It is sometimes said, “It’s always darkest, before the dawn.” If that truly is the case, then High Moon Studios has done a wonderful job portraying just how dark it can get with their latest release Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. The sequel to the successful War of Cybertron continues the original story of the battle set between the Autobots and Decepticons. I’m happy to say that High Moon Studios has successfully made a game that, for the most part, surpasses the greatness of the first game in the series.
The Fall of Cybertron story continues immediately after the previous game War of Cybertron. After realizing that their best hope for a future lies somewhere beyond the stars, Autobots leader Optimus Prime has reluctantly ordered a full scale evacuation of their dying home planet Cybertron. But not all is easy said and done. Along with the challenge of securing enough energy to launch the Ark ship, and searching for key missing members of his team, his rival Megatron, leader of the alternate enemy faction of robots called the Decepticons, has deduced that if their race is to survive, then Optimus and his Autobots are not be included. Thus begins the story of the last days of their home planet.
The campaign here is told once again from both the Autobots and Decepticons sides. Unlike the previous game where the story was told in order from one faction first then another, the stories here are told intertwining, meaning that one level might start with the Autobots and the next the Decepticons. Throughout the game you will see moments of heroism, anger, redemption and betrayal (although not from whom you may think) from sometimes both sides’ perspectives which all leads to an ending which will leave most wondering what will happen next.
Aside from the campaign story, you also have several multiplayer modes to enjoy. The Escalation mode returns as its survival/horde mode as you and other players can team up online to take on waves of enemies to try to survive 15 rounds or as long as you can. Every character has their own individual abilities to help during rounds. On the competitive side you have the standard Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Capture the Flag and Head Hunter mode in which you collect nodes and return them to your base for points. One of the best things is that you are also given the ability to create and customize your own character to suit yourself.
Fall of Cybertron gameplay is from a third-person perspective just the same as its predecessor. The shooting aspect here is solid and with the right weapons can produce significant damage to your enemies. During the campaign you are able to collect credits which you will use to upgrade yourself, weapons, armor and special abilities to help you during your battles. And of course certain weapons work better for certain situations. Along with these, each robot has a special ability which you will need to complete each level you play.
The graphics of the game are also quite impressive at times. You will witness giant robots in huge environments destroying almost everything in their path. Background fights will feature small battles with everyone at war almost destroying each other. And most characters move without any problem what-so-ever.
The audio and voice acting here should be no surprise how good it is. Peter Cullen and Fred Tatasciore once again shine as Optimus Prime and Megatron. You can almost hear the true bitterness between the characters when they speak to each other as true rivals should. Gregg Berger, also from the original Transformers cartoon, voices Grimlock once again over twenty years ago since the last time which is another nice throw back to the cartoon series. Other noticeable voices come from Steve Blum, Troy Baker and even Nolan North. Still every voice actor in the game is able to give what should be cold-steeled robots the feelings and emotions to evoke into their characters of what they are going through on their last days of their home planet and sometimes the horrors of war. One of the best things about High Moon’s Transformers series of games is that I feel these games are almost a love letter to those who are fans of the original cartoons. So things such as using “The Touch” by Stan Bush are nice Easter eggs to those who are fans of the classic series.
So with all the praise here, some might wonder what exactly the down falls of Fall of Cybertron are. Well the biggest change is that the campaign co-op feature from War of Cybertron is gone. This does affect some replay value about the game as levels cannot be experienced with friends now. This might have been done for narrative purposes, but nothing was more fun than teaming up with friends to take on enemies.
And while this game are mostly huge battles with lots of action happening everywhere, Cliffjumper’s section of game did have a slower tempo. After having such large scale battles, you are all of the sudden made to sneak around. While not necessarily bad and an interesting aspect for Transformers, I felt that it does break up the pacing of the game somewhat.
Slowdown was also apparent at times during the game, particularly when large explosions where happening around me. And unfortunately I did experience some freezing issues during loading parts of the game and while in the middle of gameplay to the point where a hard reset was the only option.
While the game is missing the co-op of the first game and a few technical problems aside, this is a great achievement for High Moon Studios. The story I felt surpassed the original and together with gameplay, different modes and more come to form a great game worthy of the name Transformers.
I give Transformers: Fall of Cybertron 8/10
(This review can also be found at ThreeTallNerds.com)