Transformers: War for Cybertron (Rated T)
Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new here on youthmindev.wpengine.com: video game reviews! We’ll talk about the good and bad of the game, but also give you an idea of whether this would be something you could play with some teenagers from your group. Let us know what you think!
I’m of an age that the Transformers franchise played a BIG part in my childhood. I had toys, comics, movies, and everything I could get my hands on. In fact, my kids now play with the toys that didn’t get destroyed from overuse. So I’ve always seen the potential for a cool video game, but it’s never been realized. Has Transformers: War for Cybertron changed that? Well…kinda sorta but not really. But it’s by far the closest it’s ever come.
Transformers: War for Cybertron tells the story of the great civil war that took place on Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons, before they left for Earth. You play as each side of the war for 10 levels—some of them very lengthy. There are different classes to choose from, including leaders, scouts, and scientists—the necessary nerds with the healing ray.
The greatest thing about the game is that you can play through the campaign game with two of your friends. This is a perfect game to play with some guys (or girls) from your youth group. There’s no foul language, and the violence is all robot-on-robot—so no blood.
The missions aren’t very varied; it’s mostly run to this spot, fight some enemies, and move on through the now-opened door or the suddenly available elevator. You do get the chance to change between robot and vehicle forms, but the game usually isn’t very clear on when you should be in which form—other than some obvious areas where you have to be a plane to proceed. This was a wasted opportunity to make some interesting reasons for you to change forms, rather than just “Get across that chasm.”
There are a few other minor problems. The setting is the Transformers’ home world of Cybertron…and it all looks the same—shiny and metallic. So everything just blends into everything else. I don’t know how you could vary the landscape on a robot planet, but it got old after a while.
I like the idea of playing as each side of the conflict, but I hate that you’re fighting the same robots in each campaign. Both sides have a giant brute whose back you have to blow up, and robots that use cloaking, and robots that spend most of their time as jets that hit you and then fly sideways. So other than motivation—and different boss battles—both campaigns felt practically identical. Another wasted opportunity for the designers to be creative.
Overall, this is easily the best Transformers game we’ve yet seen. And it would be a great game to break out with your teens, either online or at an all-nighter.
Scott Firestone IV is the associate editor for Group Magazine and a culture junkie. He’ll talk about music, movies, and video games all day if you want. He also wonders: If the Transformers haven’t been to Earth, how do they know what a Bumblebee is, and why did they give one of the Transformers that name?