actually split between two different games. In order to experience both view points of the war, you’ll have to buy two separate games (each aptly subtitled Autobots or Decepticons). Basically, the bad guys push the research of the uber-powerful, yet unstable Dark Energon in hopes of turning the tide of the currently stalemated war; the Autobots seek to prevent them from doing so, as they know that kind of power will cause unimaginable destruction for everyone.
Gameplay is the same no matter which side you pick. The player will begin War for Cybertron with two ‘bots at their disposal, having more that can be unlocked through story progression or the discovery of data disks scattered about the game world. Each ‘bot plays pretty much the same though, having a ranged attack and a melee attack plus the ability to transform to their vehicle counterparts on the fly. To flesh things out a bit, each attack is rated as one of three types - Plasma, Solid and Laser - along with each enemy being weak against a specific attack type.
No matter how many robots are unlocked, the player can only bring two into each mission, so making sure to have a balanced team before embarking on to the next stage is vital. The robot’s skills are supposed to also be a deciding factor, giving an RPG-lite mechanic to the game. Experience points can be earned by finding Energon Cubes or by defeating enemies. Once a character levels up, skill points are awarded that allows the player to enhance the defense, damage, and individual skill levels. With that said, the whole system was more of a novelty than anything else, as I never really noticed a difference in my ‘bots. Sure, had I not gone through the motions progressing through the story may have been more difficult, but I honestly never felt I was becoming more powerful by increasing my stats, which pretty much defeats the purpose. Another caveat to keep in mind is the vehicle types, because some areas are only accessible with a jet or car. Furthermore, some stages will be much easier to traverse by just flying through it instead of the awkward platforming some of the robot forms would have to endure.
Yes, awkward. The biggest issue this version of War For Cybertron has is the slushy controls. The touch screen is only used to swap between forms. Everything else is done with the D-Pad and the face/bumper buttons. As with all 3rd person shooters, the camera sits in an over-the-shoulder perspective and without a 2nd thumbstick/D-Pad, the camera remains fixed. This presents a whole slew of issues. Not only is the camera swing touchy to use, but enemies can easily get lost behind you. There is an enemy lock-on option, but it too is finicky in that sometimes it will lock on, others it won’t - and the range is just plain bad. Having a ranged weapon means that I should be able to lock and shoot the foe I see on the other side of the room. Many times, I ended up needing to cover half the distance between myself and my enemy before the lock-on feature would pick the baddie up. If that wasn’t frustrating enough, try jumping between platforms that hover over certain death while dealing with wild camera swing at the same time. Yeah, cheap deaths were aplenty in those areas.
Visually, Transformers: WFC suffers from the same fate that all the other versions have endured: Cybertron itself has a stark mechanical nature. Not that it’s necessarily bad, but it really doesn’t provide much fertile ground with which to appease the eyes. While the DS hardware has certainly limited things, it still managed to look much better than its Wii cousin, providing plenty of detail for the tiny processor and screen size. On the other hand, the audio is one of the weakest overall components. The voice acting is solid for the most part (although Starscream was probably the most hollow of the bunch), but the in-game music amounted to a minor 8-bit midi track. Not that I was expecting 5.1 Dolby Digital, but the DS is certainly capable of handling much more of a soundtrack than what was in this package.
Transformers: War For Cybertron made a valiant attempt at breaking the licensed stigma that seems to follow tie-in titles like this. While it doesn’t achieve greatness, I can’t help but at least give it credit for the attempt. The story was pretty much by-the-numbers and won’t bring anything new to the table. Plus, continuing to make gamers buy two different games in order to experience both sides of the same story felt a little asinine to me, especially when the controls made playing through it somewhat of a chore. (This has been the case with all previous iterations of the Transformers games on DS.) Small touches like the various unlockables and the decent voice cast did little to supersede the tacked on RPG system or the dull, multi-card multiplayer mode. Young fans (read: tweens) should enjoy it, but the rest of you will most likely put it down after 2 hours of play time and never pick it back up again. You would be best served by saving your money and just borrowing it from your younger brother.
+ Slight strategy for combat
+ Not bad looking
+ Peter Cullen!
- Have to buy 2 games to see the whole story
- RPG elements aren’t satisfying
- Soundtrack is weaksauce
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Release Date : 2010/06/22
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Vicarious Visions
Category : Action
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
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