Developer: High Moon Studios
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
The Transformers franchise has seen an obvious resurgence with the recent blockbuster movies that have been released the past few years. While High Moon Studios has been a part of the movie-game-tie-in market with Dark of the Moon, it’s notably released War for Cybertron to many Transformers fans who’ve been fans way before the recent popularity surge.
With that in mind, I’d like to confess that I am not a Transformers fan. I did not grow up with the series and I did not buy any toys when I was growing up. If anything, I’m more partial to the Beast Wars spin-off series than the true blue Transformers gang.
In Fall of Cybertron, the story directly continues from War for Cybertron. The Autobots and Decepticons have destroyed their planet to the brink of annihilation with their civil war. While the Autobots plan to flee the planet within their large Ark starship, the Decepticons once again stand in the way. What follows is a whole lot of metal-on-metal action.
The game’s setting is truly one evocative of war. Debris is plentiful and scrap metal bursts as Transformers are ripped apart in combat. The developers did their best to sidestep the sameness of War for Cybertron’s settings. Still, it’s hard to come across much variety when your world is all machine.
The Transformers themselves are rendered pretty spectacularly. Gears whoosh around and chassis mutate as you switch from vehicle to robot and back again. Since Transformers have their weapons built into their bodies, the simple act of switching firing arms is pretty cool. Your weapon melts back into the robot before fusing on your other arm. The same goes for when you switch weapons.
Throughout the war, distinctive Transformer chatter can be heard. The planned moments between the Decepticons are comical because while they are all on the same team, you can tell that respect isn’t freely handed out. Only Megatron can command the respect necessary to drive the Decepticon war machine forward.
As far as I can tell, the game’s characters are faithfully recreated and derived from Transformers lore. This part goes over my head a bit but I’m sure that longtime Transformers fans will get a kick out of being able to control the likes of Grimlock and Megatron.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is played from many different perspectives. As opposed to War for Cybertron, this title does not allow selecting a character for each mission. Rather, the game gives you a predetermined Transformer with which to complete each mission. The campaign missions are mostly fresh with the various Transformers using their various skills in order to push the story forward. Sometimes you’ll have to use Jazz’s grappling ability to pull down obstacles or Spider-Man your way around the map. Other times you’ll get to rampage around as Grimlock before transforming into his Dinobot form. And then there are times when you’re a helicopter and you get to zip away from a collapsing bridge.
While Transformer choice has been curbed a bit in the campaign, Fall of Cybertron does allow for somewhat varied and powerful weapon enhancements through the Teletraan I. Upgrading the Path Blaster, for instance, yields a unique ability where each magazine has a single explosive bullet that can clear the field of immediate threats. It’s pretty awesome in practice.
Fall of Cybertron may not have the cooperative campaign present in its predecessor but it retains Escalation mode. Between that and the traditional competitive multiplayer, Fall of Cybertron is solid on the replay value front, though it may be a little lacking when it comes to the campaign’s replay value.
My main problem with Transformers is that while it’s heavy on the action, it’s not particularly thought provoking. You don’t get stuck in this game. You aren’t allowed to. That’s not usually a bad thing but it’s a problem when the game doesn’t offer any challenge outside of combat. There are light gameplay elements which don’t serve much purpose other than to break up the arena robot battles. Follow the linear path and you come to easily maneuvered obstacles that usually require a quick tap of your robot ability. Sometimes you pull walls down, sometimes you hover up into the air, and other times you simply fire some rounds into weakened wall sections.
The game does a decent job of conveying the Cybertronian war. Most of the game you have backup from either the Autobots or Decepticons (depending on your perspective at the time). This provides a great opportunity for the banter I mentioned before. At other times you are noticeably alone against a great wave of generic enemies ranging from flighty snipers to shotgun commandos. I found myself wondering why Optimus Prime and Megatron had to do so much heavy lifting when they both commanded huge armies.
All in all, I feel like the best part of Fall of Cybertron is its multiplayer. For myself, Escalation provided more entertainment than anything else and that’s only because I was playing with other people.
Fall of Cybertron is a decent game and only gets better the more in tune you are with the Transformers universe. If you’re looking for a relatively quick and pain free action game campaign then this is your game. I recommend that if you’re interested in it, give the multiplayer a try first. If that resonates with you then it’s a safe buy. Otherwise Fall of Cybertron is a decent but not breathtaking experience.