Transformers Fall of Cybertron is shining example of what happens when you give a licensed property to a team that gives a damn. I admit I actually missed out on Transformers War for Cybertron when it originally launched because having seen 2009′s Transformers Revenge of the Fallen I pretty much decided I wanted nothing to do with Transformers ever again. Having played Transformers Fall of Cybertron I now realize that was a stupid decision and I shouldn’t let one movie ruin the franchise even if it’s a really bad movie.
Transformers Fall of Cybertron follows on from the events of 2010′s War for Cybertron though if like me you missed out on that game then don’t worry because you don’t need to know what happened in order to enjoy Fall of Cybertron.
Upon booting up the game I headed straight into options to explore as I always do and randomly decided to view the credits, a bit odd but that’s what I’m like. As the credits began I noticed “Touch” by Stan Bush started playing and it was at this very moment that felt I was going to be experiencing something great.
Sometimes when a team decide to take on a licensed property they forget some of the things that made it special to us but not High Moon Studios. The team in place here are obviously fans of Transformers, they just simply happen to make games for a living too. If you’re a fan of Transformers then there is not doubt about it, you need to play Fall of Cybertron even if the last two movies have done everything in their power to ruin Transformers.
High Moon Studios have decided that a 3rd person shooter with everything turned up to 11 is the way to do things and you can’t really argue with that after you finish Fall of Cybertron. The game starts off with a bang, it’s one of those titles that just wants to get you going right away. The first level is basically a tutorial though it never really feels like one, it’s all tied to the story so the game is teaching you the mechanics but without putting the narrative on hold.
We should touch upon the story in Fall of Cybertron because it’s actually not too bad, it’s not amazing by any means but it certainly gets the job done even if the ending just sort of ends abruptly Peter Cullen returns as the voice of Optimus Prime and everyone else does a great job making all the other characters sound believable. In particular I rather enjoyed the dialogue exchanges between Cliffjumper and Jazz, it was easy to forget I was playing as a robot. In fact I was rather interested by this so I decided to investigate and wouldn’t you know it, Nolan North voices Cliffhanger. To all you Nolan North fans out there, yes he is in this game as well.
Getting back to the actual game, as mentioned Fall of Cybertron is a 3rd person shooter though Gears of War this isn’t. For starters there is no cover mechanic of sticking to walls, if you want to take cover you simply go hide behind something. What really separates Fall of Cybertron from other 3rd person shooters is the whole transforming aspect.
With a click of the left analog stick providing there is enough space your Autobot or Decepticon will transform into a vehicle though Grimlock is more unique in that he gets to turn a dinosaur, don’t worry it’s not a spoiler it’s actually on the back of the box.
You’ll spend most of your time in robot form though there are certainly parts where the game encourages you to make the switch. You’ll transform into anything from a car to a tank to even a helicopter and each transformation serves to give the game some variety.
As you make your way through the campaign you’ll also get the chance to play as a range of different Autobots and Decepticons across the 13 chapters, you don’t get to pick which ones but rather whatever the game decides to throw at you.
The different playable characters all contribute to keeping the game feeling fresh otherwise all we have here is a go from A to B shooter with the odd push lever to continue. My favourite two chapters were that of Cliffjumper and Jazz as what they brought to the campaign mixed things up nicely.
For Cliffjumper’s chapter it has a strong point on stealth but don’t worry it works really well, it’s more forgiving like Rocksteady’s Batman series than say Splinter Cell. In the case of Jazz he gets to navigate environments using a grappling hook, again much like Batman and lots of fun.
As mentioned there isn’t much new or unique to the campaign, you pretty much go from one area to the next blasting everything in your way. On one hand it’s not very original even if it does bear a Transformers twist to it but on the other it’s hard to complain when it’s all very well done.
There’s also plenty of set pieces throughout and many of those are worthy of marking out for, simply moments where you think to yourself “wow this is awesome” and the best part is none of those moments are cut-scenes. From start to finish it’s just one big game with no interruptions in between outside the initial load.
Busy would be a good way to describe Fall of Cybertron’s visuals, in particular towards the latter half of the game. This game is hell bent on making your system work hard and generally speaking the frame rate holds up too for the most part. Animations are also worthy of praise considering how many moving parts there are in the world of Transformers, it’s certainly one of the nicer looking games I’ve seen in a while.
The vistas in the game are great, highly detailed too at times with some superb use of lighting to set the tone even if most of the time you’re just rushing through it all.
Outside a couple of tracks you’re not bound to notice much of the soundtrack with all the explosions going on, if you’ve not yet invested in a surround sound setup yet then Fall of Cybertron will certainly make you reconsider. If there is any area that I would want to praise above any other it would be the voice acting, as I’ve already mentioned it’s fantastic and so natural that it’s easy to overlook it.
Once you’re done playing the campaign which clocks in at under 10 hours then there’s a multi-player mode to Fall of Cybertron that’s worth a look. The campaign co-op mode from War for Cybertron is gone so you’ll have to make do with the other multi-player modes on offer. Escalation is the industry standard horde mode where you survive waves of enemies so that’s a good place to start for your co-op needs.
If you prefer to shoot others instead then Fall of Cybertron has you covered as well with familiar Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes. Other modes include Conquest is where players have to control multiple nodes throughout the match the win points while Headhunter asks that you collect dropped sparks from fallen enemies in order to win.
All the basic stuff you’d expect from a multi-player mode is here and it plays well enough even though players tend to transform into vehicular form and flee fights when low on life. The true stand out feature of multi-player mode is actually the one that takes place in the menu and that would be the ability to create your own character.
Creating your own character in Fall of Cybertron is every bit as good as you’d think it is. As you gain experience you’ll unlock new load outs so not only are you creating something that looks cool, you’re also attempting to create the ultimate death machine.
It’s all held together by the very familiar perks system we saw in Call of Duty 4 though much cooler because it’s always more fun going into online matches with something that is unique to you like a pink Autobot. I don’t feel the multi-player modes are going to keep you hooked for too long but overall it works well enough and it’s inclusion certainly didn’t hurt the overall package.
Transformers Fall of Cyber isn’t the most original game I’ve ever played but if all the pieces it does borrow from other titles are well done then what does it matter? If you’re a Transformers fan then Fall of Cybertron should not be missed, to everyone else it’s a very fun ride while it’s lasts.
Who knew that a little toy line from 1984 would spawn such a massive franchise alongside a game that isn’t terrible. The thought of a High Moon Studios developed Transformers titles for the next generation of systems has me awfully excited but until then enjoy Fall of Cybertron, it’s one of the better games you’ll play all year.