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Video Game / Transformers: War for Cybertron

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The war that started it all...

Optimus Prime: Our tragic war has ravaged Cybertron.
Megatron: It is a necessary war, to return us to glory!
Optimus Prime: The Autobots will never sacrifice freedom.
Megatron: The Decepticons will bring this world to order!
Optimus Prime: Our defeat would mean the end of everything.
Megatron: My victory will mark a brilliant new beginning!
Optimus Prime: One shall stand.
Megatron: One shall fall!

A video game based on the Transformers franchise, released on June 22, 2010. Set before the Transformers come to Earth, the story is set entirely on their home planet of Cybertron. The game is meant to be the basis for an entirely new continuity and to set the stage for storylines of the franchise for years to come. The story is a set-up for the Transformers: Prime TV series.

The player has the opportunity to play as both the Autobots and the Decepticons. Unlike previous Transformers games to do this, however, the plot for both factions will be entirely linear in nature, as opposed to Multiple Ending scenarios, with the Decepticon campaign taking place shortly before the Autobots. The game not only gives an idea of the events that led to both the Autobots' and Decepticons' exodus from Cybertron to Earth, it also shows up close how unflinchingly brutal the fighting was.

So far, the game has been subject to huge amounts of fan joy. Despite being a Continuity Reboot it uses the classic backstory of Generation One as the build-up point, every character possesses their well known personality and each story point reinforces the traditional Transformer saga themes. Everything else comes with modern sensibilities in both story plotting and visual designs. The characters have a look that carries the bulk of G1 (with a bit of the War Within comics thrown in), the shifting pieces and complexity used by the live-action movies, and the sharp angles and proportions of Transformers: Animated.

The excellent voice acting by both old veterans and those new to the franchise and high shout-out quotient certainly adds to it. Older fans love the game for these reasons, and newer fans love the game for its sheer coolness factor. Oh, and the game's actually pretty damn good. The game's success prompted Activision to let High Moon make the Dark of the Moon tie-in game, and a War For Cybertron sequel, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, was released on August 21, 2012.

Not to be confused with the Netflix Original show.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The game combines the best aspects of many prior Transformers franchises.
  • The Alcatraz: The Kaon prison.
  • Always Over the Shoulder: Just like any third-person shooter, the camera is always look forwards from the characters' shoulders for better aiming and shooting.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Four classes - Soldiers, Scouts, Scientists and Leaders.
  • Apocalypse How: A Class 3a, by the end of the game. Megatron infects the core of Cybertron with Dark Energon, and the planet's surface becomes unable to sustain Cybertronian life, causing a mass Exodus from the planet.
  • Arm Cannon: How the Transformers hold their weapons—they "transform" their arms into sockets that fit the particular gun they want.
    • Megatron takes this a step further, his Fusion Cannon is BOLTED onto his arm and he can't take it off in the campaign to pick up another weapon, effectively only giving him one interchangeable weapon slot.

  • Ascended Meme:
    • The "Punch Of Kill Everything!" appears in the game as "P.O.K.E. V2.0" as a Leader class Kill Streak reward.
    • When you equip it, your team announcer shouts "Punch of Kill Everything equipped!"
    • Soldier-type characters have an attribute to enhance their Whirlwind ability called "P.O.K.E. Alpha".
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Both Optimus and Megatron are the leaders and biggest asskickers of their sides, but the Autobots make it a point to praise Optimus for his leadership ability.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Outside the fights against the massive Final bosses for each side that are nothing but targeting weak points, there are several other scenarios where attacking specially-designated spots deals extra damage.
  • Back Stab: Scouts can get an ability called that.
  • BFG: Alongside some huge bots inherently possessing them, anybody can acquire some from turrets or some big enemies. Downsides are your mobility is limited while packing and you can't get the ammo refilled—whereas with turrets the ammo is infinite. And you can't take them with you when you transform.
  • Big Damn Heroes: This trailer has Optimus Prime pull off a particularly awesome one of these as he transforms in midair, knocking down one missile Starscream had fired at Bumblebee and taking the blast of the second.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending involves the Autobots winning the battle, but the war continuing. Cybertron itself has been rendered uninhabitable for the next several million years.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Okay, not quite, but it's still less black and white than most of the other adaptations. For one thing, the Autobots are shown to have their own flaws, and the war might be their fault as much as the Decepticons. Plus, Zeta Prime is almost as megalomaniacal as Megatron. Almost.
    • In the prison sequence, Optimus demonstrates what could be interpreted as either: a little grey morality, or a more mature version of white morality. He frees the Autobot prisoners - a classic action for him - but then admits that said freed prisoners are also useful as a distraction for his team to get where they need to be. However, he evidently cares for them as he also worked to secure shuttles to evacuate them. When you get right down to it, he did the right thing, turned it to a tactical advantage and gained a large number of troops to bolster his army.
    • Zeta's also pretty merciless with any prisoners he takes.
  • Blood Knight: Many. Megatron is the most flagrant example on the Decepticon side, while the Autobots have Warpath. Brawl and Sideswipe as well, to a lesser extent. Heck, even Optimus seems to enjoy smashing up the bad guys a little too much:
    Bumblebee: It's that bad?
    Optimus: Bumblebee, we're locked inside an enemy prison, surrounded by countless Decepticons bent on our destruction.
    Bumblebee: So it's bad.
    Optimus: It's purely a matter of perspective.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Damn near ALL of them, with a few exceptions, Optimus being the most obvious one (he's much too humble for it). Megatron will CERTAINLY let you know you're in for a world of hurt.
  • Bond One-Liner: The characters frequently exalt their own abilities or congratulate each other after kills, though only a few are puns. For example, if Optimus headshots someone, he might rumble:
    Optimus: One shot is all it takes.
    • Or he gives us a classic "Take THAT, Decepticon punk."
    • If he doesn't say anything, Bumblebee might say:
      Bumblebee: Are you kidding me with that shot?! Nice!
    • Meanwhile, for a proper pun, Ratchet might snark:
      Ratchet: I call that "projectile therapy"!
  • Boom, Headshot!: Instant kill on any trooper weaker than a Brute. Can be performed with any weapon with or without Fine Aim, meaning it's possible to get a headshot with a shotgun, or even a grenade launcher.
  • Boss Vulnerability: The bosses involving a weak point spend some time attacking, before a short period of time where the weak point becomes vulnerable.
  • Breath Weapon: Trypticon combines this with Frickin' Laser Beams.
    • The boss battle even has this line related to the laser beam that is just such a big G1 throwback it makes one giddy with nostalgia.
      Trypticon: FEEL THE BURN OF MY LASER!
  • Bullet Catch: The beginning cutscene has Optimus catching a missile with his hand after knocking another away. The one he catches explodes, but he survives anyways, despite the rough landing.
  • Canon Immigrant: Almost every character has been adapted from Generation One, but Demolishor from Transformers: Armada, Slipstream from Transformers: Animated, and Scattershot from Transformers: Cybertron are there too.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Optimus is the most cool-headed of the Autobots (he needs to be, since so much is riding on his leadership), while his subordinates are much more rough and rowdy, especially Ironhide.
  • Civil War: The eponymous War For Cybertron.
  • City Noir: Kaon, the Decepticon capital can be described as "Mordor meets cyberpunk".
  • Class and Level System: In multiplayer, people play as an Autobot or Decepticon, gain experience for their character after every match and level them up.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Fred Tatasciore as Megatron seemed to be trying to emulate Hugo Weaving's portrayal from the live-action movies. Likewise, as the narrator, Steve Blum seemed to be emulating G1 narrator, Victor Caroli.
  • Comic Trio: The Seekers form one with Starscream as the schemer, Skywarp as the follower, and Thundercracker as the complainer.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Decepticons all have purple Tron Lines, Autobots all have orange Tron Lines. This even extends to characters with speaking parts like Optimus and Bumblebee.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Other than in looks, the Mooks of both sides are completely identical in actual performance, all the way up to Brutes, Titans and Destroyers.
  • The Corruption: Dark Energon's properties are ill-defined at best, but it seems mostly able to subvert programming and cause machines to go haywire. Stuff it affects usually starts sprouting black crystalline spikes that tear it apart, when it's not blown up outright. Megatron is the first Cybertronian ever to weaponize it without being destroyed by it; most of the other Transformers are so terrified of it that they only have a small amount of the stuff in storage and are prepared to destroy it before Megatron hijacks the production facility. The game centers around the discovery and weaponization of Dark Energon, while Megatron's personal plot revolves around using it to corrupt Cybertron itself and bring the planet under his control. While Megatron succeeds, Cybertron does have a way to purge itself. However, the purging will require Cybertron to shut down and become uninhabitable for millions of years.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Removing an Ion Displacer from its mount allows you to carry it around... at the expense of your double-jump and about half your movement speed.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: So. Very. Much. Every named Transformer becomes exponentially more powerful whenever you're not controlling him.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is a far more intense Transformers adaptation than is the usual fare, even more than Bayformers. For one thing, it's not just the Decepticons that have nameless legions of cannon fodder.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the Autobots and Decepticons get a couple sarcastic lines off throughout the game, even the ones that were never that humorous. Like Megatron:
    Megatron: (with a weary, paternalistic air) ...and try not to get crushed by the trains.
    Breakdown: Y-you're joking, right?
    • Megatron gets another good one in at Breakdown's expense:
      Breakdown: We made it...I can't believe it! We made it!
      Megatron: Yes, Breakdown. Your constant whining saw us through.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: In multiplayer, the rough order of difficulty in playing the classes is as follows: Soldier (sturdy, easy to get into, similar to normal shooter characters), Leader (not as tough as the Soldier, but with an ability that enables everyone on the team to tank), Scout (fast and light, good at sniping and sneak attacks, but can be one-shotted by a Soldier in tank mode), and Scientist (extremely fragile but death on wings when played right, and incidentally capable of keeping other people going).
  • Downloadable Content: The DLC has introduced new maps and characters for multiplayer and Escalation mode, including all three Preorder Bonus characters.
  • Elite Mooks: Brutes, Titans, and the aforementioned overshield-equipped grenadiers.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Delightfully averted for the most part. Though you always travel in a squad of three, your squadmates are invincible. Even if they're auto-killed by an environmental effect (such as falling into a bottomless pit or standing in front of Trypticon's laser breath), they respawn a moment later. In short, you are never punished for any Artificial Stupidity.
    • This also has a secondary effect: you'll NEVER use a medic during the campaign. Invincible medic = epic win for you. Though of course, this won't protect you from people in co-op mode with more guts than sense who will constantly charge into death traps often forcing you to try and save them or enjoy reloading the last checkpoint.
    • Alas, during one mission in the campaign, you have to protect Ratchet from multiple waves of 'Cons, including a Destroyer, while he repairs Omega Supreme.
  • End of an Age: Cybertronian society collapses completely as Megatron assassinates Sentinel Prime and corrupts the planet, forcing most of the population to flee to outer space.
  • Enemy Civil War: The non-team Deathmatch option has all players as Decepticons, presumably either in a live-fire exercise or simulating the Pits of Kaon.
  • Evil Laugh: Starscream and Megatron are the most common users of sinister, bellowing laughter, though the latter only does it when he's either killed something big in a fight or achieved some important goal.
  • Evil Is Easy: While they can be played in either order, the Decepticon campaign chronologically occurs first, thus the Autobot campaign is intentionally harder.
  • Failed State: Invoked according to Word of God in regards to the design of Kaon, the Decepticon capital. The Autobot capital Iacon (despite being wartorn in its appearance, due to being under attack) still looks shiny and impressive, suiting its status as the capital of the Vestigial Empire Cybertron has become. In comparison, Kaon is a dark, gloomy place that has a very "thrown together" look to it, to reflect how the Decepticons (and Megatron in particular) are more interested in tearing down the Autobot government rather than actually building a functioning society.
  • Flunky Boss: Includes examples from all over the scale, ranging from Trypticon (who summons some minor, annoying minions that are far less dangerous than the boss itself) to Zeta Prime (who attacks with minions and environmental effects in equal measure) to Soundwave (who only attacks with his minions).
  • Forced Addiction: In the novelisation, Megatron forces some of Starscream's subordinates to consume Dark Energon to study the effects. When he's satisfied that it won't burn users from the inside out, he orders all of his Decepticon followers to use it, since it greatly boosts strength and endurance. However, when he later learns that the test subjects went insane from withdrawal symptoms and the Autobots have successfully shut down Cybertron's corrupted core so no more Dark Energon can be produced, Megatron swears he'd rather drain every single Decepticon dry than suffer that fate himself.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Considering this is a prequel to your usual Transformers Story, this is obvious. Optimus suceeds Zeta as the Last of the Primes, and no matter what the Autobots do, Cybertron is rendered uninhabitable, and the game ends with a race against time to built the Ark and escape their dying world.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Your teammates are invincible, so you can't actually harm them, but they'll still comment if one of your stray shots hits them, or if they're in the way when you bust out your melee weapon.
  • Gatling Good: The X12 Scrapmaker minigun. Also comes in more sizeable but cumbersome form with the Ion Displacer turrets.
  • Gladiator Games: Megatron got his start (and name) in the equivalent of Cybertronian Fight Club. His desire to see a free Cybertron without a caste system where everyone is free to determine their own path sparks his rise to power as more and more Cybertronians (including the future Optimus Prime) come to his cause, leading eventually to a Gladiator Revolt.
  • Gladiator Revolt: Unfortunately, as Megatron's organization grows in power, some gladiators start to do less than moral things such as bombing an amusement park.
  • Grenade Launcher: The Magma Frag Launcher launches explosive ammo which blow up upon impact.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Boss battles are usually pretty straight-forward and choregraphed, while the levels can have unexpected enemies pop out and shoot at you alongside various hazards, especially at higher difficulty levels, where anything less than a No-Damage Run will typically result in immediate death.
  • Honor Before Reason: When the Autobots receive a message from Zeta Prime that he's still alive and imprisoned in the Decepticon capital of Kaon, Ratchet tells Optimus that it must be a trap, to which Optimus replies that even if that's the case, it's a risk he's willing to take. What else can you expect from him?
  • Horse of a Different Color: The space slugs with turrets in the Autobot campaign.
  • Hot-Blooded: A decidedly Autobot trait is boisterous and willful attitude dedicated to the Autobot cause.
  • Hover Tank: Everyone with a ground vehicle mode can either use treads/wheels/whatever, or go with levitating Hubcap Hovercraft.
  • Humongous Mecha: Omega Supreme and Trypticon. The tank mini-bosses also, to a lesser extent. Technically the whole cast is this, but since this game is on Cybertron, you don't notice this.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Probably a literal one, given the franchise's common use of Pocket Dimensions. Every character carries a melee weapon and up to two ranged weapons, and only the currently-equipped weapon ever appears on their person. Acquiring a new weapon involves some sort of scanning procedure, and weapons transform out of the way and disappear when they're not being used. Furthermore, all of these weapons disappear when the character enters vehicle mode. However, there seems to be a limit to the size of the Hyperspace Arsenal, as the characters can't carry BFGs taken from turrets around with them.
  • I Will Show You X!: Skywarp's belated response to Starscream's Not-So-Stealth Insult.
    Skywarp: "Dumber than Skywarp?" I'll show you dumb...
    Starscream: You always do...
  • Incoming Ham: Everyone spouts a line like this when they transform back into robot mode. Or out of robot mode, really.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Cloaking ability. It's just mostly invisible, though.
  • Jack of All Stats: Specialty of the Neutron Assault Rifle, with its decent damage, rate of fire, accuracy, range and even reload speed. It avoids falling into Boring, but Practical territory as there's a visceral appeal to holding down the trigger and chewing through a horde of Mooks.
  • Kaizo Trap: Trypticon will try to drag you down into the abyss with him. You get a trophy (PS3) or an achievement (360) for falling for it.
  • Kill Sat: The Decepticons use one whilst in control of the orbital space station (formerly belonging to the Autobots). Turns out, it's actually the alternate form of Trypticon.
  • Kill Steal: Your teammates will comment if you kill someone they were fighting with, and the comments vary depending on who you're playing as. If you steal, say, Bumblebee's kill, he'll be annoyed. If you knock off someone Optimus was fighting, he'll just say thanks for the assist. Few of the Decepticons, though, will complain if Megatron steals a kill.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: A few of the Autobots are dedicated to the cause but worn-out, sardonic, and snarky from living through the war, especially Ironhide and Silverbolt.
  • Large and in Charge: Trust me, you'll see leaders Optimus and Megatron coming, though somewhat subverted when considering how the Mini-Boss-type enemies make both of them look puny.
  • Large Ham: Megatron, Starscream, Zeta Prime, and Trypticon, figuratively and literally, have one thing in common: making loud declarations at the top of their vocal processors.
  • Legacy Character: Sort of. The post of Prime is when a society formalizes this trope. Zeta Prime, Optimus's predecessor, is a character in the story. He is captured by the Decepticons and tortured. Soundwave kills him by draining the last of his life energy. Afterwards, Optimus brings his body home and is chosen by the Autobot High Council to succeed him as Prime.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • If you face flyers, expect multiple missiles headed towards you.
    • Omega Supreme packs hundreds of missiles locked onto every Decepticon he sees. That includes those on the roof where the turrets are stationed and Megatron himself.
    • Trypticon, while free-falling to Cybertron, launches multiple missiles at once at Jetfire, Air Raid and Silverbolt as one of his attacks, if he's not shooting towards the planet.
    • Everybody has a rocket launcher that does this in the Wii game.
  • Market-Based Title: The Wii version is titled Transformers: Cybertron Adventures, most likely because it is a significantly different game than the PS3, 360, PC, and DS versions.
  • Meaningful Name: Breakdown is a nervous wreck half the time. But considering he's fighting alongside Megatron, you can't blame him — the wrong word or a poor performance could get his head blown off.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Aside from the Transformers themselves, the depths of Cybertron have weird floating robot squids and other such things.
  • The Medic: Ratchet, as usual, but in a surprising twist, Thundercracker and Soundwave are the medics for the Decepticon side. (Jetfire is also a medic type, but that's not so much outside his purview as it is the game's class system expanding his purview.) The Scientist class in multiplayer also serves as the default medical unit.
  • The Men First: Optimus and Ratchet will constantly try to avoid any casualties on their side.
  • Mini-Boss: Destroyers. Also the Decepticon War Machines in the first mission of the Autobot campaign.
  • Mobile Maze: Level progression is actually pretty linear, but you can see so many bits and pieces of the background shifting and transforming. It's clear that the eponymous Transformers don't just restrict their transformation technology to themselves.
  • Mythology Gag: So...many...can't...list...them...all...*pop!*
    • For one, pretty much every single Achievement/Trophy in the PS360 version. Try reading through the list (you nostalgia, you lose).
    • Just about every other line of dialogue contains one of these. For instance, when the Autobots encounter the space slugs up close, Ironhide greets them with "Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong."
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, unlike most other Transformers continuities. Decepticons talk about killing people a lot.
  • No-Gear Level: One Autobot mission has Optimus and the others breaking out of prison, so they start without their projectile weapons. The Decepticons neglected, however, to take melee weapons like Optimus's axe, which is the main reason they're able to escape. (The melee weapons seem to be integrated into all Cybertronians' systems, but they actually emptied their ammunition reservoirs for their vehicle-mode weapons, too, and since when has having to mutilate someone to render them harmless ever stopped Decepticons?)
  • No One Could Survive That!: Ratchet's assessment of Zeta Prime's battle with Megatron, when a transmission from the Autobot leader seems to imply the opposite. Ratchet believes it to be a trap instead (course, he was actually half right: Zeta wasn't dead, but the message was orchestrated by the Decepticons as a trap).
    • Guesses are made if Trypticon survived his fall from orbit, but the Autobots don't jump to any conclusions.
  • Notzilla: Trypticon retains his Godzilla-like form—apparently, even alien robots just know how awesome dinosaurs are.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bumblebee has a pretty good reaction of this when Trypticon touches down on the battlefield in the second trailer.
  • Old Soldier: Ironhide's age and experience are commented upon during the game, especially on the mission he shared with Optimus and Warpath. He also seems to be the physically strongest Autobot in the game (not counting Omega Supreme). Demonstrated the best in his introductory cutscene in which he takes down two Decepticon Brutes with his bare hands. Afterwards, he lifts a gigantic collapsed statue to clear your way.
  • Palette Swap: As expected, there are a few characters who essentially have the same appearance, but different colours (i.e. Starscream and the Seekers as usual). The game even gives you the option to do this yourself as part of multiplayer customization.
    Skywarp: At least I'm not ugly.
    Thundercracker: Ugly? You and I look the same!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: One of the powers of the Scientist class, basically a Palette Swap. It's even more paper thin to other scientists, who can see the health gauges of all actual allies, but not disguised enemy Scientists, and even more so when someone tries this as Shockwave who has a very unique character model which involves a big purple glowing chest which when using this ability becomes a big red glowing chest. The lack of these obvious distinctions, however, makes it possible to fool an enemy who isn't a fellow Scientist long enough to club them with a melee attack, usually.
  • The Paragon: Both Optimus and Megatron work to inspire their subordinates to be the best of their respective factions, but Optimus is obviously much more benign about it than Megatron is.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: Neutron assault rifles, Proton burst rifles, EMP shotguns, Ion blaster, Magma frag launcher, Fusion Cannon, Plasma Cannon, EMP Shotgun, Energon Battle Pistol. It'd be easier to list the guns that dont follow this.
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: The later portions of the Decepticon campaign are spent trying to find the Omega Key to gain access to Cybertron's core so that Megatron can infect it with Dark Energon and assume total control over the planet, which he does at the end. By the time the Autobots reach the core in their own campaign, the infection has taken its toll, forcing the core to lie dormant for millions of years and render Cybertron uninhabitable until it awakens.
  • Plot Armor: With the exception of Zeta Prime and possibly Trypticon, every named character survives the game, likely so they can keep on going as they bring the war to Earth later in the franchise.
  • Preorder Bonus: Codes to unlock Shockwave, Jazz, and Demolishor in the multiplayer modes. Or a comic book.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Many, especially on the Decepticon side, which is for all intents and purposes a warrior race itself. On the Autobot side, Ironhide and Warpath are the biggest examples.
  • Psycho Serum: One of Dark Energon's properties. Nonetheless, Megatron has absolutely no fear of it and is soon swinging it around like a master!
  • Railroading: Megatron teleporting Optimus, Sideswipe, and Bumblebee back to their cells doesn't do anything that couldn't have been done another way, and raises questions.
  • Real Is Brown: Most everything is a purple-ish shade of gunmetal, even brightly colored characters like Bumblebee don't stand out much against this backdrop. This was one of the main things the developers sought to change for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The gameplay has so far been described as being akin to Gears of War, but with giant shape-shifting alien robots on their home planet.
    • There are also a few elements that make it feel similar to Team Fortress 2 in multiplayer mode, particularly the four classes, which are similar to the nine TF2 classes smushed together.
    • Likewise, the system of abilities, perks, and traits is similar to the style set out by Modern Warfare (from Activision, who also did this game).
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Megatron and many other Decepticons possess glowing red optics to highlight their sinisterness.
  • Redshirt Army: Pretty much anyone that doesn't have a name are just cannon fodder to be slaughtered by the player. According to canon literature, most of them don't even have names to begin with.
  • Regenerating Health: The health bar is split into several blocks, a partially drained block will refill on its own but fully drained ones can only be refilled by picking up Energon cubes.
  • Robot War: On both sides of the conflict.
  • RPG Elements: In multiplayer where players have guns to play at each other plus some power ups to help them destroy their opponents.
  • Scenery Porn: Cybertron looks damned good in many of the overhead shots. But then again...
    • Scenery Gorn: You'll be spending a lot of time on the ground, amidst the war torn landscapes.
      • The design team was actually very careful about these tropes. The Autobot cities, whilst heavily damaged from civil war, are perfect symbols of the once proud civilization Cybertron must have been before the war, whereas Kaon, the Decepticon city, is purposefully rusty and grimy, with the idea that the Decepticons aren't out to build a functioning society. Or at the very least, a society based more around function, power, and making others do the grunt work. Whereas the Autobots are a cooperative utopia, the Decepticons are a competitive utopia.
  • Sequel Hook: After ordering the evacuation of Cybertron, Optimus also commissions the building of the Ark, a ship massive enough to bring much of Cybertron with them as they search for a new home.
  • Sergeant Rock: Ironhide is among the big heads of the Autobots though he's not commissioned to be an officer.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: The Aerialbots use this to force Trypticon to his natural form. On one hand, Trypticon can't use his Kill Sat anymore. On the other hand...
    • The Leader class in multiplayer gets this as a power as you level up. The enemy gets locked in vehicle mode for thirty seconds.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted with the Scatter Blaster. While you won't be sniping with it, in Precision Aim mode it can nail enemies from across a large room. Played straighter with the EMP Shotgun.
  • Shout-Out: To the original Transformers movie in "To The Core".
    Ironhide: Um... bah weep granah weep ninni bong.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Arcee and Slipstream are the only "female" Autobot and Decepticon respectively, and they're bonus characters playable only in multiplayer to boot. Slipstream's model doesn't even appear in the campaign, and Arcee is only briefly seen in the Kaon prison.
  • Sniper Pistol: All weapons except for the Scatter Blaster and EMP Shotgun can be used for semi-effective sniping with Precision Aim mode on. The Energon Battle Pistol takes this literally, with a 5x scope in Precision Aim mode — the only weapon that zooms in farther is the Null Ray, a dedicated sniper rifle with a 10x scope.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Obviously a Decepticon trait, with Brawl being the biggest example, but Warpath also shows very little reluctance about blowing a keghole into someone.
    Warpath: Bang-bang, you're KABLAM!
  • Soul Jar: The Autobot Matrix of Leadership is a portion of the soul of Primus, given to Optimus by Primus himself. This is the most comprehensive origin story ever given to the mythology concept.
  • Spin Attack: The ability called Whirlwind.
  • Storming the Castle: The Decepticons' attack on Starscream's satellite and their assault on the Iacon Vault.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Zeta Prime bruises Megatron's ego during the siege of Iacon, Breakdown sarcastically quips, "Oh great — here we go...", knowing full well that the Decepticon leader's massive ego can't handle being challenged and he is bound to do something stupid.
  • Throat Light: The insides of some of the Cybertronians' mouths glow the two factions' respective eye colors (blue eyes for Autobots, Red Eyes for Decepticons).
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Only a select few of the War For Cybertron characters were created for the Generations toy-line: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Soundwave and Cliffjumper. A Legends Class Starscream was a promotional giveaway in the United Kingdom to those who purchased the game.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The intro depicts Optimus and Megatron leading armies against each other, which includes Trypticon and Omega Supreme which both lay waste to a big chunk the opposing armies before Optimus and Megatron charge each other. No such scene like this occurs in game, in fact Optimus and Megatron never meet in person, in a manner of speaking.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • A minor example only: Trypticon falling to the surface of Cybertron like a meteor.
    • Omega Supreme being shown, though without it his appearance comes out of nowhere.
  • Transforming Mecha: Should be obvious that there will be robots that morph into other shapes.
  • Translation Convention: Spoken Cybertronian is rendered in English, while written Cybertronian is kept largely untranslated. The exception is the preview text that opens each mission, which translates from Cybertronian to English as the narrator reads it.
  • Tron Lines: There's glowing circuitry on damn near everyone.
  • The Unfought: The Autobots and Decepticons only get to fight the opposite faction's leader in multiplayer due to their stories being sequential rather than parallel. The only duel between the leaders that is in any way related to the storyline occurs in the intro.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The first stage has a rest area where the Decepticons have taken several workers and defenders prisoner. Not only can you freely execute them if you like, the game actually gives you an achievement/trophy if you kill all but one of them.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization
    • Axes: Optimus's latest axe is even bigger than his Animated incarnation's. This is also the melee weapon of the Leader Class.
    • Carry a Big Stick: The melee weapon of the Scientist Class.
    • Cool Sword: The melee weapon of the Scout Class.
    • Drop the Hammer: Melee weapon of the Soldier Class. Also, Ultra Magnus in the Nintendo DS version.
    • Epic Flail: Megatron's weapon.
    • Melee weapons aside, while most characters can equip any two guns they come across, Optimus and Megatron are unable to drop their signature Ion Cannon and Fusion Cannon.
  • War Is Hell: Not since The Transformers: The Movie has warfare between robots been so heartbreaking and horrifying to watch. This trend is continued in its sequels Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and Transformers: Prime
  • We Have Reserves: Both the Decepticons and the Autobots (under Zeta Prime's command anyway) show this behaviour. Come to think of it, it's probably one reason why the Autobots are happy that Optimus is finally in charge, as he doesn't share this attitude.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: The Aerialbots decide to take out Trypticon's conversion cog and revert him back to his natural Cybertronian form, seeing no other way to stop him from firing and destroying Iacon.
    Jetfire: We don't even know what his original form is!
    Silverbolt: Maybe not, but anything is better than this.
  • Wingman: The Aerialbots to one another. While the Seekers have the "chatter in the middle of battle" part down, they don't really care enough for each other for the "watch my six" part. Thundercracker might, if the others weren't jackholes.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The character blatantly intended to be Hot Rod in the DS version is called "Hot Shot" rather than the typical "Rodimus". This wouldn't be so bad, if Hot Shot wasn't a different character.
  • You Are in Command Now: When Zeta Prime is defeated, Optimus is forced to take command of the Autobot army in his place. Not a single Autobot sees this as a bad thing, except maybe Optimus himself. Starscream also tries to invoke this trope many times during the game, but, well, Megatron has a pesky tendency to not die.
  • You Fool!: Used mostly by Starscream, though Megatron says it once.

Optimus Prime: No matter where we go, Cybertron will be with us.