Transformers: Fall of Cybertron review!!

Developer(s): High Moon Studios
Publisher(s): Activision
Genre(s): Action, Third-person shooter
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release: August 21, 2012
Rating: Teen

Cybertron is dying. The Autobots, falling under the might of the Decepticons, board their shuttle, the Ark, to seek refuge amongst the stars in the hopes of finding a planet with the necessary energy to restore their home and defeat Megatron to put an end to this senseless war. However, Megatron is not ready to let the Autobots go except to oblivion. The Decepticon warship Nemesis intercepts the Ark. The Decepticons invade. A lone warrior amongst the Autobots stands to protect his comrades. Fighting his through enemy forces, he soon finds his leader on the brink of defeat. Megatron fires what is intended to be the finishing blow until the Autobot bravely hurls himself in the path of the blast, saving his leader. As the light fades from Bumblebee’s eyes, his mind goes back to the first day of their last stand.

That is the opening sequence of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, High Moon Studios follow-up to the impressive first game, Transformers: War for Cybertron. The game immediately throws you into the mix of that well-known space battle that launched the series back in 1984. You take control of Bumblebee and help defend against the invading Decepticons. Here, you learn the controls which remain unchanged from the previous title and are taken through a tutorial which coincides with the battle as you make your way to Optimus Prime. After the opener, the game picks up a few days earlier, which is where War for Cybertron left off. Gameplay is virtually the same; you stand alone against hordes of enemies as you make your way to complete your goals. However, there are plenty of new additions to the sequel.

Jazz uses his hook liine to traverse throught the bowels of Cybertron, adding a larger platform element than the previous title

Gone are the separate Autobot and Decepticon fractions and in its place, straight forward gameplay. Each stage is tailored each Transformers’ ability. You will be using a different robot, be it Autobot or Decepticon, for each stage. The purpose of this is to add more variety as you play through. For instance, Jazz comes equipped with his grappling line and a stage suited for him to use it. He traverses high above a deadly pool of toxic energon run-off, giving Transformers a platform element, something that didn’t exist in the first game. Remember how some Transformers had the ability to use stealth you didn’t really get the chance to showcase it? Well, that plays a much larger part now. You can now use stealth to sneak around enemies and take them out silently or maneuver undetected to complete your mission. I love it when ideas are borrowed for other sources. Another feature is the Teleraan 1 store where you can purchase upgrades for your weapons using chips dropped by defeated enemies. Yes, the same chips from the first game are now used as currency for Teletraan. And don’t think for a second that Teletraan caters only to the Autobots. The Decepticons have access to it as well. The co-op mode is gone due to the fact that you are in control of only one Transformer and are not joined by any other bots. On the other hand, excalation and multiplayer are still intact with the ability to customize your robot AND you get to use famous robots such as Starscream, Megatron, and Optimus in these modes.

Optimus in Metroplex's hand truly shows the scale of the giant Autobot

PRO: The opening visuals are just as awesome in Fall of Cybertron as they were in War for Cybertron. The details in the characters and environments are crisper and given even more attention. I enjoyed the first game but I like the fact that the separate fractions were disposed of in favor of using different Transformers for each chapter. Speaking of the “Robots in Disguise”, I truly like the new additions of more familiar characters from G1 such as the Combaticons, Jazz, Cliffjumper, and Grimlock. It was sheer you to stomp around on the Autobot forces as Bruticus or sink my jaws into Decepticon chassis as Grimlock, adding to the more varied combat this sequel has to offer. But the highlight for me was being able to command Metroplex to bring the rain. Once Optimus gives the order, take cover and watch the field light up as Metroplex bombards the ‘Cons with heavy artillery. Since you’re commanding the big guy, his accuracy is fully dependent upon you so make them count. On the subject, fans complained about the simplicity of the enemy AI in the previous title. That issue has been addressed and the AI has been improved. Your foes now fight more strategically, using cover to protect themselves and evasive maneuvers to avoid your shots. Combat in the game has been stepped up. Before, the battle situations when fighting for the Autobots or Decepticons differed from each other. The ‘Cons battles were much easier than the ‘Bots. In Fall of Cybertron, the combat is the same across the board. No one has an advantage or disadvantage.

CON: Oh, how it pains me to do this. As much as I’m a Transformers fan, there are some issues that haven’t been checked. The reloading of weapons is still a major issue. There is just too much lag time between loads even when you do it manually. This is a hindrance when enemies rush you and get in a couple good shots before you can fire again. With heavy artillery, there is a one second to nearly two second delay before the weapon reloads. Manual reloading makes no difference. Now you can purchase an upgrade to reduce the reload time but the change is not that noticeable. I like tight controls in a game but the flight controls for the flying sequences may’ve been wound a little too tight. And the reaction time in a couple cases was not as quick as expected. During Vortex’s portion of the game, I found myself not being able to pull as away from collisions with walls and other structures quickly enough yet when the response does kick in and I try to recover, Vortex has already swung too far to one side and is a bit slow to straighten out. I understand to “realism” High Moon is going for but I wager that flight controls in a real aircraft are a bit more responsive than in this.

Starscream's coronation scene from Transformers: The Movie also plays out in Fall of Cybertron

OVERALL: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is an exciting and entertaining game to play. Fans will enjoy this especially the opening sequence for those of us who remember the debut of the series. It was certainly enjoyable to use the retro Megatron Gun after unlocking it. It does moderate damage and the familiar “pew-pew” is a fun throwback to my childhood. High Moon dug into the series and animated movie. Hearing the familiar banter between Starscream and Megatron when Starscream proclaimed himself leader of the Decepticons brought back fond memories. Megatron, after being resurrected, finds his lieutenant and confronts him. Starscream yells, “Who disrupts my coronation?!” Megatron responds, “Coronation, Starscream? This is bad comedy.” Even though the scene featured Galvatron in the movie but still it was nice trip down memory lane. High Moon Studios delivered with War for Cybertron and they have definitely brought it to the table with Fall of Cybertron, which has potential to surpass its predecessor. After the reveal at the Video Game Awards last year, expectations were high and rightfully so. Did I mention the G1 skin for Optimus Prime? Ah, memories.

It’s 4 laser blasts out of 5 for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

Until next time, see you on the next level!
Brian M.

Pre-ordering nets you the G1 Optimus Prime.

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