Published on April 4th, 2010 | by prime1
Transformers War for Cybertron – Preview
This is the game I’ve wanted to play for the last 25 years, proudly states War for Cybertorn’s Producer Jason Ades, who frantically runs back and forth the demo room like an excited child lost in a toy store. Of course, the self-confessed Transformers fan has every right to be enthusiastic about his upcoming release, as his team back at San Diego have been given free reign by Hasbro to re-imagine the original Transformers story-arc, a task even Hollywood superstar Michael Bay chose to sidestep with his first attempt at the IP.
But High Moon Studios – arguably unlike Luxoflux, the recently liquidated developer behind Transformers: The Game and Revenge of the Fallen – seems to hold an utmost respect for the IP. It seems to know exactly what it’s getting itself into and, from what we’ve seen, knows precisely what to do with it.
“We’re holding onto people’s childhood memories and dreams”, explains Ades, “and you have to be very responsible, very respectful and very careful. But at the same time you have to be passionate and have the courage to take that risk; to take everybody’s childhood to a place they haven’t been before”.
Three-player online co-op allows for some fantastic squad-based play.
So, they’re taking us on a journey back to the origins of the franchise – more specifically, the civil war on the metal planet Cybertron – and allowing us to explore the beginnings of Optimus Prime and Megatron across a campaign split between the two warring factions.
Its presentation is almost as staggering as its premise. As we’re introduced to the Seige of lacon via an elevator ride into the heart of the Autobot’s command center, we witness High Moon Studio’s obvious passion of the Transformers IP. Battles rage on in the distance as warships desperately attempt to evade the rockets and lasers filling the orange-hazed skies, before being briefed by a titanic hologram about the battle waging outside. A Decepticon warship suddenly crash-lands into our base, prompting the Autobots into action as tens of bots pour from the emergency exits. The battlefield is fairly sizeable, offering just enough room for Optimus Prime to transform into a rocket-equipped vehicle and swiftly wipe out any remaining robots that his blaster missed. Gameplay appears to be a blend of third-person, over the shoulder shooting with a healthy mix of vehicular combat, with certain sections designed specifically for the latter.
To illustrate this, Ades shows, us a snippet of the Decepticons’ campaign, pointing out that the two “aren’t just the flip-side of the coin”, though failing to go into specifics. Of the three characters available (each mission can be played by one of three characters, and includes support for three-player online co-op), our demonstrator picks Starscream, quickly transforming himself into a fighter jet to show off the game’s fight gameplay before teasing us with a brief look at the ridiculously colossal (and unbelievable impressive) Omega Supreme, a boss you’ll be tasked with taking down during the closing stages of the Decepticon campaign.
Of course, it’s far too early to tell whether this immediate level of gloss and nostalgia simply does well to hide the game’s potentially middle-of-the-road gameplay. The cover system, though vital, is left somewhat wanting, simply requiring that you run behind any scenery jutting from the surface rather than being able to attach yourself to it, while enemy AI appears to be relatively poor, simply standing in the open waiting to be blown to kingdom come or smacked down with Prime’s laser whip.
What is clear though, is that High Moon Studios has an obvious understanding of the Transformers universe and its fans, and that, much like Ades, War of Cybertron is shaping up o be the game you’ve wanted to play for the last 25 years.