Transformers: War for Cybertron

Review

posted 6/22/2010 by Jeremy Duff
other articles by Jeremy Duff
One Page Platforms: 360
 The Transformers franchise has seen commercial success for the better part of the past 26 years. While there have been many different versions of Transformers over the years, few have managed to acquire the same level of success that the original, Generation 1 series did throughout the 1980‘s. The recent Hollywood movies are perhaps the closest in comparison when it comes to the popularity of the original run, which occurred from 1984 through 1994. Even with their financial success, the fan base that has gathered around them is far from what was created and still exists around the original show.

The unfortunate side effect of the timing of Transformers Generation 1's popularity is that the original series missed out on the great video game boom of the mid- to late- 1990's. As a result, there really have not been any "great" Transformers games that truly capture the magic of the G1 series. Even the most recent games based on the movies have been met with harsh criticism and have constantly left die-hard fans desiring more. Surely someone can and will come along and create a game that not only lives up to the standards of excellence set by the ‘80's cartoon but perhaps raises the bar for cartoon-to-game adaptations across the board.



Enter High Moon Studios. The crew at High Moon Studios are, admittedly, Generation 1 fans at heart. They have mentioned time and time in again various developer blogs and interviews that their driving force for this project stemmed from a love of the original source material. That is why they approached Hasbro (under the flag of Activision) with a proposal to do an original Transformers game based on the Generation 1 line of the series with nothing more than a sketch of a redesigned Bumblebee. Mind you, Hasbro has an incredibly strict approval process when it comes to touching one of their most coveted franchises in the company's history, so it was a pretty bold move to lay such a project on the table. The proposal may not sound like that big of an idea, but it truly was considering that Activision / High Moon wanted to touch on an aspect of the Transformers universe that even Hasbro had not yet covered directly: the civil war of Cybertron.

Cybertron, the fabled home world of the entire Transformers universe is known to have been devistated by a brutal civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons prior to the events of the original series. Various comics and cartoons have shown the home planet following the war, but no one has ever chronicled the war itself. War for Cybertron serves as a prequel to the original series and tells the story of the final chapters of Cybertron's civil war, which is an area of the franchise lore that has never been explored. By approving the project, Hasbro has basically given High Moon Studios their blessing to create the canon storyline for the birth of one of the animation world’s most beloved stories.


This new story is told through the guise of a 3rd person, action shooter available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Players get to experience the struggles that led both factions to leave Cybertron for Earth and set in motion the events that we know as the original series. The game allows players to assume the roles of a few of the most famous characters in Transformers lore as well as create their own unique characters for online play. Hasbro gave them the permission to take the franchise and make it their own, and High Moon / Activision have done so with great success.

The campaign portion of the game is actually split into two parts, an Autobot and a Decpticon campaign. Either one can be played at any time and the game will save your progress on each independently. You can also journey through each either by yourself or with up to 2 friends online cooperatively with drop-in and drop-out gameplay. If you are playing by yourself, the game will allow you to choose a character and assign the computer to the other two characters present in your party for the mission. The makeup (character wise) of your parties changes slightly throughout the chapters, but all of the names should be familiar to fans.
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