Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron ReviewI love Transformers. I always have. Since 1984, these “Robots in Disguise” have been a major part of my life. From the original toys and cartoon series, to the 80 issue Marvel comic series, and everything that came after, I immersed myself into all of it.

And because of this great lasting love, I’ve had to, more often than not, become a Transformers video game apologist.

There have been attempts to make a good game. The 2004 Atari game based off the Transformers: Armada line was not great, but it had the characters and it had transformations, so I argued for it. The game based off the first two Michael Bay Transformers films were terrible, but I could debate that it brought back Frank Welker to voice Megatron, so it was “okay.” That great Transformers game alluded fans and gamers alike until 2010 when developer High Moon Studios brought the franchise back, by taking it back in time.

Transformers: War for Cybertron was a revelation to Transformers fans. Gone were the lackluster stories set in the nonsensical movie universe. Not to mention the dumbfounding level designs. No more was the gameplay just like any other shooter. High Moon nailed it. And now they have rolled out the much-anticipated sequel with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

Fall of Cybertron opens with a seminal chapter in Transformers history: The launching of the Ark and the subsequent attack by the Decepticons on the Nemesis. This attack causes both ships to go through a wormhole and crash land on prehistoric earth, hence beginning the whole Transformers saga.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

As the first chapter ends, we are taken back a few days before to see how we got to this point. Most of the game is played from this point on in history. Unlike the previous game, the story is more linear in it’s telling from both the Autobot and Decepticon perspectives. And this really helps to tell a much more cohesive narrative.

There are levels with Optimus Prime, and Jazz, and Cliffjumper, each with their own unique power. Prime can call down airstrikes. Jazz can swing with a rope attachment, and Cliffjumper has a stealth mode. And then the game shifts, and the player then assumes the roles of Vortex and Swindle, two components that make up the Combaticons and the massive Bruticus. And later, you play as Soundwave and Megatron.

In fact, I will say it now: High Moon really hit a home run with the character selection as each bot feels different to control. The variety of characters was one thing missing from War for Cybertron, and High Moon more than makes up for it here. There are a great many classic characters, including the Insecticons, and longtime fans will appreciate the care given to these beloved bots. The whole game leads up to the introduction of Grimlock, who plays a key role in the game’s climax.

Story and character selection aside, the gameplay is tight. Fall of Cybertron doesn’t feel as much “lather, rinse, repeat” as most shooters. There is enough variety with high-action shooting levels, a stealth level, flying levels, and you do get to play as Bruticus – which is awesome – as a few ways the game keeps from getting stale. And of course, any game where you can transform from bot to vehicle should never be boring. The action never feels forced, and there were a couple of “WOW” moments that made me excited, and in fact, as a huge fan, I smiled all throughout my experience.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

And of course, as expected, the voice acting and music are well done. Peter Cullen returns as Optimus Prime, and longtime voice actor Frank Welker has been replaced by two actors, Fred Tatisciore as Megatron and Issac Singleton as Soundwave. The real surprise here is Troy Baker’s Jazz. Scatman Crothers left huge shoes to fill, and Baker nails it. Jazz is easily my favorite character in this game, due to the stellar writing and acting.

The imagery at work in Fall of Cybertron is very impressive. I got to see a presentation at E3 in L.A. this June, and watching someone play a level and actually playing a level yourself are two completely different experiences. Especially the Metroplex level with Optimus Prime. Seeing Metroplex in the background in a room full of people was neat. Playing with him literally all around me was incredible!

Cybertron, as you can guess by the title, is in bad shape, and the artists at High Moon really pushed the destruction to the maximum limit. Most structures are ruins, and everything is smoking and decimated. Even with the scars, Fall is a beautiful game. Battle damage and lighting techniques create an awesome world to play in.

One thing missing from Fall of Cybertron is the two person co-op mode. But High Moon makes up for it but making the overall game experience so much better. Multiplayer has been overhauled with the popular Escalation Mode returning with a four-person, 15-wave survival challenge. There are also the requisite team deathmatch, conquest, and capture the flag, as well as headhunter, which is like a “confirmed kill” mode.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

High Moon also included a very deep customization feature for multiplayer. The player can create his or her own Transformer and tweak just about everything, including armor, weapons, and even attitude, and there are multiple classes to choose from.

There are of course Achievements and Trophies to unlock on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, respectively. Each level is filled with blueprints and audio logs to uncover, so there is a fair amount of replay value in the single campaign, and of course, multiplayer for as long as Activision keeps the servers up.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the best Transformers game ever created. High Moon Studios took everything that was right and good with War for Cybertron and then made it better. These guys seem to “get it” and with Hasbro unifying the Generation One storyline into one cohesive narrative, both War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron fit into the greater Transformers canon. There are plenty of nods to old-school fans, and even some to fans of the Bay films. Whichever side you are one, Fall of Cybertron should not be missed. The lack of co-op is barely missed, as the game itself is on a much higher level, and the multiplayer mode more than makes up for it.

Here’s to hoping for many more Transformer games from the folks at High Moon Studios.

Shop for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron on Xbox 360 or PS3 for a discounted price at (August 21, 2012 release date).

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

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