Transformers games of recent times have felt like one enormous packet of Rowntrees Fruit Randoms – a mixed bag. While Activison’s “War for Cybertron” more than satisfied fans of the Transformers franchise, it blasted casual gamers with regular and frustrating bouts of bugs, texture popping and general control issues. With the plot advancing further and emotion growing ever-deeper, can “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron” successfully tick the boxes for fans of action and the pesky robots alike?
Whilst you could consider this something of a safe bet, the game continues directly from where War of Cybertron left off. The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons is still raging on as they fight to take control of their home, the eponymous wasteland of a planet, Cybertron (and we thought Earth was bad!) However this time the playing field isn’t as it once was: a suppressive, dystopian vibe wafts through the air as the planet becomes more and more unstable; completely void of any sustainable life. Led by the iconic Optimus Prime, the Autobots attempt to flee the planet whilst avoiding the wicked Decepticons – a gang of keen for their foes to submit to new rule. This truly is the story most fans will have been waiting for and (due to some fast pacing and clever narrative viewpoint changes) will be one that most casual gamers will appreciate the most.
The game was developed by the reliable hands of High Moon Studios and plays like a love-child of the Gears of War (probably due to its use of the Unreal Engine) and Halo (the combat and enemy types feel bizarrely similar) series. Combat is swift and varied (if a little loose whilst aiming) and will surely whet the appetite of all gamers with a passion for rapid-fire, explosive destruction. Transformers from the Generation 1 period (I’m talking about the well-known guys, here) are all present here and offer gamers their specific set of skills. For example you can merrily crush your foes as a Dinobot, plough through enemies as Optimus Prime or indeed sting like Bumblebee – who funnily enough has a very dramatic introduction to the whole affair! The game has a very simple interface and dubiously executed gameplay mechanics such as melee, ammunition and cover are all factors here that will never seem to trouble you throughout your time with the game. In fact, cover here is used to great effect – with a simple press of a button switching your firing arm from left to right, you can essentially play it safe behind a robot-high-wall blasting at your opponents without being badly damaged. Well executed mechanics such as these definitely help to separate the game from being an all-out, blind mushroom cloud of an experience.
For all the games achievements, however, the visuals to me don’t stand out as being anything spectacular – especially not in this generation. They convey the point well enough and definitely capture the aesthetics of the Transformers universe – but too many times would I mistake enemies for allies and suffer eye-strain due to some repetitive, linear tunnels. There’s so much going on (and often not in a good way) that visuals eventually become a blur and unless you’re impeccable at dissecting all-things Transformers in a heart beat, you may struggle occasionally.
Similarly the dialogue is particularly hammy and uninspired – which is a shame because the voice acting is energetic, authentic and helps place the gamer into unseen territories in the Transformers universe. Online play has also seen a significant approach, whereby some popular modes from War for Cybertron have been dropped in favour of some less exhilarating game-types – but on the whole the multiplayer aspects make for a nice, holistic gaming experience and definitely more value for money in your package.
On the whole, it’s hard to put Transformers: Fall of Cybertron up there with the greats of the action/adventure genre. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good game that successfully serves both hardcore fans and casual gamers alike but some repetitive gameplay and confusing battles make for some hard times – rookie errors. Effort has duly been piped into the game like oil from a slick miners’ rig (note the “machine”-like metaphor there that probably doesn’t work) and for that I am glad to reccomend the game, but for those of you looking for a little more polish, a lot more to think about and a more unique longevity – perhaps Transformers: Fall of Cybertron isn’t for you.
Have you played the game? Do you own it? Let us know your thoughts below!