Unlike previous Autobot/ Decepticon branded Transformers
games, Transformers: War for Cybertron - Decepticons
offers two different campaigns. Some missions overlap and repeat between games, though each also features a unique campaign. The Decepticon side begins with players controlling an unnamed Autobot, only to have that character decimated by Megatron at the end of the tutorial. It's a nice twist and, in a roundabout way, a tip of the hat to the unnamed protagonist from the past two games.
Gameplay is based around tag-team play. At the start of each mission, you select two Decepticons from a list of available bots. Your selection is limited early on, though new characters are unlocked via story events and character discs hidden in levels.
You can switch characters at anytime during a mission. This is great when you need to get a damaged character out of trouble, or utilize a particular bot's strength. In addition to weapon types, each is designated as either a Light (car), Heavy (tank) or Flying (jet) character. Light characters are fast and can sneak through small spaces, while Heavies can crash through broken walls.
The idea of having to switch between Transformers based on situation is a great one, but the level design doesn't seem to support the differences that well. I can think of a handful of levels where I needed to make a return trip to unlock something. I was able to grab most collectables on my first pass. Other than swapping weapons, type doesn't seem to matter as much as it should.
For whatever reason, Vicarious Visions dropped the quest-based multiplayer feature introduced in Revenge of the Fallen. This is a massive misstep. The mode had a few issues, but the real-time Autobots vs. Decepticons control metagame was an exciting prospect. Considering the rise in social gaming as of late, I'm surprised the initial idea wasn't built up a little more for this game.
The only unique multiplayer aspect is the "Ante" system. Before a match, you can put one of your Transformers up on a wager. Win the match and your friend's level 20 Optimus Prime becomes your level 20 Optimus Prime. If you find yourself on the losing end of a match, you can reclaim your character by playing a "Prison Break" game. It's not as cool as the "social" multiplayer, but still fun.