ReviewXbox 360

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”High Moon Studios” publishers=”Activision” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”August 21, 2012″]

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the sequel to 2010’s Transformers: War for Cybertron and is created by the same developer, High Moon Studios. Back in 2010, War for Cybertron was a surprise hit, and it instantly became the best Transformers game for most to date. Whether you were a fan of the 80’s television show, the toys, or just a fan of video games, you couldn’t go wrong in purchasing War for Cybertron. Fall of Cybertron does a bit to expand on its predecessor but ultimately feels like a continuation of the last game, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

For those unaware, Cybertron is the mechanical world from which the Transformers are from. Cybertron is now dying, and the battle is now around who will survive its last days. The Decepticons hold control of the world and the Autobots are trying to escape on the Ark, a mighty starship formed by Primus out of the four ancient Cybertronian ships sent to create the universal space bridge network. The Autobots are fighting for freedom (as Optimus Prime continually reminds you throughout the campaign) and the Decepticons are fighting for complete domination of Cybertron.

The campaigns story is a must for the die-hard fans of the Transformers series. For the rest of you, the gameplay is fun and there’s an underlying epic nature to the fall of an entire world. The problem is, the game puts you in enclosed areas for a lot of it and the epicness found at the beginning of the game is squandered during the middle of it. Otherwise, the controls are solid and the special abilities change up the gameplay enough to keep the campaign interesting. You switch between both Autobots and Decepticons in the campaign so you get to see the inner-workings of both factions and their thoughts on what’s happening.  This being said, the story is simple and doesn’t mean much to the experience of the player, it’s more a staging area for the combat and gameplay.

Both combat and gameplay are very fun in Fall of Cybertron. As the player, you run around shooting the other faction, pulling levers, and using special attacks to finish the campaign. The special attacks differ between each chapter in the campaign as you switch between different Autobots and Decepticons with different abilities as the campaign progresses. The controls are adequate and most of the special abilities are well-done. The controls themselves are a bit heavy and require a little time to get used to. This is due to the slow aiming time of your transformer versus the quick movement of your enemy. But again, a little time with the controls and you’re able to adjust to this heaviness. The special abilities are all fun to utilize, with the most surprising out of them being the grapple ability. It’s a lot of fun transforming into your vehicle mode, driving through an area and then switching back to a transformer in the middle of a chasm to fling yourself up to a ridge, saving yourself in the nick of time.

This being said, the best of Fall of Cybertron is found in the multiplayer. There’s both a cooperative multiplayer mode called Escalation as well as a competitive multiplayer that players of War for Cybertron will instantly recognize. In Escalation, you and up to three others stand off against 15 waves of enemies. As you kill more enemies, you receive more money which can purchase new guns and upgrades scattered across the level. This is similar to any other “horde” mode, first made famous by Gears of War 2, and has been in most shooters sense. If you’ve played any “horde” gametype in another game you’ve essentially played this one, just add transformers robots with guns.

There are four competitive modes in multiplayer, all of which have been seen in previous shooters. There’s Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Capture the Flag, and Head Hunter. Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are self-explanatory, either rack up kills faster than the other team, or capture more flags than the other team. Conquest is a mode where you fight for control of specific areas, with control of those areas netting your team points for the duration of it being held. Head Hunter is a mode where you must collect the heads of those you kill and deposit them at a certain point with whichever team collecting the most heads being declared as winner. Though there aren’t many modes, this short list offers a wide variety and allows for a greater chance at finding a match when fewer players are playing.

In the competitive multiplayer, you choose from one of four classes, each getting separate experience which places it in the Battlefield 3 wheelhouse rather than Call of Duty. The classes all feel separate with the exception of the heaviness explained above in the controls. There’s no real “light” vehicle or character to play as that zips around the field like in most shooters. This is fine, however, because everyone is on the same playing field. There is still a “heavier” character and a medic to heal others and each is a blast to play even if one suits your abilities more than another. Each has a special move, such as healing for the medic, which can be utilized after a cooldown. There aren’t any kill streak abilities but this helps in the balance of the game. Why should the team with a better player get an even bigger advantage?

The maps are large in scale which allows for massive amounts of both aerial and ground warfare. There are pick-ups scattered around the levels such as mines and grenades to help thwart off enemies.  It’s very satisfying being able to fly around a giant map, find an enemy, switch to transformer mode, and start hunting them down. This is the major graphical beauty of the game. Switching from vehicle to transformer uses a lot of motion, there’s a lot of gears switching and changing but luckily it’s a very fluid motion only taking a second or two. Everything else in the game, from the environments to the explosions to the guns to the characters themselves (except for the changing) are all bland and generic. Only when there are moving mechanics does this game look good.

The sound is also dull. The shooting sounds like any other shooting and the explosions are of very low quality. The saving grace for the sound is the voice acting. Thankfully Activision and High Moon Studios put a lot of their eggs into voice acting as we have Peter Cullen voicing Optimus Prime, Fred Tatasciore voicing Megatron, as well as a heap of others from the original TV series, past video games, and past Transformers movies. Heck, even Gregg Berger returned to reprise the role of Grimlock from the original series for the first time in twenty-five years!

Score: 7/10

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron has a lot going for it and had some pretty large shoes to fill. With better graphics and better sounds, it would have been a great game. However, with these shortcomings the levels become bland continuations of themselves, even when the environments change. Luckily the multiplayer is fast-paced, fun and makes up for most of these gripes. The true gem of this game rests in the voice acting, with originals such as Peter Cullen and Fred Tatasciore rounding the star-studded cast.

Josh Ricker

Josh lives just outside Boston. He fell in love with video games when his parents bought him Mario Bros for Nintendo and he's been gaming ever since. In his online dating profiles, long walks on the beach are never mentioned. Instead, he lists the desolate rubble of the Capitol Wasteland as his ideal vacation spot.

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