Don't get excited about this screenshot. It's from the console version of Transformers: War For Cybertron. But the game still might turn your head. [UPDATE: DS screens added below.]
Transformers: War For Cyberton on the Nintendo DS is being made by Vicarious Visions, the veteran studio behind other, recent well-regarded portable 3D Transformers action games. Like the previous ones, the new entry will be sold in Autobot and Decepticon versions, though this time the games won't link to a web-based meta-game war between the owners of each.
What the games will do is offer Vicarious Visions' take on the new Transformers fiction being introduced in High Moon Studios' new console game, a new Cyberton-based re-imagining of the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons.
The portable games will put players in the robot bodies of Transformer pairs, encouraging players to swap between two fighters as they tackle missions. A Vicarious developer chose Jetfire and Grimlock for a mission and explained that, while we could control only one character a time, we could swap the other in at any time.
The player can deal different kinds of damage, tied to certain characters. The enemies will resist one for or the other, in a system balanced by the game's artificial intelligence. The idea is to encourage character swapping. Let's say one Autobot who delivers laser damage encounters a group of Decepticons resistant to that, then the proper strategy would be to switch to the other Autobot to deliver plasma damage.
My look at the DS version of War For Cybertron was very brief, but the continued involvement of Vicarious Visions should give series fans a solid reference point from which to judge the prospects of this game. Built for people not interested in the current Michael Bay movie transformers and designed for gamers excited to collect a long list of playable Transformers, the DS War For Cyberton games will be available this summer.