You know what I love? I love when a game that I expect to be good surprises me and turns out to be great! This is what happened when I played Transformers: War for Cybertron (shortened to WFC). I had been following WFC for a few months, so based on what I saw I expected it to be good. What I didn’t expect was for it to draw me in so much that I couldn’t stop playing it. If you’re a Transformers G1 (Generation 1 for those not cool enough to know) fan than you will definitely enjoy this game. The game starts in a time period where Starscream is not yet a Decepticon and Optimus is not yet the leader of the Autobots.
Actually, you start the game with Megatron attacking a base that Starscream is defending to get his hands on some Dark Energon. From the beginning of the game you will find that High Moon Studios did a great job infusing personality into the characters. Megatron’s craze for power, Starscream’s deceptiveness, Bumble Bee’s youthful vigor, and Optimus’….well just his plain awesomeness can be felt in the game. This is mostly thanks to the great voice over work that is in the game. Before you ask, yes, Peter Cullen voices Optimus. Therefore anything Optimus says is epic. There is a lot of voice interaction between the characters throughout the chapters so you really get a sense of how they feel about each other. Most of the Decepicons fear Megatron, and at the other end of that spectrum you really get a sense for how much the Autobots respect Optimus.
The game is broken up by chapters. Decepticon chapters are 1-5 while Autobots are 6-10. If you want you can start playing as the Autobots first, but this will spoil much of what happens in the Decepticon campaign for you so I would recommend playing through the Decepticon campaign first. After you finish each campaign you will unlock a new robot. For the Decepticons you get Slipstream. For the Autobots you get Arcee. You will also unlock concept art as you complete chapters. In each chapter you will be able to choose one of three robots. The game has co-op play so you can play with two of your friends if you like. If you don’t have anyone to play with, not a problem, as the AI will control the other two robots while you play. Each robot has a class. In single player class pretty much only determines what primary weapon and abilities you have. It makes a bigger difference in multiplayer, but we will get into abilities and multiplayer later.
The classes you can choose from are leader, scientist, scout, and soldier. Leaders will typically have the largest, most powerful weapons. Scientists will have support weapons, a ray that can heal, and can deploy a turret as their special ability. Soldiers are pretty much brawlers and can take a beating, while scouts will have weapons good for close combat and have abilities that will enable them to dash quickly in any direction. You can’t change your primary weapon, but you can pickup different secondary weapons as you play the game. You can choose from sniper rifles, assault rifles, submachine guns, semi-auto pistols, shotguns, cannons, rocket launchers, mortars, and miniguns. In addition to those guns, if you come across a turret you can detach the turret gun from the stand and walk around with it. You will be a bit slower and won’t be able to double jump, but the gun packs a punch at a high rate of fire. It’s fun to play with the different classes in single player, but to be honest there is no advantage to playing with specific classes on specific chapters.
One thing that I really liked is that instead of forcing you to go through boring tutorials in the beginning of the game, they suggest you read the tutorials from the menu. So if this is your second time through or if you just want to feel things out yourself you can do so with no interruption. The levels are designed very well in my opinion. Most of the areas that you fight in are open to the point where both vehicle and robot modes are effective, but not too open to the point that you can get away from the action. Actually, even if you wanted to you really can’t get away from the action, the AI won’t let you. If the enemy sees you retreating they will push you, hunt you down, and kill you.
The AI is aggressive, but not stupid. The AI is smart and tactical. If it’s in a position where it has the advantage, it will use that advantage and make you come to it while attacking you from that position. If the AI finds itself being damaged it will move back to cover to heal. If you decide to try to rush to one of the enemies and melee, which is a one hit kill most of the time, you will find yourself heavily damaged or possibly dead. The same thing will happen if you run around shooting without using cover. The AI will definitely present a challenge for you, especially when you fight some of the units with heavy armor, only one weak point, or enemies that can cloak to the point that you can only see them when they are charging their weapon to fire. With the level design combined with the AI, firefights are very frantic and really give you a sense of being in a war zone.