Transformers: War for Cybertron (DS) Review

Bonus Content! The Nintendo DS iterations of the latest round of Transformers titles have rolled out. Our review reveals whether they are more than meets the eye.

By juno2023. Posted 07/26/2010 16:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Tons of unlockable content, Peter Cullen
Poison Mushroom for...
Lackluster controls

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard scoring criteria.

Transformers: War for Cybertron (DS) Screenshot

The¬†Transformers series, after experiencing a minor setback with the dimwitted Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen film and its video game counterparts, has found itself in the realm of glory once again with the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC versions of¬†Transformers: War for Cybertron, offering a great entry to a series that began with toys. With the Wii offering Transformers: Cybertron Adventures, however, not so much. Do the Nintendo purists still have a redeemable title in the entries for Nintendo DS, or did developer Vicarious Visions roll out (see what I did there?) simply another cash cow? As one may find, while it’s not the best that the system has to offer, Transformers: War for Cybertron Autobots and Transformers: War for Cybertron Decepticons grant gamers something of a middle ground between the Wii and High Def iterations.

The games follow the titular war for Cybertron, and follow the respective factions of whichever version played– Autobots or Decepticons. The differences are actually quite vast betwixt the two– moreso than is customary for DS as of late– offering different campaigns and characters. Only by playing both versions can all content be unlocked, including 30 playable characters.

The DS iterations are third-person shooters, and each character can transform between robot and vehicle modes. Not only that, players have two different Transformers in their arsenal. In robot mode, characters have two types of attacks, melee and ranged, handled with the X and Y buttons respectively. Holding the L button locks onto targets, while the R button switches amongst whichever targets are in range. Jumping is handled with the B button and movement via the control pad, and switching between characters is done by the A button, provided the character wasn’t previously destroyed.

By a button on the touch screen, the robot can transform into a vehicle– depending on the character, it can be ground- or air-based. Both types of vehicle fire a ranged weapon with Y, accelerate with B, boost with L, and steer with the control. The ground-based vehicles have the extra ability to brake and reverse with the X button, but both types of vehicles are necessary for discovering all of the secrets that a level may contain.

For all attacks, there are three types: laser, plasma, or solid, which are represented in-game by a triangle, circle, or square, respectively. Different enemies will be labeled with one of these shapes, meaning that if attacked with that type, more damage will be dealt than the other two types.

The gameplay is ultimately hit-or-miss. Sometimes, it feels perfect and fits like a glove, while other times provide sufficient cause for a solid round of cursing. For example, characters seem to float when jumping, which makes landing on tiny platforms hellacious– if they’re missed, the character dies. When a character dies, more often than not it means that the level must be played again in its entirety. The vehicle control is also neither stellar nor abysmal; basically, don’t go in expecting Mario Kart.

The aforementioned different attack types throw something fresh into something that normally would be just a stale third-person action engine, and a character’s survival depends on noticing which attack would be best suited for a situation, as well as a balance of switching between the two characters controlled. Level design is surprisingly varied, with numerous types of enemies.

Visually, the title does very well for being on a handheld. While it certainly won’t compete with the console versions, it stacks up well against other action titles on DS. The audio is phenomenal, and can be summed up in two words: Peter Cullen. Vicarious Visions got the voice of Optimus Prime, which is the best one could hope for; all other voice actors do very well in their respective roles. The titles also offer up tons of additional content to supplement the main game, with mission modes, unlockable characters, and other gems.

At the end of the day, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a serviceable entry to both the Nintendo DS library and Transformers franchise. While some tightening up in control would serve well for an inevitable sequel, it’s still the best Transformers experience handheld gamers have right now.

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