Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review
Game: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Developer: High Moon Studios
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
There was a time when a decent licensed game was somewhat of a surprise. Transformers: War for Cybertron was one such surprise when it landed in 2010, with developer High Moon Studios doing a stellar, if unexciting job of taking the lore and feel of the Transformers universe and fitting it together with an enjoyable, Unreal-powered third person shooter. However, the lack of variety was one of its downsides, with levels becoming repetitive and little difference between most of the Transformers you could pick from meaning that the game soon started to grate outside of co-op.
Things are very different this time. With Fall of Cybertron, the sequel, High Moon are revamping things and aiming to take things to the next level. With a whole host of fan service, and certain groups of Transformers that may or may not be based on prehistoric animals, it pleases me to say that Fall of Cybertron is a game that you don’t want to miss out on; Transformers fan or not.
STORY: The story sets off as you’d expect it to, the Autobots are at war with the Decepticons once more. However, the story of the game is told in a non-linear fashion, the first thing you see at the end of the first mission is, in fact, part of the ending chapter. After that, you whizz through the story from the beginning. The Autobots are trying to escape Cybertron and make it into space in their Ark, the only problem is that Megatron and his Decepticon cronies don’t want them to leave, and have begun to attack the Ark.
This causes a dire problem. Energon resources are running desperately low, and the Ark needs it to keep its shields up and to fly. With some parallels to be drawn between the energy crisis on Cybertron and the energy crisis on Earth with regards to oil and fossil fuels, you’d be forgiven for thinking the story was a moral parable. Either way, there’s plenty of robot-smashing action going on, so it’s not really noticeable. Global what?
GRAPHICS: Using the Unreal Engine once more, it’s no surprise that Fall of Cybertron is a gorgeous game. Everything from the Transformers themselves to the environments are glossy and pleasing to the eye. It’s also a relief that, rather than having the usual murky colours of an Unreal Engine shooter, the environments of Cybertron are more colourful than we’ve seen previously. This variety compliments the game’s look, and really highlights what a breath of fresh air Fall of Cybertron is.
SOUND: With Transformers, it’s vitally important to life-long fans of the series that the voice acting is as good as the original cartoon’s. In this vein then, the voice acting is extremely strong once again, with Peter Cullen returning as the booming voice of Optimus Prime. With a stellar supporting cast, complimented by an excellent soundtrack, the audio and the graphics combine to create an excellently presented game.
GAMEPLAY: A third-person shooter, like its predecessor, things are a bit different this time around in regards to variety. Although in the previous game you could select from one of three Transformers, where the major change was really what they transformed into and what weapon they had, whilst this was cool, it didn’t really change much of the game. In Fall of Cybertron, you don’t get to pick which Transformer you are.
This time around, you have a set Transformer for each chapter, and you can upgrade your weapons and buy new ones, find blueprints for them and just upgrade the components. However, rather than this limiting the variety found in the game, the way each Transformer is fundamentally different from the one that preceded it means that the game constantly throws variety at you. For example, in one of the chapters you play as Cliffjumper, whose special ability (activated by the right bumper) is cloaking. The dynamics of this mission are completely different to the ones that occur before and after, as you take a more stealthy approach. This entails crawling through air vents and stealth-attacking enemies as they’re not paying attention.
Of course, being Transformers means that the robot form isn’t the only aspect of their attack. Ranging from the jet that is Starscream to the the Tyrannosaurus Rex that Grimlock turns into, there’s always a hell of a lot of fun to be had with the other forms. Even if they just transform into a vehicle, it’s still great fun to use the rockets and the machine guns to rip through the various generic transformers that form the main bulk of the enemies. With enemies also encompassing Insecticons swarms and many more; there’s a lot of things for you to destroy.
MULTIPLAYER: Whilst many games are made or broken on their multiplayer, Fall of Cybertron doesn’t really need a strong multiplayer offering. However, that’s exactly what you’ve got. With a class-based system, where you can create (and name) your own Transformers that conform to one of four classes; there is also an XP level for each class. By taking part, killing robots and completing objectives and challenges, you level up and unlock more weapons and abilities.
In the competitive online, there’s four modes to choose from, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Conquest and Headhunter. While the first two are fairly self-explanatory, they are both incredibly fun. However, with the added dimensions of objectives added in, the Conquest and Headhunter modes are by far the best offerings from Fall of Cybertron, with Conquest requiring the holding and capture of certain strategic points and Headhunter requiring the collection of ‘sparks’ from enemies.
If competitive multiplayer isn’t your thing then, although there isn’t a co-op campaign included in the game, there is a Horde mode called Escalation to enjoy online with up to 3 other people. Selecting a Transformer from a list of four, you have to defend against wave after wave of enemies. Although it’s nothing new, it’s still a solid and enjoyable mode; particularly with friends.
LONGEVITY: With thirteen chapters spanning a great story, multiple modes and a lot of levelling up to do in the multiplayer, plus an enjoyable Escalation mode, there’s plenty to do in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron if you’re so inclined. Even if you never touch the multiplayer, you’ve still got a fifteen hour campaign that will hook you from start to finish.
VERDICT: It shouldn’t be a surprise that High Moon have pulled it out of the bag again with the sequel to War for Cybertron, however, what is surprising, is that, despite some seemingly terrible choices in terms of removing the co-op and limiting your choice of Transformer, Fall of Cybertron manages to be more engaging, more enjoyable and more varied than its predecessor. If you have a passing interest in Transformers, or just fancy an enjoyable third person shooter that changes things up while still being familiar, then Fall of Cybertron is simply a must buy.