Review by Optimus Magnus
"Cybertron May Have Fallen, But The War For It Is Bigger and Better"
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a sequel to Transformers: War for Cybertron. No, wait, it's a spiritual successor. No, sequel. Spiritual sequel? What I mean by all that is, High Moon Studios, the people behind the Cybertron games, don't really consider Fall of Cybertron a direct sequel to War for Cybertron. They consider it more of a natural or spiritual successor, since a lot has changed since your fight for Cybertron a few years ago. But for the purpose of this review, and to make things easier to understand, I'll be referring to Fall of Cybertron as a sequel to War for Cybertron.
Introduction or "Oh man, That War For Cybertron Game Was Super Awesome And Everybody Loved It, We Totally Need To Have Those High Moon Guys Make Another One."
So says someone at Hasbro...I think. Anyway, like I said earlier, Fall of Cybertron is a sequel to the popular 2010 shooter based off of Hasbro's toy-line of giant, transforming robots that fight each other while transforming. Like War for Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron was developed by High Moon Studios and made with extra batches of love and inner child imagination. While this game can appeal to shooter fans, it was made for Transformers fans by Transformers fans. And oh man, it certainly shows.
Game-play or "Autobots, Transform And Roll Out"
Much of Fall of Cybertron plays like War for Cybertron did, but there are key differences. It's still a third-person shooter, you can still transform at will and you're still a giant, transforming robot beating up other giant, transforming robots.
Like I said, there are a lot of changes in Fall of Cybertron. The biggest of which is the exclusion of campaign co-op of any kind. The reason for this is the new, character-driven campaign. You can no longer select one of three Autobots/Decepticons to play as for each level. The character is chosen for you.
One of the more interesting changes is the ability to "switch gun arms". I say "gun arms" because the gun you are currently using now IS your arm. These are giant, transforming robots, so being able to turn an arm into a gun isn't a big deal for them. It can be for you though. By default, the camera is focused over the right shoulder of your character, since the gun is the right arm. But switch to the left arm and the camera is now focused over the left shoulder. This allows you to use cover better and see around corners.
Another major change is the inclusion of character-specific abilities. You're only playing as one character now per level, so High Moon gave each character an awesome ability based on what's going on in the level. Some characters do share abilities but their levels are different enough that the abilities seem different enough.
Those are the biggest changes to the overall game-play. It's still basically "go here, shoot these guys, don't get shot and then keep moving". There are no longer puzzles like in War for Cybertron though. But that's no big loss in any sense. It's actually a good thing since the pacing never slows down while you're stuck on a puzzle. You can dash and sprint as well, which are new to this game, but since you can transform into a vehicle, sprinting doesn't really have much of a place in the campaign. Dashing does though since it's a quick and easy way to avoid getting shot. Avoiding bullets is a major part of surviving, so having an easier way to do that is always welcome.
Even though the core game-play is the same, the changes are different enough to make this play differently. The loss of campaign co-op is upsetting but the new character-driven campaign is amazing and there's a part where you play as A ROBOTIC, FIRE-BREATHING, T-REX.
Seriously, it's amazing. 10/10
Story or "Megatron Must Be Stopped, No Matter The Cost"
This game takes place almost immediately after the events of War for Cybertron. The Ark has been built and the Autobots are making their final preparations for take-off. But the Decepticons aren't going to have any of that and they keep attacking the Ark in an attempt to keep the Autobots on Cybertron.
The campaign is also now one continuous story. It's not broken up into two parts, Autobots and Decepticons, it's all one story and there's very little downtime between each level. It plays out over the week, or "6 Earth Days" before the launching of the Ark and it details what the Autobots and Decepticons went through before heading to the stars, away from a war-torn and dying planet.
Each level has a different character you play as, Autobot or Decepticon, and the levels are set up well enough that even though some of them can be pretty short, you don't feel like you missed out on anything major to the story since it all flows so well together. There are also references aplenty and audio logs to collect that give you a clearer look at the war and how things have been going.
With an incredibly well written story and levels that combine that story with great game-play, and plenty of references for old fans to enjoy, the story of a dying planet and ageless war between giant, transforming robots has never been better. 10/10
Graphics/Sound/Music or "Soundwave Superior. Everything Else Inferior."
Once again the game uses the Unreal Engine, which, again, isn't a bad thing. The graphics are better than War for Cybertron, though how much depends on the individual. The animations are definitely better, though there are instances of animation clipping. And even though the graphics are better, there are texture problems from time to time. High Moon did a great job of giving Cybertron a life of it's own. Each level looks different but no matter how different they look, they all look like they belong on Cybertron. And there's a bit of cel-shading done in most cut-scenes (not in-game scenes, actual cut-scenes) and it makes it look slightly like a comic book, which works pretty well.
For sound, it's not bad, but not great. Each weapon sounds, and feels, different so that's nice. The transforming sound is once again familiar but unique. The voices are pretty good too. Each voice-actor did a great job of capturing the personality of their character.
The music is hit or miss. None of what I heard was bad, and a few tracks are pretty great, but if you're in a firefight and shooting at enemies while getting shot at, you may not hear much of whatever music is playing. Except for the end credits song. Once again they got Stan Bush to do it. Only this time, he's doing "The Touch". A newer version of it, but it's still "The Touch".
Overall, the graphics/sound/music have nothing ground-breaking going for them, but they also aren't so bad that they ruin the experience. They all work well enough for what they are supposed to be doing. 9/10
Play-Time/Replayability/Multiplayer/Escalation or "Autobots Wage Their Battle To Destroy The Evil Forces Of The Decepticons"
A basic run through the campaign should take about 7 hours or so, which is pretty standard for shooters nowadays. The replayability comes from finding the collectibles, beating the game on a harder difficulty and just enjoying it again, as well as all the multiplayer improvements.
For multiplayer, a lot has changed. There are still 4 classes and they still determine what vehicle you transform into, but you no longer have vehicle abilities, much to the dismay of some, and joy of others. No more barrel rolling as jets. But all of the game-play changes in the campaign carry over to multiplayer. You can switch gun arms to get a better shot at your opponent. You can transform at will and drive away from or to a fight. You can dash and sprint.
The best change to the multiplayer in Fall of Cybertron is the new character customization options. You don't pick a character and just change the colors. Now you can change the head, shoulders, arms, legs and chest of each class. Changing the chest determines what your vehicle mode will look like. You can even change the wheels for the two classes that have them, Infiltrator and Destroyer; the cannon for the Titan class; and the wings for the Scientist class. You can change the colors too but you can't mix and match primary/secondary any more. You have to choose from preset color combinations, like white/red or green/yellow. And each faction gets their own set of color combinations. The only downside is, not all parts for each class are unlocked right away. You have to buy them. But you earn credits for leveling up and you can buy single pieces if you want, or the whole set which allows you to use each piece individually.
You can also change your load-out. You get two weapons out of four total for each class, and one of two abilities. But each weapon and ability has three upgrades to choose from. These range from shortening reload time to increasing rate of fire or accuracy and one weapon can even get an upgrade that makes your shots light enemies on fire. Unfortunately, most of these are locked based on what level you are with that class.
For Escalation, this game's Horde/Firefight mode, things have changed as well. There are only 4 maps, two for Autobots and two for Decepticons. Each map also has four, predetermined characters you can play as. And only one person can play as one character, so if you want to play as Optimus Prime and someone else is, you need to pick a different character. But that's not a bad thing at all, since now each character has a specific ability and this puts a nice emphasis on team work.
Even though there's no co-op to help make the campaign fresh each time you play, the campaign is solid enough that playing it multiple times is enjoyable. Multiplayer is vastly improved and even though there are only 4 Escalation maps, being a different character changes how you play. 10/10
Final Recommendation or "Fall Of Cybertron Lights Your Darkest Hour"
The overall gameplay works well enough for shooter fans to enjoy it and the story combined with the references, scenery and overall game-play is great if you're a fan of Transformers. I said it for War for Cybertron and I'm going to say it for Fall of Cybertron. If you are any kind of Transformers fan, GET THIS GAME. If you know someone that likes Transformers, GET THEM THIS GAME. It's a great ride of giant robots beating up other giant robots.
Final Score - 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/29/12
Game Release: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (US, 08/21/12)
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