Every child of the 80s wants to play a brilliant Transformers video game. The dream would be something based on the amazing movie, complete with rock soundtrack, cheesy dialogue and classic robot designs. Hotrod would pull apart the Matrix and I'd shed a tear as Optimus Prime turns grey and dies. That doesn't really look likely, but then neither did ever seeing a great Transformers game. While it's got a few issues, some of which could have been easily avoided, War for Cybertron is without doubt the most impressive Transformers game I've ever played - and yes, that includes that PS2 release that no one bought despite being excellent. It makes smart use of the license and rekindles childhood memories long lost under a scruffy beard.
Transformers fans know they should love the Autobots the most, but those goody two shoes can get a little righteous from time to time. Thankfully developer High Moon Studios has wisely created two separate, but chronological, campaigns in War for Cybertron. The first follows Decepticon leader and all-round megalomaniac Megatron as he tries to take control of the Transformers home planet, Cybertron, with the help of ultra powerful, corrupting Dark Energon. Energon, as all Transformers geeks know, is essentially robot petrol, and the dark variety gives the user enhanced abilities.
On the flip side you have the Autobot campaign, with the friendly bots being ordered about by everyone's favourite truck, Optimus Prime. While this second campaign is a bit more generic in terms of plot, which more or less amounts to 'being the good guys', the Autobots have been given a more entertaining series of missions and encounters. Either campaign can be chosen from the outset, but I found playing them in order (each spans five chapters) made more sense.
War for Cybertron is played from a close-in third-person viewpoint and does away with any cover system mechanics in favour of a more traditional run and gun approach to gameplay - and plenty of large crates to hide behind. Your standard fire can be aimed more precisely at the press of a button, and there are grenades and melee attacks on offer too. A huge variety of weapons can be picked up and used, although you can only carry two at a time, while special abilities allow you to use stored energon to dash, drain enemy health to replenish yours, perform a whirlwind attack and more.
Before each chapter you get to choose which Transformer you wish to play as, and with the game built around three-player co-op, each has a different class and skillset. You've got scientists, who can heal comrades; scouts, who are quick and can temporarily disable enemies using EMP; soldiers are the heavy hitters; and leaders turn into the coolest vehicles. In competitive multiplayer matches leaders also serve as ability buffs, improving your side's capabilities while hampering the opposition's. Co-op play is brilliant, with the different classes making for a real team experience - one that's much more fun than playing alone.
Transformers wouldn't be transformers if you couldn't turn from a walking robot into a vehicle. One button press makes your bot's bulky body twist and turn until it becomes a drivable vehicle. It's accompanied by that incredibly cool transformation sound and doing so while in mid-air simply never ceases to be great fun. There's a whole load of stuff that makes a good video game, but for Transformers fans, these stylish moves will almost be worth the asking price alone.