First Hands-On Thoughts Of Transformers: War For Cybertron Multiplayer

Recently, Tformers.com joined other media outlets to get a sneak peek at Activision's and High Moon Studio's upcoming "Transformers: War for Cybertron" video game. We had the opportunity to play several multiplayer modes on both the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as the Nintendo DS version. We were encouraged to try out all four character classes and customize our fighters as much as possible. What did we think?

The Event

The event was held at a non-descript warehouse in the heart of San Francisco. Innocent looking enough from the outside, the inside had multiple stations waiting for us to get our hands on. On the lower floor were 2 multiplayer bars, set up for 2 teams of 5 players. This was for the multiplayer campaign and used the XBox 360 console. The upper floor was dedicated to the co-op game modes. The Teamplay mode was set up for three players using the PlayStation 3 console, while the never before seen Escalation mode used 4 stations powered by the XBox 360. There was also a lounge area that featured several Nintendo DS versions of the game.

Character Selection

Selecting your character for battle isn't as easy as just pointing to a character and running with it. First you have to decide which class of character you want to play. There are 4 basic types:


Scout: Scouts are small but fast. They have the ability to cloak, so they can sneak up on enemies without being seen. However, they are overall pretty weak in firepower and stamina. Their alt mode is car based.

Scientist:Scientists are the medics of the group. They have the ability to heal their characters while in battle. They get the added bonus of being able to fly. However, they don't fly very fast and are weak offensively. Their alt mode is jet based.

Soldier:As you would expect, the soldier is the grunt of the group. They are heavily armored and have the most powerful weapons available. The down side? They're very slow and bulky. Their alt mode is tank based.

Leader:The leaders are the most well balanced members. Their abilities aren't over the top, but they do offer a well rounded assortment of weapons, as well as good speed and stamina. Their alt mode is truck based.

Within each class are several different subclasses, including medics, gunners and commanders. Each have their own ups and downs. Once you have your character picked, you can then choose your weapons. You start off being able to choose between 2 weapons, but as you gain experience, more weapon choices will unlock. The same goes for abilities. Finally, you can go so far as to tweak your character's color scheme so you can, say, have a Gold Convoy if you so choose.

Gameplay

Gameplay is basically the same in all modes, it's just a matter of the objective. The left analog pad controls your movement while the right analog pad controls your aim. You are able to transform between modes at will during any point of the game. Your weapons are usable in either mode, although you can only pick up weapons or change weapon types in robot mode. In the various MP campaigns, you are given guides to your targets so you can easily scope them out. The playing field is similar to Quake, with it's many catacombs and multi-floored layers.

The battles can heat up fairly quickly, especially in the constantly shifting "Capture The Node" campaign. Game slowdown was practically non-existent no matter how many characters were on the screen. Care must be made as to who your enemies and allies are, which is signified by script and a color code. Depending on who's playing the other end, a split second decision can make or break you. No worries though, as the MP campaigns will respawn you an unlimited amount of times should you meet your doom.

The same can't be said for the co-op campaigns, as you must heavily rely on teamwork to make it through. As you're swooned, you go into self destruct mode. If your teammate can revive you in time, you continue on. Otherwise, you self destruct and your teammates go at it without you. In Escalation, you are respawned once the wave is completed... provided all your teammates survived as well.

Thoughts

I must admit that it's been several years since I've been at any level of gaming, and also my first experience with the XBox 360. Therefore, I had a bit of a learning curve to endure. However, after a few plays I got the hang of things. This is a game that constantly has you thinking, and there's very little down time other than finding the objective in the MP campaigns. You also have a wide variety of options at your disposal so coordination on the pad is crucial. This isn't a simple point and click game by any means. You have to watch your back, the skies, around corners... everywhere.

The graphics were quite stellar and suffered nothing in the way of pixel flicker or glitching. I wasn't able to observe any slowdown as well. The transformation between modes was pretty involved looking but not distracting by any means. The only complaint I had was the common one where, should you go up against a wall, the screen will ghost slightly. Other than that, you can tell that a lot of care and consideration went into making this game run smooth.

During the sneak peek, we weren't able to try out the single player game modes so I unfortunately can't account for the mission structures there. Also, the Nintendo Wii version was not available. We were told that the Wii will follow the same story lines as the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, but utilize the infrared technology of the Wii remote combined with the Nunchuck. Although no other details for the Wii were given, it should be interesting to see it in action.

Verdict

We spent 3hrs playing most of the different campaigns and game modes available. We tried out all four character classes, got a taste for all the multiplayer campaigns and saw the co-op modes in action. It will take a more in-depth review of the game to make a solid verdict, but the sneak preview left me impressed. This is nothing like the previous 2 movie games. The multiplayer modes are very involved and require a good amount of both skill and planning to pull off. The co-op modes really enforce the teamwork factor to make it through. For any Transformers fan who doubles as a gamer, you won't be left disappointed.

The true question is,will this game appeal to gamers who aren't traditionally Transformers fans? The answer, in my opinion, is yes. There are enough elements from popular games such as Call of Duty or World of Warcraft that can at least pique the average gamer's interest. The smooth gameplay, as well as the various customizable options, should be able to keep them hooked. Therefore, whether or not you're a TF fan, Activision has a game that should score points on all fronts.

Many thanks to Activision and High Moon Studios for a great sneak peek event!

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