I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Transformers, even after Michael Bay came along and raped me with his Transformers movies. So, when in 2010 High Moon Studios and Activision went and put out a Transformers game that had nothing to do with the movie series, I was a very, very happy camper. That game was War for Cybertron, and it was able to capture the magic of the cartoons, and combine it with some genuinely enjoyable game play; and a story that everyone had been waiting to see for years. It was a fleshed-out version of what happened to the the Autobots before they came to earth.
Two years later High Moon has released a direct follow up, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, telling the story of the last few days before the Ark was launched to earth. You start off with a glimpse to the end, as the ark is already in space heading towards a wormhole to take them to earth. It is then that Megatron launches a final full-scale assault! You play as Bumblebee, learning the ropes as you go about trying to escape to the safety of earth. From there the game shifts back a week, taking control of Optimus Prime himself, defending the Ark as last minute preparations are made. Over the course of the game you will be playing as many of your favorite Transformers, from Grimlock to Jazz; along with the aforementioned Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.
The single Player campaign is divided into chapters, in which you will be blasting your way through enemies in your Robot mode, or racing trough various courses in your Vehicle mode. You’ll be playing with a third person/over the shoulder perspective, with the ability to manipulate the camera behind you, but try and go too far and you’ll end up rotating your character as well. Which can cause some hassle when you are looking around for a certain object. Shooting is a fairly basic affair, you have your primary weapon, which you can only carry one of at a time, and your heavy weapons, which you generally only have a dew shots of before you’re out of the scares ammo that’s required. All your weapons can be upgraded at certain checkpoints, with options to reduce recoil, increase reload time, and foot speed when carrying that weapon. Each weapon also has a final upgrade, which can only be purchased after all of the other upgrades for that weapon have been purchased, giving you a significant boost in firepower and making it worth you’re while to heavily invest in one of the weapons rather than be a jack of all trades.
The vehicle portions are glorified obstacle courses, arrows are always showing you which way to be going. There’s debris that are highlighted for you to shoot out of the way, and jumps to be made as your going along. While I was playing through these sections, my finger never left the “boost” button, always zooming along as fast as I could, as the portions are very forgiving, there’s usually an energon cube waiting for you to refresh your health; and the jumps are all very basic in their execution.
Visually the game is appealing, the environments look nice, and there’s always a ton of stuff going on in the background, giving you the sense of a planet-wide crisis which is indeed happening. The characters themselves resemble their Generation One counter parts, with a few tweaks here and there,;but for any fan of the series, you’ll be pleased to know that all your old friends look pretty much just like you remember them. One complaint I do have with the graphics is the over abundance of the “lensflare” effect. Everywhere you turn, there something shining right at you, including all the Transformers themselves, its a minor complaint; but still something I found rather distracting from time to time.
Audio though is a treat, the score is wonderful. It instills a sense of the epic conflict that is going on all around you, but with any Transformers property, its the voices that we most want to be correct, and thankfully, for the most part the game nails it. Peter Cullen returns to voice Optimus, as he has for many many years. Nolan North reprises his role from the previous games as Cliffjumper and others. Industry veterans Steven Blum and Keith Szarabajka are also on deck for helping the game sound top notch. Though the coolest name to be in the credits for me was the inclusion of Gregg Berger as Grimlock, a role he returned to after 25 years!
Over-all Transformers: Fall of Cybertron delivers, it has its faults, as combat can be a little loose, the vehicle portions can become a bit repetitive from time to time, but over all its definitely worth checking out for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the original series.
Note: This game was reviewed using the PS3 version, there maybe discrepancies between versions, also the game does boast a sizable Multiplayer component, however i was unable to play online for review as the servers were not active yet.