The cybernetic war rages on between the forces of good and evil in this new outing from the Transformers universe. With bigger and more destructive robots on display it all comes down to this,
Autobot vs Decepticon,
One will stand and one will fall
The story is set around Optimus Prime and the Autobots trying to leave their home planet of Cybertron and escape their rivals the Decepticons. To do this they need to power up and fuel their escape craft, The Ark. Megatron and the Decepticons want to stop this at all costs. They want the precious Energon fuel for plans of their own. Their devious plan involves opening an experimental ‘Space Bridge’ to a new world in which to exploit its rich deposits.
The game switches between these two plans and gives you the opportunity to play as both Autobot and Decepticon. This gives you the opportunity to play as some of your favourite characters. This version of the transformers is based before any involvement with Earth and as such the transformers don’t look quite like how you remember them from the original cartoon series. That said they do look similar in a way that you would easily recognise them. The only exception to this in my personal opinion is Megatron, I feel that the designers took more of a design queue from the Michael Bay films than the cartoon series but he is still recognisable. The vehicle modes do look a lot different though. It would be very odd if a sentient life on another planet millions of years before man created vehicles had a vehicle mode in the form of a MAC truck or a VW Beetle! The designers have done well to create as close a similarity as they could without going too far. The transformation sequence between modes looks great, its smooth, slick, and exactly what you want to see. If you are a fan like me you will find yourself going to one side and changing form a few times with each new character just to see the transformation. While in robot mode the character is constantly moving, parts on their back move back and forth, pistons repositioning, the weapons rotate and move as if everything about the characters is constantly reforming and ready for action. This is a nice aesthetic touch that makes the characters feel more developed.
The game play is fine but I found that it was very linier. This isn’t normally a problem but in Fall of Cybertron you really feel like you are being hand held all the way round the game. You can’t deviate off the specific path and it leads you around, even to the point in some places of having glowing arrows on the ground. All this felt a little too much for me and became frustrating at times as I would have liked to of explored the areas more. With such a rich character base and thematic diversity I felt that they could have expanded the levels more and let you explore Cybertron more than just walking past during missions. The game felt very very similar to Warhammer 40K Space Marine. This is partly down to the game physics engine as well as similar sound clips and probably appeals to a similar fan genre. The issue with this is that Space Marine was a very average game and Fall of Cybertron slips into this same category at times, relying on set pieces and interest in characters at times to bring it out of the depths of averageness.
Almost every level will see you moving along a set path, tackling fairly easy targets along the way to a specific point where more often than not you will be asked to pull a lever. Once pulled, move along a specific path to another lever and then after a few more soft targets you will come to the ‘boss’ level. These are generally more fun and more challenging. I personally feel that maybe the designers had these set piece boss battles in mind from the beginning and wrapped parts of the other game play around to make these battles happen.
One issue I have with this game is that it has a serious problem with where it chooses to load parts of the game play. On numerous occasions I have played through a section and got to a storyline developing conversation and at that exact moment the game freezes and a loading sign pops up for a couple of seconds and then the game restarts missing the conversation you were supposed to hear. This is very annoying as it happens quite often. For me this is something that the developers need to sort out as it takes you out of the gaming experience. I have also noticed on a few occasions during game play that details and textures pop in a second later than they should which is a bit of a pain but not game breaking.
Cybertron itself looks great; it has exactly the feel you got from watching the cartoon series or reading the comic books. The tech based surroundings look large and impressive and help give off a sense of scale to the surroundings. This sense of scale is then expanded when you see some of the set characters such as the city sized Autobot, Metroplex. This character is a huge fan favourite and he looks amazing, one of the true highlights when playing is looking back and seeing Metroplex stomping through the vistas and looking as powerful and menacing as you always imagined. There are other characters in the game that also give off this sense of amazement but I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of seeing them for the first time so I will let you find them for yourself.
The end portion of the game really ramps up. The creators made a huge effort to make sure that you felt the desperation felt on both sides. Without giving too much away let’s just say that the fight comes down to the last few moments. It’s an excellent series of sections that feel fast paced and will have fans very happy with what character choices and events the designers chose to go with.
There is a weapon upgrading system in the game via the Cybertron computer mainframe called Teletraan 1. Spread around the levels is a series of computer terminals where you can activate and upgrade your weapons and buy special tech equipment. The weapons look diverse with different styles but upgrading them didn’t really feel like it made much of a difference. There is a difference between standard weaponry and heavy weaponry but choosing specific weapons in each category is purely up to the player’s preference as while playing me never really found a need to have one weapon over another.
This is a game that you will want to finish if for no other reason than the ending credits. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. The designers have had some fun with the ending credits and you can tell that they are fans of the Transformers characters. Personal highlights for me are what they did with Bumblebee and Jazz.
The multiplayer aspect of this game is a separate affair that sees’s teams of bots pitted against each other in a variety of different scenarios including the usual team death match and domination style games. You can choose one of 4 types of bot. These are the infiltrator types such as Bumblebee which are short, fast, lightweight and more designed for sneak attacks and fast escapes. There are the destroyer types such as Optimus Prime. These are more of your standard all round bots that carry an average power weapon, average speed and can take an average amount of damage. A good choice to start off with to see what your preferred gaming style is. There is the Titan style bot. This is the big daddy bashing bot. Big and powerful, can take large amounts of damage and carries powerful weaponry but is understandably slow. The last choice is the Scientist style bot. These are you medic style bots, similar to the destroyer bots in that they seem to be average all rounders, maybe slightly less powerful but they have the ability to fly and fly fast which makes them great lightning strike fighters.
On top of these four choices you can also customise each bot to your liking. There is a range of parts to choose from which unlocks when in game cash (shards) are spent on them. This can be fun to play about with, creating your own Autobot or Decepticon. I would have liked to of seen a bit more diversity especially in the colour palettes but it’s a good collection of parts and will help keep the online community looking different for some time to come. As you play through the online and level each character style up you unlock the ability to create variants on each design so that you can have specific designs for both Autobot and Decepticon. This is handy when it comes to game play as they have created a system for the online where you unfortunately don’t get to choose which side you play as. This is a shame but I can understand that this was necessary for match balancing issues. It would be an unfair match to find all the top level players as Autobots and you as a new player being a very underpowered Decepticon. The designers had thought about this and to be fair have come up with the only really fair way of sorting this issue out. The game play does switch the sides often enough so that you will play as your preferred side often enough to make even the most hardnosed transformer fan happy.
Another aspect to the multiplayer is the increasingly common hoard mode; in this case it’s called Escalation. This is where a team of up to four team mates can do battle with wave after wave of enemy bots. This can be great fun with friends as you call out to each other enemy targets and take on the forces of evil (or good depending on your preferred side). There is a range of maps for this mode as well as the ability to upgrade your weapons during the game so there will be plenty of life in this mode that will see players coming back for a long time to come.
All in all this is an interesting game for me to review. On the one side I am a huge transformers fan and have been since my childhood so I feel I could easily be biased. On the other hand as someone who is reviewing this game, I want to be fair and unbiased about it. The style of the game is great, the sounds and the sights are just what you want to see, any fan will love to see their favourite characters do battle in this game and there are many characters that show up on both sides so no one will be disappointed. The ending levels and sequences are fantastic and well worth playing for. The game play itself for me fell a bit short of what I was expecting. As someone who played Warhammer 40K Space Marine, the similarities are obvious. In parts it did feel as though the characters could have been interchangeable. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I played Space Marine and enjoyed it a lot. It’s a game I’ve gone back to for a second play through and had just as much fun the second time round. I think that Fall of Cybertron will be the same kind of game. It’s one that I am sure that I will go back through fairly soon to enjoy the story and the characters. The game play however is average. There is nothing wrong with it, it’s solid and robust but it’s something we have seen before somewhere else. It’s a very strong, average game with great parts.
Buy It/Don’t Buy It = Buy It
Will you play it 12 months later? = Multiplayer Mode With Friends