Transformers Fall of Cybertron Review
After suffering through three abysmal movie tie-in games, War for Cybertron which was released two years ago smashed it out of the park with top-notch art direction and a story that brought the game back to its roots and did right by long-time fans. Fall of Cybertron picks up where the previous title left off while improving on the prior game’s already winning formula in nearly every way.
Developed by High Moon Studios, published by Activision and currently available for Xbox 360 and PS3, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a fantastic game by any standards — but the fact that it’s a fantastic Transformers game makes it a must-purchase title. High Moon crafted a bold and exciting narrative that fans can really get behind as they get to experience first-hand the fate of the Transformers’ homeworld and their destined arrival in the Milky Way.
You will remember that in War for Cybertron the Transformers’ home planet was left practically uninhabitable. If there was any hope for the Autobots to sustain the Transformer race, they needed to escape to a new star-system and seek a new home. The Decepticons, however, vow to see the Autobots grovel before them or die — leading to the action-packed intro to Fall of Cybertron. A well-implemented tutorial immediately begins and quickly gets you up to speed on the button layout as you take control of Bumblebee. This and the numerous chapters that follow it guide players through a dark and expertly told storyline told from both the Autobot and Decepticon perspectives its also filled with familiar faces from all ends of the Transformers Universe. You’ll be taking control of these guys amongst others, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhide, Soundwave, Starscream, Jetfire. Even the powerhouse Grimlock makes an appearance in the game as a playable character. While all the characters are modeled and rendered with significantly more detail than fans of the classic animated series and comics may be used to, they haven’t completely lost their identity as they have in the Bay films where every bot seems to look like a grey mess of metal and wires. Quite the opposite here — every Transformer is given a distinctive look and personality coupled with their own unique special abilities and weapons. Upgrading one’s Transformer is as simple as collecting currency. Doing so allows access to better weapons and upgrades. The best part is that these new abilities and weapons are available for each character played. For gamers who want to do some treasure hunting there are audio logs to discover, energy shards to collect and weapon blueprints scattered throughout the campaign’s levels.
There are some immediate differences between the last title and this one and when you start playing you will see. These differences include, the visuals and presentation are ridiculous with both the character models and environments being insanely detailed. The Transformers themselves carry themselves with a believable agility despite feeling like they possess a mammoth weight. Shifting in to vehicle form is a button click away and will send your character leaping into the air as hundreds of individual pieces move into position in an instant’s time, keeping the action seamless and fast-paced. The lighting is also incredibly impressive. There are several instances I ran into where I’d walked into a room bathed in the eerie glow of a laser grid or filled with lighting effects so intense and cool-looking that it bears mentioning.
Where War ended up a bit repetitive towards the end due to its fairly consistent environments, Fall of Cybertron has such varied and interesting locations throughout that this never becomes an issue. From urban cityscapes to the Sea of Rust and into the Instecticon Hive, the game keeps you on your toes and delivers it all without any mid-chapter loading interruptions. Combine that with a narrative that has no shortage of huge, jaw-droppingly epic set-pieces and you have a recipe for success. The first time you see the city-sized behemoth Metroplex transform to take the fight to Megatron, you will be officially hooked. One area that some fans of the first game may miss though is the inclusion of a co-op mode. The campaign is strictly a single-player affair this time around, but fret not, there are still plenty of online modes outside of the story and the game’s structure only benefitted from the omission. Now, each level was designed specifically with only your playable characters in mind, allowing the developer to make a very deliberate and streamlined experience custom-tailored to each bot’s abilities.
In Fall of Cybertron, players are given levels that let you explore and have lot of fun with what each character has to offer. Jazz has a grappling hook that allows for some great platform-y sections and Cliffjumper’s cloaking ability naturally lends itself to some awesome stealth-based areas. Similarly, Starscream’s sections offer up some great aerial battles — it’s all about building an experience that lets gamers control these characters the way they always wanted to, making this so far the greatest Transformers game the franchise has seen to date.
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