Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reviews: Transformers and ModNation

Both of these games deserve a lot more attention but I'm officially back against the wall with vacation time coming up. So, you lucky reader you, I'll be keeping these reviews brief(er).

Transformers: War for Cybertron
I recommend this game in two different ways. If you enjoy a solid third-person shooter with some unique tweaks to gameplay, a fun story and solid controls, as well as a robust selection of online options, you should get some decent mileage out of the new Transformers game. If you are in any way a fan of the Transformers, especially the original generation, or the 80s in general, you absolutely must play this game.

High Moon has pulled off the damn-near impossible with this one, lovingly crafting an homage to all things Transformers in a well-built shooter that manages to get so, so much right. From the voice acting to the story, to the character design to what is easily one of the best end-credits of all time, every square inch of the title has been built by people who know the license and love it just as much as the people who were clamoring to play it.

There are a few aspects to gripe about, like bleak and somewhat repetitive maps and too little ammo, but the action is fast and intense and, from the music to the cheesily-awesome background dialogue, the rest of the game delivers buckets of fun. Growing up wishing I could one day take over for Optimus Prime and lead the Autobots, I couldn't stop grinning through the whole damn thing.

ModNation Racers
If you enjoy kart racers, there's no reason not to own this title.

There are 28 tracks on-disc and, with the ability to create and share amazingly detailed courses, there's literally no end to the number of new tracks you'll be racing.

The campaign ramps up the difficulty pretty quickly and, while rubberbanding isn't a problem, you will find yourself slammed by heavy weapons on your last lap time and time again. This gets frustrating, but it's the kind of frustrating that makes you want to race the track again and overcome these oboxious challenges rather than throw the controller.

Playing the campaign unlocks items to use in creation mode, and this is where I've spent far too much of my free time. You can create cars, racers and tracks and the methods for doing so can be as simple or as involved as you want. In fifteen minutes, you can have a perfectly serviceable creation ready to go. Pour in more time, though, and the amount of tools to fine-tune every little detail open up and reveal just how deep you're allowed to go. Creating is quick, easy and fun, but it also allows you to effortlessly patch together just about anything your imagination can crank out.

Splitscreen is up for grabs and, as a couch racer, this works just as well as you would hope. Racing with friends and strangers online, too, is loads of fun.

My biggest gripe with the game is that the weapons all more or less feel the same. No matter what version of the upgradable weapons you get hit with, the results are basically the same. There's a few too many wide-sweep weapons that bash just about everyone else on the track, too. While this gets annoying in single player, online actually takes away some of the sting. Racing feels more like everyone is on a level playing field, being human beings instead of computer-controlled dead-eyes and all, and, even if you have a bad race, you at least know it's other normal folks kicking your ass.

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