While playing through High Moon’s Transformers War for Cybertron . I would put on headphones and play for ten or fifteen minutes, and I would suddenly feel a tingle in that weird lizard-brain proximity sense we’ve all got that says “someone is in my personal space bubble.” I’d turn around and see another IGN editor standing behind my shoulder, staring at me with pleading eyes, and I always knew what they were going to ask before they asked it: “is it good?” It’s the look of someone afraid of getting their hopes up.
Which is why I was happy to report to those asking that Transformers: War for Cybertron is actually very good. Fantastic, even. High Moon has taken a fun, fast, third person shooter foundation, crafted a well thought out transformation mechanic on top of it, and designed combat situations around that. The end result is a shooter that has an identity all its own, and leverages its license to make something very cool for fans and newcomers alike.
More Transformers: War for Cybertron News & Previews Set millenia before the original cartoon series that fans have taken to calling G1, Transformers: War for Cybertron tells the story of the final days of the Autobot’s and Deception’s civil war on the surface of their home world, Cybertron. Officially sanctioned as canon by Hasbro, War for Cybertron fills in some gaps in fans’ understanding of Transformers lore, explaining things like Star scream’s defection from the Autobots, Optimus’s succession to the position of Prime, and more. High Moon’s storytelling is generally good, and feels well situated in the Transformers fiction — it’s a good modernization of the original cartoon while remaining true to the characters and stories that fans have placed on a pedestal for decades — but there are points where the narrative jumps sloppily from one event to the next. It feels at times as though we’re watching a show with episodes missing, and though there’s a pre-level text crawl that does a decent job of filling in some of the details, it’s still jarring cutting so quickly from triumph to despair and back again without in-game exposition.
However, while the story occasionally stumbles, High Moon’s love and attention to detail with regards to G1 Transformers remains vitally palpable throughout. High Moon covers all of their bases and more in establishing their Transformers cred, as it were, even while making minor changes here and there in the interest of game play and plausibility. While some fans might rankle at the prospect of Sound wave transforming into a sort of Cybertronian truck, there’s a point a couple of hours into the Autobot campaign that should provide ample compensation. Their redesigns of well-known Transformer archetypes like Bumblebee and Sound wave feel current and cool while remaining instantly recognizable. With the many small details (like constantly moving pistons and gears on each Transformer in humanoid mode, as well as some great transformations), High Moon does a great job of straddling a line between fan service and respect that other games referencing revered properties often trip over. While I could have lived with a little less “BLAM!” from Warpath, it’s hard to argue with Peter Cullen’s contributions as Optimus.