After waiting almost 2 hours to get my ticket and get into the expo I was extremely exhausted already , the only thing getting me through the day was the thought that I would soon be playing War for Cybertron and although the first day I only got 5 minutes as Bumblebee, well lets just say that was a taste for what I would get to do on the Sunday.
As soon as I got into the event hall on the Saturday the first thing I did was head to the War for Cybertron game area. There was half a dozen Xbox 360 consoles on show where you could play the game. The 2 guys running it were very adamant on no video but all but pictures taken were fine. They were also keen on getting people off the game as quick as possible so I had very little time on the Saturday and only got about 5 or so minutes to play on the Autobot campaign as Bumblebee. After I was dragged kicking and screaming, not literally but almost or at least by my friends, I got a min to ask the people running it a few questions.
I asked was this the demo that was on offer to play and if so is this what we would be seeing for a demo to come out hopefully in a week or so? They replied that this actually wasn’t a demo but is the latest version of the full game and that the developers are still working out everything from graphics on levels to the developments of some of the mechanics.
This meant you could choose any of the levels that will be appearing on the final level which some people got to do, although it did seem as if there was a lock that restricted playing as specific characters, such as on the Saturday they were letting Bumblebee and Brawn be the main two, that I could see, and on the Sunday it was all about Optimus Prime and Megatron. Also on some levels when you got to a certain point there would be a sort of dead end, and as soon as the people ushering people on and off noticed, they would be like “thank you for playing, lets restart and give somebody else a go”.
The vibe on the Saturday for it was very “huh this looks kinda cool but I mean its transformers meets gears of war so I will wait till there’s reviews”, although everyone I spoke to who played the game were very enthusiastic and wanted more yet felt disappointed because they got so little time.
On the Sunday it was really a day to go to town with this game, still half a dozen consoles but now you can play as Prime and Megatron. I seriously started acting like a fan boy and scared a few people with all the giggles sounds I would make at certain aspects of the game, but I wasn’t alone, there were people of all ages doing the same from kids of about 8 years old to those that grew up with G1. The younger kids were pumped for the characters they realised from the movies, such as Bumblebee and the surprise for me was that they were noticing the name Barricade, even though the designs from the WFC and the movie version aren’t remotely similar. I myself was happy being able to be Megatron just because they have done a good job with keeping him like G1 without making him a pistol again. We all know Megatron is a tank and its really a great mode for him especially with this design. His fusion canon in tank mode is seriously bad ass, it was possible to take out about 3 enemies at once with it while in tank mode, and his fusion canon is even more bad ass while in robot mode. When another weapon would be picked up or if he was just standing still his canon would be constantly transforming and moving respectively, and the way the pump action is on his primary weapon makes me wish this was designed into the toy, it seriously just looks cool to watch never mind to play as.
Then Optimus Prime was the guy I was desperate to play as, especially as he is not yet the Prime we all know and love. He does retain his sort of “give me your face” style of combat with his melee which is bad ass but doesn’t make Prime look like a sociopath in ROTF. Now a lot of people have complained that he is not a truck but as its on Cybertron it is probably the closest we will get for this franchise, which still works when he transforms and is in the “hover mode”. He feels like a tank but looks like a truck which is perfect for this style of gameplay where if your combating enemies in vehicle mode then you don’t wanna be driving around all over the place, you wanna be able to get around or away when you need to and dodge shoot and then transform to either melee or shoot down any enemies. Out of the three characters I got to play as my fav is a close contest between Megatron and Prime.
Megatron because he is well done and the change to the design of the tank really suits him and Prime because he seriously plays well, his gun is extremely epic, his transformations looks quick and intricate and his axe is just a bad ass piece of destruction, which actually makes me sad they are not doing an axe with the toy, although there is always hope for a kitbash or custom for that.
Now enough about the characters and onto what the true gamer wants to know, how does it play, now I am not gonna lie, it took me a bit of getting use to due to the fact you do have to combine constantly transforming with taking out enemies with your gun before getting close to some and meleeing them to take them out. The way the camera works is well done for a third person shooter it follows your character so you can see the intensity of them without losing any of the action or getting distracted on taking out the enemies. When using your gun you can zoom and it gets rid of most of the character you play as to focus on taking out any enemies which is extremely useful when you are focusing on a few that are fairly close together and can lead to taking out multiple foes with one shot which is extremely handy since the game makes you think as you can lose ammo quickly and then go into another section where you can’t replenish your ammo as there is no ammo packs to be found.
The controls for me were a bit awkward at first as it doesn’t follow quite the style used for your typical shooter, mainly due to the transformation. If you have played the TF2 game then you will find it a lot easier to use but may take a couple of tries to get use to. Also what is nice is that you can build up a sort of combo with the melee attack unlike that with games like COD.
The scenery is beautiful the detail to every little bit is paid a lot of attention to like what goes on in the background or say if there is things leaking out so on and so forth. Some of the way objects and sceneries were wrecked reminded me of the style of Raxus Prime from Star Wars the Force Unleashed a couple of years back.
The coolest part for me was the turrets, they would literally transform around you and sorta plug into you and are just beasts for taking out enemies or incoming attacks from jets and so forth. Also they can be removed and act as hefty guns that you can take with you although if you change weapon or transform they will detach from you which is a pain when you have just acquired it and then have to drive quite away to say get to your base before a new objective or plot point arises.
Another great bit in the Autobot campaign was driving from place to place, the driving was rugged as there would be things getting blown up or destroyed as you would drive by, feeling as if you were trying to get away from a real war zone before jumping off the ledge of a road, transforming and smashing into the ground before defending a team of drones from a beastly mini boss with a shield. Which was tricky as you would have to transform and hover to get around quick enough to shoot them in the back while he would try to melee the closest ally which would often be Bumblebee or Ratchet.
Another cool little thing was the fact you could revive injured drones doing this I think 5 times would earn you an achievement which actually seems like one of the many easy ones up for grabs, which means for all you achievement whores out there, like myself, then you won’t be spending days trying to pump up your gamerscore which will make a nice change from those games like Left 4 Dead where you have to do something THOUSANDS of times. Another thing I want to point out is the fact there is no “cover system”. Although there isn’t one, the way in which the battlefields are shaped means there are often objects or pillars to hide behind and cover or to use in order to get closer to enemies before meleeing them to there doom with you giant mace or axe.
Now I would love to say the game is perfect but it isn’t there are several issues that I know wont be resolved that we will have to put up with. One is the fact that objectives or markers are not clearly identified. You see a little blue arrow, when you have beaten maybe a horde of enemies, and the distance to it. This becomes problematic when you think you have to go far since there is often 3 or 4 paths and you look around to find dead ends and find the other 2 characters literally waiting for your character to arrive to open a door or activate a lift that is maybe a short jump or drive away. Although this gives you the chance to find weapons or even replenish your health and ammo, by finding a little pack that needs to be destroyed to get the contents, this will end up causing confusion especially in the long run or when in co-op as you may end up arguing on where to go or waiting for a friend to find his way back.
I also found that if you go off an edge or something there is no going back and you will die. This happened to me on two occasions which is easily accidental. The first time it happened when transforming and then driving off in the direction of the marker and finding that what I thought was an edge to drive of off was in fact a drop to my doom, and the second of which was when I was trying to activate a bridge as Megatron I got confused with the controls and pressed one of his special abilities which is like a fly hover boost that is temporary which caused me to then go to far and drop onto an energy field thing (which is why I needed to activate the bridge) and then couldn’t jump or hover back up which meant my health slowly depleted with me watching in horror with the fact I would soon be asked to give someone else a go.
Now before I go on MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD to do with some of the plot.
The first big spoiler is what Dark Energon actually is. Although I think I played the first level of the Decepticon campaign, Dark Energon seems to be an ancient form of Energon and is displayed similarly to that of raw Energon from Beast Wars but with a more purple black tinge instead of the silvery blue colour. Also it seems to morph and grow quite a bit, while playing a level of the Autobot campaign after meeting up with Jetfire it would grow around places and you would have to drive through it or blast it, in order to progress through a doorway.
The next big spoiler is about how Megatron will meet Starscream. From what I could gather from the cut scenes Starscream seems to be a keeper of the dark Energon and Megatron wants him to join his side in order for him to harness its power in return for great power of his own, although Starscream seems very dubious about it and so is reluctant to which causes Megatron to go after him I believe, and convince him. Also while doing so we seem to see a possible relationship between Starscream and Jetfire as while in a lift Jetfire arrives with what I think was a drone and hovers by telling Megatron to stop now and gives him warnings about Dark Energon. My guess is that Starscream succumbs to Megatron and Jetfire doesn’t which is why in the Autobot campaign, set after the Decepticon campaign, there is holograms of Jetfire conversing with Optimus and the Autobots, before meeting up with them and giving them a new objective.
Another kinda spoiler is that Megatron and Optimus were possibly colleagues or allies at some point as there seems to be some familiarity between the two especially when a hologram of Megatron appears. Also this was supported when they catch up with Soundwave who seems to be creating Dark Energon cubes by the look of it in a very G1 style who is very much Megatrons right hand man and lead source for all things recon, from what I could hear from the screen. Oh I forgot to mention I could just about hear myself think in the Expo which was a shame as I am a big fan of film and game scores and really wanted to hear what I guess would be the tone of the game.
Luckily I could hear a lot of the voices which seems to be fairly well acted and I think Cullen is very much on form to that of how he was in G1, if you were not convinced that he is the one and only Prime after the movies I think you will know he is after this game. Also the voice of Bumblebee seemed very G1 esc which was great even though it is a completely different voice actor, and makes a great change from the British butler and radio of the live action movies and will appeal to younger audiences as well. Also the voice of Megatron is great he sounds like a powerful dictator out for number one which is not far from the truth even though he wants to return Cybertron to its former glory. Also the voice of Soundwave is what it normally is which is nice, and I would like to know who and how they created his voice, plus there were rumors a couple of months back that Mark Hamill was to be the voice of Starscream but I don’t think this is the case as it doesn’t seem to sound like him based on the fact they have tried to make him sound very much like an updated G1 version of himself.
Now to conclude the game is not gonna surprise everyone in the same way Batman did last year with Arkham Asylum however unlike it I know it will keep people coming back, my only real disappointment was that since there were 6 consoles they didn’t do co-op like 3 for the Autobot campaign and 3 for the Decepticon campaign nor did they show off some of the multiplayer features like creating a character since it was meant to be a fairly up to date edition of the whole game. All I know is really that it is a good game and will not disappoint the casual and hardcore fans alike nor the pro gamers that are very much into COD:MW2 at the moment. Although the ability to master transforming and the use of vehicle mode will take some time I look forward to the challenge and playing the demo in hopefully a week or so before then finding out what the story will be in less than a month when the game comes out.
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