Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Year: 2010
Developed by: High Moon Studios
Published by: Activision
Platforms: XBOX 360, PS3, PC
Feeling Like: Rolling out

I’m not a Transformers guy, or at least I wasn’t growing up.

However, when it comes to the 1986 movie, I most definitely am.

When it comes to the 2010 game by High Moon Studios, I most definitely am again.

Of course really what it boils down to is robots fighting things and that will never fail to bring a smile to my face. Whether it was Power Rangers when I was a kid, or Pacific Rim, or Liberty Prime from Fallout 3 or Robo from Chrono Trigger, if it’s mechanically designed with mildly human characteristics, I’m on board.

And if they’re voiced by Peter Cullen, they end up being one of the most recognized characters in pop culture history.

Everything about Optimus Prime kicks ass. The visual design, the colors, the leadership, the voice, the honor, the sacrifice, everything works. When I heard Peter Cullen was voicing Optimus in this game, I knew I had to give it a shot. This is a man who makes this terribly cheesy scene actually work.

This maple syrup-voiced Montreal native is responsible for hundreds of millions at the box office, I’m convinced. The fact he had a 21 year break between the 1986 movie and the 2007 reboot is astonishing – he hadn’t lost a beat. He’s right up there with James Earl Jones and Kevin Conroy in terms of instant recognition as a legendary voice and character.

So…there’s got to be more to Transformers: War for Cybertron than Optimus Prime? By the matrix, yes there is.

Playing as various robots is a thrill, regardless if you’re an Autobot or Decepticon. They mostly play the same, but shooting feels sharp and you constantly have a few buddies by your side. The world looks appropriately metal and alien. Thanks to some very forgiving UI and directions, it’s nigh impossible to get lost. Puzzles and exploration are not what this game’s about.

Shooting and transforming, that’s what we’re here for and you get it in spades.

The shooting feels fine but really the meat and potatoes of the gameplay, for me, was transforming. With a single button press, you’re instantly switched from a robot to a sports car or a jet. No energy required or special pick-up needed. Press button. Robot, jet. Robot, jet. Bliss.

I must’ve stood in one place and transformed 40 times before I finally moved on. Blasting into a battle situation, slamming enemies with a melee attack, shooting to your heart’s content and then flying away as a jet felt like a religious rite. They knew this series of actions was a spectacular spectacle and banked on a game being based on it would succeed. High Moon were correct.

Apparently it even counts as canon! Hasbro allowed the developers to incorporate actual Transformer lore into the story. Not that I’m overly concerned with the origin story of the civil war on Cybertron, but it’s neat that the story “counts”.

There’s not much else to it. The multiplayer looked amazing, but I never touched it. I was content with the campaign and am seriously considering my decision making skills based on how I never even looked at the sequel, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. With that trailer, what was I thinking?

Hopefully in the future I get to remedy that and I’ll pay more attention if another Transformers game gets made one day. It’s not exactly a hot property, but as long as I can play as a robot/mech/xenogear/skell you know I’m there. Especially if my gravely, authoritative sounding boy PETER CULLEN is involved.

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