Platform: Xbox, PS3, PC
Release Date: 24/08/12
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Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review
Once every so often a game will come along that will surprise you. You know it’ll be ‘OK’ but never expected it to be anywhere near as good as it actually was. Yes, I know we should never judge a game by it’s box art but that feeling of prepared disappointment you get when you’re about to play a licensed game is a hard one to shake. Gamers have been let down over decades with these grand promises of experiencing a movie, TV show, toys (or in this case all three) in video game form. Thankfully, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron breaks that mold and shows us just how good such a game can be.
If you are a fan of the G1 Transformers you will undoubtedly recognise the start of Fall of Cybertron. The intro takes place at the very start of that first TV show, with the Autobots leaving Cybertron and heading out into space in search of a new home. Megatron has other ideas and pursues the Autobots into the black, where an epic battle ensues as we take control of Bumblebee for the staple tutorial mission. First surprise is that the tutorial doesn’t actually feel like one; the developers have done a brilliant job of integrating all the moves and games mechanics so you don’t for a second feel like you are being taught ‘A’ is jump.
After this first mission we are then flashed back to three days prior and the rest of the game takes place leading up to that moment at the end of the first mission. Although the story is one of Fall of Cybertron’s high points I’m going to restrain myself from talking about it. Its not full of plot twists, it’s just a good Transformers-esque story and fits into the lore perfectly. An older audience will appreciate the game’s fan service, while younger players get to play through a really good chunk of Transformers backstory and probably learn a few things along the way.
Graphically, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a treat; Cybertron feels huge and while you never get to explore every nook and cranny the vistas stretch for miles and battles break out all over the place in the distance. The level of detail in the environment is also echoed closer to the foreground too – pay close attention to which ever playable character you are currently controlling and you’ll notice all manner of gears and cogs whirring away across their bodies. It’s a very busy, full of life game and it really adds to that Transformers feel.
As the campaign mode progresses and after that initial burst of excitement playing as Bumblebee you take control of Optimus Prime. It was in this section where the game started to sag a little for me; it’s enjoyable enough and after the initial ‘squeee’ has worn off you do start to feel as though you’re just plodding along. Then, just at that moment everything is switched up and we’re now taking on the rolls of Cliffjumper and Jazz in a more stealth-based section, as the two search for a missing Grimlock. It goes from strength to strength as you start playing as the Decepticons and Dinobots, which is actually when I felt Fall of Cybertron really started shining. The pace picked up at this point and didn’t slow until the credits rolled with the last mission (we’ve now caught back up with the start of the game) being one of those rarest of things in video games – a good last level which see’s you switching sides as the battle rages on mid-level.
The difficulty is where it starts to fall down though, just slightly. There came a point where even playing on normal the game would just produce a really out of character difficulty spike, and not even during a boss fight. There reached a point where it became too much of a grind and I’m not ashamed to say it, I did the unthinkable and turned the difficulty down to easy. I actually started to enjoy the game more at this point; it was fun and that feeling of grinding was lost.
Upgrading your character and weapons wisely does help to reduce some of that stress and I suspect me spending all of my cash on the big powerful weapons that held little ammo may have been my downfall. Couple all the various upgrade paths and perks with the huge amount of collectables and secrets and Fall of Cybertron will actually have you coming back once in a while chasing all of those extras.
Multiplayer didn’t quite live up to my expectations, mainly due to the fact that the single player raised them quite a bit but thats not to say it isn’t good. It doesn’t feel tacked on and you’ll find a plethora of customisable options to unlock as you earn XP and spend your hard earned credits. Add to that my personal favourite mode – Escalation (the horde mode) and you wont be short of things to do after perfecting the story.
Fall of Cybertron captures the Transformers vibe perfectly and fan or not you’ll enjoy this game through to its very end.
Terrific fan service
The final mission is brilliant
Has Grimlock in it
Great fun and will put a smile on your face
Difficulty spikes in odd places
Some of the Grimlock sections seem to have you grinding for ages
Slow paced early on