OXCGN’s Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review
More than meets the eye?
by Daniel Geikowski
©2012 Daniel Geikowski
If the source material isn’t treated with respect, long-time fans will no doubt flame developers whilst wearing their rose-tinted glasses.
The Final Battle
High Moon Studios and Activision‘s latest entry into the series, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, is a 3rd person action title that lets players witness the battle during the final hours of the Autobots and Decepticon‘s home planet.
Following on directly from War for Cybertron, the Autobots and the Decepticons are locked in a fierce battle to salvage the remaining Energon, the planet’s energy source, in order to escape the planet and find a new home.
Even though fans of the series know the final destination, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron does an entertaining job of detailing events leading up to the game’s final moments.
Instead of playing through separate Autobot and Decepticon campaigns, the single campaign intertwines both factions together. Where one mission may have players working to secure a transport of Energon as an Autobot, the next mission sees them trying to attack said transport as a Decepticon.
Till all are One
The decision to not allow players to choose their character is a wise one. It allows players to experience the various styles of each Transformer instead of having the player use Optimus Prime or Bumblebee throughout the entire campaign.
Missions are therefore catered around the special abilities of the specific Transformer.
For example, missions involving Optimus Prime have you calling in aerial strikes, Starscream uses his cloaking ability to sneak through areas undetected, Jazz swings around with his grappling hook and Bruticus just plain smashes stuff.
Each Transformer has an alternate form to transform into, ranging from tanks, cars, jets and dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. These forms are pretty nifty, but mainly serve to help the player traverse large areas, although turning into a T-Rex and smashing up the place is a definite highlight.
This method works well, especially during the final level, as players quickly change between Autobot to Decepticon in a hectic firefight in space.
Although I had no problem with it, I can imagine that being forced to constantly change character might become confusing for some players.
Just as you’ve started to get used to Megatron‘s Hover Ability, your thrown into another Transformer with a new skill set. It also doesn’t allow for any levelling up of abilities.
However, to make up for this, Fall of Cybertron features RPG levelling up elements in the form of weapons. Players have access to various terminals throughout the campaign, which allow them to buy and upgrade weapons available for use with all characters.
Weapons range from primary weapons, that consist of Assault Rifles, Shotguns and Sniper Rifles. There are also heavy weapons that deal increased damage, but are limited in ammo. Players can also purchase pick-ups in the form of shields, sentry drones and heat-seeking mines, among others.
Visually, Fall of Cybertron is a mixed bag. The diverse environments are enjoyable to look at. Ranging from metallic cities, dusty Temple ruins, toxic-waste filled factories and outposts located in the sky, each environment is something new to look at.
However, the Unreal Engine is starting to show its age. Some textures are bland to look at, and the vast majority of levels feature the colour palette of Gears of War, being grey, brown, and more grey.
Playing on the Xbox 360, I didn’t notice any major graphical bugs, apart from some jagged shadows and getting stuck on a couple of walls. I also had a weird bug that gave me the Mission Failed screen DURING a cutscene, but luckily it wasn’t game-breaking.
In terms of audio, both the Autobots and Decepticons feature great voice acting. Optimus Prime sounds as righteous and determined as he should, Megatron sounds dominant, and Starscream still sounds like an ass.
The soundtrack fits well with the levels, making the dire situation of Cybertron all the more pertinent. Weapons sound meaty and satisfying to use, along with the screams of the enemies you use them on.
The Eternal Battle
Fitting with what seems to be an ominous trend in gaming lately, the campaign is rather short for an action game. I completed the game on Normal Difficulty in around 5-6 hours, but thankfully there is replayability to be had.
For one, there is the ability to select between two characters for the final mission, although to be honest this isn’t anything substantial. Let’s say it involves an easy fight with a QTE that consists of pressing one button over and over. It’s actually a letdown compared to the rest of the campaign.
Upon completing the game, players can go back to get achievements, collect secret audio logs, as well as fully upgrade all weapons. If that doesn’t sound enticing, there is Multiplayer and Escalation Mode.
Players can choose between various styles of Transformers, each with their own special abilities. As players earn experience, they can unlock new weapons and outfits for their specific class. Levels are also varied, designed to make players play different classes, instead of favouring one in particular.
Escalation is the Transformer Survival Mode.
Any fan of Gears of War‘s Horde mode or Call of Duty‘s Zombies will be at home here. It is quite challenging, although that might be because I was playing with people who refused to co-operate.
Players must survive waves of enemies using their choice of Transformer. Players earn currency by defeating enemies, which allow them to purchase health, ammo, weapons, as well as access to new parts of the stage. Players can also access areas that increase their chances of victory.
Escalation is made for co-op gameplay. Ideally, it would be great for four mates to get together for a good time, however if you don’t have any mates, you might be lucky to find some strangers out there willing to play properly. All in all, a great addition to get into after the campaign.
The game tells a great story that new and old Transformers fans would enjoy. Players are able to play with their favourite Autobots and Decepticons, along with some new favourites.
While the campaign is enjoyable to play, more value and longevity is provided with the addition of Multiplayer and Escalation Modes.
For fans of Transformers looking for their fix since the latest movie, or any action fan in general, I easily recommend you take out you wallet, and transform your money into Fall of Cybertron.