High Moon Studios seem to be the go-to guys when Activision want to make a Transformers game. They’ve made enough of them and even though sometimes they’ve had to go down the movie license route due to the Michael Bay movies, they sometimes get to make more original games that pay fan service to adults who’ve been playing with them since the G1 days.
Fall of Cybertron tells the story of the Cybertronian’s dying planet and the bid for both the Autobots and the Decepticons to survive and escape during their civil war and it’s actually a very solid shooter. You’ll get to play as a number of different Autobots in the single player campaign. Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Cliffjumper, Jazz and even Grimlock are all controllable at one point or another and you can use each of their abilities to help you during your mission. For example, Cliffjumper’s scenes are more about stealth and turning invisible whilst Jazz can use his grappling hook to tear down walls and pull himself onto high ledges.
The action’s all third-person but for once the game doesn’t use a cover mechanic. You can switch your weapon between hands to keep your body in cover during firing and of course transform into a vehicle when it suits. It’s a shame then that for a game called Transformers, this feels like the weakest part of the game. You usually just feel the need to change form just to make your way through a more open part of the map or to eek out your last bit of energy in the middle of a fire fight. Controls also feel very floaty so it actually feels more like you’re hovering than driving about which conversely is actually a good thing when you’re flying about as Vortex. In fact, everything seems to be just that little bit more fun when you’re playing as one of the Decepticons.
Shooting is tight though, there are a variety of different weapons to pick up and upgrade and extra items you can buy such as black holes that collect and destroy all the enemies around you and shields you can place down strategically to protect you.
Presentation is also spectacular. The game certainly begins with a bang and despite the fact that it’s just robots fighting in a fictional world, what you’re doing actually feels quite worthy. Peter Cullen also reprises his role as Optimus Prime which of course adds extra gravitas to the proceedings.
Extra modes include a survival mode where you must work with friends online to defeat waves of enemies and a multiplayer mode with four gameplay types – the usual mix of Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Capture the Flag and another mode called Headhunter. It’s functional but certainly not something people will be playing online in a year’s time.
If you’re a Transformers fan I highly recommend Fall of Cybertron. For people like me it’s a solid fictional shooter but for those who’ve been with the franchise since the start, it certainly provides a tonne of fan service so it gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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