There’s been one very good reason why I haven’t been able to tear myself away from my TV in the past three days and that is Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. This is the game any self respecting Transformers fan has been awaiting most of his life for. Developed by Highmoon Studios and published by Activision this latest game is a sequel to the¬†moderately¬†well¬†received Transformers: War for Cybertron.
The game is set just before the Transformers end up on earth and essentially takes place at the start of the original TV series, concerning the Transformers trying to leave their home planet of Cybertron. This isn’t just a complete retelling of the first episode, though Highmoon have clearly been given free reign over the cult favourite robots. Not to worry though we’re not talking the kind of free reign Michael Bay has vomited out for us, we’re talking about a game in which you can feel everyone on board making it, cared about the characters they had been given.
Many of the characters from the first game are back with some new additions from the TV series. Such as the Autobots Cliffjumper, Jazz and the Dinobots along with some Decepticons Swindle, Onslaught and the Insecticons. All of them maintain their personalities from the TV show and those who were only bit parts in the show have been flushed out more.
The game is a third person shooter with some modifications that make it stand out from everything else out on the market. The most obvious being you can transform whenever you want. All of the robots have a vehicle mode that allows to traverse whatever battlefield your in with ease, whether that be a jet, car or a tyrannosaurus¬†rex! This adds a completely new element to the shoot outs, if you’re beginning¬†to feel pinned down just transform and fly/drive your way into a different area.
I did find the enemy AI a bit dull in places especially when they would merely sit there in cover trying to shoot at me, you only had to worry about the shotgun troops trying to rush at you. It would have been nice to see the enemies make full use of their vehicle modes as well but I very rarely saw them change forms, they would often chase me on foot whilst I was driving off.
Unlike most third person shooters Transformers Fall of Cybertron comes without a cover system and although you will miss it at the start of the game, you begin to realise you are better off without it. Similair to Relic’s Warhammer Space Marine a cover system would only¬†dampen¬†your progress of the game. Given how the Transformers weapons are part of themselves they can simply swap their arms meaning that you view over a different shoulder making it easier to lean out from behind cover if you need to. Mastering this camera swapping will be necessary for the the harder difficulties.
Fall of Cybertron has removed the full coop campaign that War for Cybertron had, giving three players the chance to play through the entirety of the campaign together. This¬†removal, although¬†disappointing gives us a better alternative in that the campaign has now been adjusted and sculpted to fit characters and their abilities into it. War for Cybertron’s biggest let down was the¬†repetitive¬†nature of the campaign whereas Fall of Cybertron gives a variety of different levels some being very linear, but having a purpose to them such as Cliffjumper’s stealth level, or the more open battle fields that encourge you to fly or drive around them.
The levels themselves are actually quite distinct looking considering it’s all just one planet full of robots. From the Rust City underneath the surface of Cybertron to the battle scarred cities you’ll find yourself fighting through, more variety unlike War for Cybertron which got familiar very quickly. It’s clear Highmoon Studios have tried to infuse a bit of nature to the mechanical world and it has paid off.
Over the course of the story you’ll play as Decepticons and Autobots as they both vie for Cybertron’s remaining energy so that they can leave Cybertron for a new home to harvest more energy. The plot introduces old fan¬†favorites, although if you’ve seen the trailers there aren’t many surprises to be had. The characters interact with each other like they did on the cartoon series and there are some nods to events in the episodes as well. I will point out there is one horrific nod to the 1980′s film, although it’s not really a nod more a complete scene stolen from it which I felt undermined the game.
The voice acting is top notch and Peter Cullen and Gregg Berger return to play Optimus Prime and Grimlock respectively. Whoever voices Jazz is very good at¬†impersonating¬†the voice from the tv series. There are a some funny one liners and some very camp ones as well, most of the¬†emanating¬†from Starscream.
The games multiplayer has been looked at in more detail. Some of the less populated game modes have been removed and has left us with just the bare bones. Team Deathmatch, Domination, CTF and Head Hunter (similar to Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed mode) It’s a shame as I’m not sure how long these simple modes will keep people interested. The one great thing is that you can customize each part of your own transformer now. You’re essentially given all the parts of the main characters and can mix them around for some interesting results. You can unlock these parts whenever you want provided you have enough credits. New weapons are unlocked to you as you level up. Appearance is customized from the start but actual combat bonuses come from skill and tenacity. Apart from the ability to transform, the multiplayer is missing that little spark needed to stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Cooperative play hasn’t been completely omitted. Escalation (Horde) mode is back and you’re left to try and fight your way through 15 waves of enemies. You can spend money on unlocking more areas, weapons and now defences to help you stem the tide of Autobots or Decepticons. I was not left blown away by the mode but it’s solid and fun enough to go through the levels with some friends.
Overall Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a step up from War for Cybertron and it is a great game. It’s multiplayer is easily it’s weaker side but when the single player was so strong I couldn’t complain too much. My appetite for these robots has barely been sated and I can’t wait for another game that would hopefully take the Transformers to our planet. Till all are one!