While we've previously covered some of the details surrounding other modes in the upcoming Transformers: War for Cybertron, we finally got some hands-on time with a new multiplayer mode called Escalation, which bears some resemblance to the Horde mode from Gears of War 2. But before jumping into that, a little background: Transformers: War for Cybertron isn't (thankfully) based on any of the recent motion pictures, but rather it's an origin story of sorts that focuses on the epic war between Autobots and Decepticons on their home planet of Cybertron. Therefore, the characters you know and love (and there are a lot of them in this game) may look different from what you're used to because they're presented in their Cybertronian forms, but they still transform into similar vehicles.
Like other modes in War for Cybertron, Escalation lets you select a character from four classes--soldier, scientist, scout, and leader. Of course, each of these classes has its own unique attributes that make it well-suited for certain situations. For example, if you want a character with some brute-force firepower, then soldier is probably the way to go, but if you're looking for a little bit more agility and speed, then a scout is the better option. Then again, characters in the science class can transform into jets, and they offer better support skills than the other characters. Leaders are the best all-around class for those looking for a little bit of everything. Each class also has special attacks and abilities that, after being triggered, require a cooldown period before you can use them again.
At any rate, the characters (and their corresponding classes) that you and your teammates choose in Escalation often determine how well you can work together, and that's a key component of the mode. Your team will be thrown into an arena where wave after wave of enemies spawn in an attempt to take you and your cohorts down, but as you blast through the throngs of foes, you're awarded points. These points can then be used at various stations scattered around the map, but the trick is deciding what you want to spend these points on. If you're low on health, then you can head over to the health station, and likewise, you can get ammo at the ammo station. If you feel like you need a new weapon, then you can save your points and head to the weapon station. Interestingly, players can also combine their points to accomplish certain tasks, such as opening doors to new areas that might make it a little easier to defend against an enemy onslaught.
Much of the time, we found ourselves spending points on ammo and health, which is of particular importance, since Escalation ends when all members of your team die. In fact, a lot of the teamwork boils down to making sure that your teammates are still functioning, but it's certainly worth mentioning that if you lose all of your health, your teammates have a few seconds to run to your position and revive you. Otherwise, you can spend the rest of your time transforming and blasting enemies in an attempt to get through as many waves as possible.
After taking a break from the Escalation mode, we jumped into some quick cooperative campaign action. Most fans will be happy to know that War for Cybertron's three-player co-op campaign offers two completely different options--one for the Autobots and one for the Decepticons. We played through a small portion of the Autobot co-op campaign as Optimus Prime and found that teamwork still plays an equally important role in this mode, since you often need to coordinate attacks with your teammates, particularly when one of the game's massive bosses is involved. Transformers: War for Cybertron is scheduled for release on June 22.