The game features drop-in, drop-out co-op for three players at any time. Offline, you'll always have two other bots fighting beside you and there are special moves like war cries which you can use to temporarily boost your teammates' stats.
The game has been designed with multiplayer at its heart and there will also be a further online mode, which is currently being kept secret. But we should imagine something along the lines of a massive team deathmatch for ultimate control of Cybertron isn't going to be far from the truth.
Above: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Ratchet form the Autobot team
But perhaps our favourite feature so far has to be the transforming itself. A simple click of the left stick sees your bot warp in the space of a second from its robot form to its alternative, guise, instantly changing the gameplay. The ease with which the game copes with the shift from ground-based shooter to flying game or Twisted Metal-style shooter looks exceptionally assured.
Compared tothe last Transformers Game, Revenge of the Fallen, thegame moves at lightning paceand there's much more movement involved (less revolving on the spot and shooting things). Cover plays a large part, although it's not restricted to a Gears-style sticky cover system.
The enemy AI appears to be well-scripted, moving behind cover objects when attacked, and the bots all talk to each other. Optimus Prime's voice (provided by the irreplaceable Peter Cullen) sounds perfect, while some of the other voices currently sound a bit too human-like for our liking- Bumblebee's in particular.
The game is set entirely on Cybertron – a metal planet that's under heavy attack from the Decepticons. Graphically, it draws you right into the action with near-movie-quality environments. It's a little unrelenting in its browns and greys and although we're promised levels set in the planet's orbit, we do fear for the game's graphical variety.
We saw the robots descend into decommissioned tunnels for one mission, which did vary the scenery a little, but only by adding more brown anda few shafts of light to the metal. What we can't argue with is the quality of the graphics – everything looks very glossy and solid.
Above: Burnish, reflection... this is proper metal alright
We were given a sneak look at a battle against Omega Supreme, who looked to be already beaten when the demo began. But of course, he draws power from Cybertron's core and comes back even stronger than before. The sense of scale is terrific and the drama of this last-stand battle comes across really well, with destructible scenery and huge energy blasts shaking the screen.
Sadly, just as we were really getting into it, the demo was over. But we certainly came away much more excited about the project than before. Three-player co-op against huge mechs in a ravaged futuristic world sounds very appealing… on the one hand it's incredibly childish stuff (something our five-year-old selves would have killed for), but on the other, it looks like being a proficient shooter that our grown-up selves can enjoy in its own right.
We've been promised hands-on time very soon, so watch this space.
12 Mar, 2010