Friday, October 12, 2012

Less Than Meets the Eye

Wow, it has been awhile . . . again. I'm getting good at this hiatus thing. >.< <sigh>

So, it's been about two months since my last post, and a lot has happened since then. I've been real busy, too. So many things to talk about for my first post in two months. What shall it be about? Shall it be about returning to my old job? Not the craptastic one where I built industrial band saws. I tried to make that a good thing. I tried to change my attitude to enjoy it instead of hate it. It just wasn't me. No, I returned to the job before it. Games, music, movies, and collectables galore! I am so happy! . . . Erm, back on topic. How about my new girlfriend? The one I got introduced to on MY FIRST DAY BACK at the old job, which was also the day immediately after my last post (hence why I've been busy ;P). Or maybe this post should be about how LawGambit and I have officially switched from StarCraft II over to League of Legends. So . . . what's it gonna be?

Transformers: War For Cybertron.

I am a huge Transformers fanboy. I grew up on the G1 cartoon series and Beast Wars, and I have always loved the toys. I have wanted to play War For Cybertron since it came out. Now that the sequel, Fall of Cybertron, is out, I wanted to play it even more. Can't play the sequel before playing the original! I got some store credit at work for good performance yesterday, and was able to pick up a brand new copy of War For Cybertron for about $8. I was ecstatic. I got home, waited through the update and install, and prepared for awesomeness. Only to be disappointed.

So, here's the deal. I've only played the first mission, and have only played one character. I will be doing another of these after I have played a little more, but this will be my first impressions of the game.

The game takes place during the war on Cybertron, before the Tranformers ever come to Earth, and is ten missions long; five for each faction. The first five follow the Decepticons, and the second five follow the Autobots. For those of you who don't know, and I doubt there are many of you after the Michael Bay movies, the Decepticons are the bad guys and the Autobots are the good guys. Even though the "good guy" campaign doesn't start until six missions into the game, you can skip the first five if you want to launch right into the Autobot campaign. Me? I love the Autobots, but I also love the Decepticons, and I like experiencing a story from the first. So, mission #1 it was.

The first mission has you infiltrating a space station run by Sky Commander Starscream. This is before Starscream joins the Decepticons, and is just carrying out his duties as Sky Commander. Also, "infiltrating" tends to suggest subtlety. In this case, it means ramming a starship into the side of the station.

Anyway, you get to choose one of three characters to play as for the first mission:

A hover tank with double barrels on the turret. Very tempting. He only gets the Cybertronian equivalent of an assault rifle in his robot form, but he would likely have more armor than some of his smaller counterparts. A strong candidate to be sure.

If you saw the Michael Bay movies, you may remember Barricade as the police car that chased Shai LaBeouf into the junkyard where Bumblebee had to save him. Useless humans. Anyway, Barricade plays a Scout role in War For Cybertron. I don't know that he has any weapons in vehicle form, but he does get the same assault rifle as Brawl while in robot form. In theory, he's less armored, but faster than Brawl (I say in theory because I haven't played him, so I don't know). As much as I like firepower, I also like speed. In fact, I often like speed more. Tempting.

The leader of the Decepticons. Megatron is one of the few Transformers that people have trouble settling on a form for. He's been a fighter jet, he's been a caravan truck, and in the old G1 cartoon, he was even a hand-held pistol. (Don't ask how a 12 foot robot transforms into a pistol. It was the Eighties.) While no single form can truly be decided on for Megatron, the most common is some form of tank. That is what the people at High Moon Studios went for with their version of Megatron, a hover tank with a massive, forward cannon. What's better, in robot form he gets to use that cannon as his primary weapon instead of the assault rifle equivalent the others are stuck with.

What's that, High Moon Studios? The first mission, and you're going to let me play as Big Man Megs himself? Hellz yes!!!!

So, we crash into the station and have to vacate the area before our ship's core goes critical and takes an even bigger chunk of the station out with it. Literally starting off with a bang. Okay, I'm totally down with that.

Let me take this opportunity to touch on what the game got right. The game looks amazing. The way the station reconfigures around you as you go through, and the SFX that play as it does, are exactly what one would expect from a Cybertronian space station. The look and feel of the station, even when it's not moving, are spot on. This is the Transformers Universe, and you are in it. Beautiful.

Now, what it gets wrong is apparent from the first. The controls don't feel right. It feels like you are piloting a mecha, where one stick controls your torso, which is locked into combat-ready position, and the other stick controls your feet, which move completely independently of your torso. This may sound like an odd complaint, seeing as how you are controlling a giant robot. However, Cybertronians aren't just giant robots. They are alive, and as close to biological lifeforms as a machine can get while still being 100% synthetic. As such, they don't move like machines. They move like we do. It should feel like it.

Also, while in tank form, the controls felt exactly the same as in robot form. I was a completely different machine, practically, but still moved like I did in my other form. It felt wrong. It also made it feel like there was no real point in being a tank unless I ran out of ammo for my other two weapons, as, for some odd reason, the cannon in tank form uses different ammunition than the same cannon in robot form. That bit isn't complaining, though. Even though it was odd, it was nice to have a third store of ammo. Still, one of the best things about playing a Transformers game is that you play a character that changes into dramatically different forms. When the only difference in forms is that you can't jump as high, something is wrong. When games based on the Michael Bay movies do a better job of giving you the experience of being a Transformer than this game does, something is *very* wrong.

We continue through the station, defeating the stations defenses, as well as Starscream's lackeys. You only start out with your primary weapon, and whatever weapon your vehicle form may have, but you get to pick up secondary weapons along the way, including the assault rifle equivalent, in case you played as Megatron and felt you really missed out on it. I didn't feel that way, but I picked it up anyway so I could properly feel sorry for Brawl and Barricade, who followed me through the station armed with it alone. Other secondary weapons I picked up on my way through the station included a grenade launcher, which had grenades that stuck to enemies and allowed you to remote-detonate them, a shotgun, which only held two rounds at a time but made up for it by not having the atrocious reload times most shotguns in games do, a rocket launcher, which locked on to Transformers while they were in aircraft form (very useful against some of Starscream's fliers), and a vulcan cannon, which was a turret with infinite ammunition until I took it off its tripod and installed it on my arm.

There were a few interesting points, but nothing all that great. Mostly it was just get from point A to point B, killing things as you go. There was one point where a giant hole was in the station where there shouldn't have been one, and you had to jump across debris to get to the next section. At the end of that section, after you finally make it to where you're going, the floor you're on starts breaking up and drifting off into space, and you have to keep from drifting off with it. That's about as exciting as it gets, and if you follow your buddies, they seem to know it's going to happen before it does and avoid the sections that break off completely. After that, it's just more corridors and shooting stuff like it was before. Not horrible, really. I mean, it's fun to shoot stuff. However, the mission was really too long for the lack of anything worth doing. It really could have been about half as long and been a better level for it.

Well, that's my first impression of Transformers: War For Cybertron. Not bad, but not nearly as good, at least so far, as I was led to believe. Worth the $8 I shelled out for it. I hope it gets better, though. We'll find out next time!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know why but it always seems like the games based on TRANSFORMERS and ROBOTECH always seem to be somewhat disappointing in one way or another.