Transformers: War for Cybertron - Hands on

Preview

posted 6/7/2010 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
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This past Thursday was my first visit to San Francisco, and it did not disappoint. Not only had the weather apparently recovered from days of rain, but a group of journalists and I had the opportunity to attend a press event covering the upcoming third-person shooter, Transformers: War for Cybertron.

I know what you're thinking: "Great. Another ploy to exploit fans' irresistible urge to know and have all things Transformers," but it's not as simple as that. High Moon Studios understood the concerns of Transformers fans looking for a more legitimate connection to the franchise they adore, as well as the concerns of a gamer looking for more impressive gameplay. Although they may not have created an imperfect title, and although not much of the game is groundbreaking, my gaze was held on the big screens and my hands glued to the controller.


You might have heard the term "canon" being passed around in reference to War for Cybertron. Perhaps you've seen appearances of fan-favorite characters like Shockwave and Starscream in the trailers that have been released. That, coupled with admissions of inspiration taken from the Generation 1 series have possibly piqued your interest in a game that seems to be moving in the right direction. The ideas behind this particular Transformers game all stem from the right mindset. The setting - the Cybertronian war where the Autobots and Decepticons battle it out on their home planet - is a unique and relatively undiscovered area in the history of Transformers. The justified qualms of fans - that of a Transformers game being developed strictly for the consumer and lacking the quintessential Transformers qualities - are likely satiated by developers' convincing assurances of their legitimate intentions in place of that greed. What about the qualms of the gamer crowd?

The purpose of this press event, at least from my perspective, was to test this last thread. Interviews conducted with the developers all resulted in their insistence that gamers and fans alike will be pleased with the outcome of this new Transformers game. Character renders and references to the original storyline were proof of the former. Fortunately for my hopes, this event was definitely proof of the latter.


I started off the way I always do with a new game: campaign mode. After sorting through the classes I chose Bumblebee, the Scout stealth warrior. He's best for "hit-and-run" attacks given his dash and cloaking abilities. Hopping onto the PS3 systems with two other journalists, we let the epic cut scene introduce us to what definitely appeared to be a war-torn planet. Racing across dilapidated roads, we fought off the Decepticon troops while experimenting with transforming to and from our vehicle modes. While Bumblebee was quick on his feet, I wasn't much a fan of the Ion Blaster he has equipped. I found myself preferring to fight from his vehicle adaptation, however significantly slower it was.

The environment encourages you to respond to combat directly rather than taking cover to aim your shots. I disposed of the Decepticons in my vicinity and, when out of ammo, quickly transformed to my vehicle to fire heavier shots in the direction of those remaining. Then, I boosted across the floor to smash a box and replenish my ammo and health. Transforming back to our vehicles, my team and I were off to face the next batch of enemies along the way to our goal point.
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