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Review: Transformers impress with Fall of Cybertron

September 4, 2012 • Reviews

While video games based directly on films are notoriously poor, it seems that games inspired by films (but have nothing to do with them) fare much better. A great example of that is the latest Transformers title – Fall of Cybertron.

A screenshot from Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (image: Activision)

While the movie franchise spawned a video game for each of the films, there has also been a number of video games that have loosely followed the plot, but were not based extensively on the film. Fall of Cybertron fits neatly into that category.

What makes this one special is that it is completely different to its predecessor War for Cybertron – and is much better.

War for Cybertron was developed by High Moon Studios in 2010 and lacked a bit of polish and finesse, but the studio regained their mojo to develop Fall of Cybertron – a much better effort that leaves the player wanting more and weaves a great story.

Fall of Cybertron takes off exactly after the event of War for Cybertron, where the Autobots have to fight for their city and stop the Decepticons from destroying everything in their path. While the title features multiplayer, the single player is genuinely where all the action happens.

The title comprises of 13 stages, and players will get to play with a different Transformer in each stage. What is also exciting is that each Transformer has their own special ability, and the game relies rather heavily on the application of this ability.

Starting off as the small Autobot Bumblebee, the first level also services as a bit of a tutorial, in the sense that player will be shown how the action controls, camera and movement functions, and the level is not too demanding. But as players progress, the difficulty and high-level action will be ramped up a bit to provide for a formidable challenge.

In terms of graphics, the title makes use of the Havok and Unreal engine, so gamers familiar with their gaming engines will know exactly what type of graphics to expect – think Gears of War, Mass Effect and even the previous film’s game Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

It is simple yet very effective with few details added to make it believable. Which is not as bad as it sounds, as the action is so fast-paced that gamers will hardly notice the small details that have been added in just to round it off.

What sets this one apart from the previous titles (which did not fair too well with gaming critics), is that the controls and the camera angles have been improved, and the game’s mechanics have been given a shot in the arm. There is a marked improvement over War for Cybertron, and it will be instantly visible – through gameplay and just how the game runs in general.

As mentioned, players will get a chance to play with 13 different Transformers, and the games is almost equally split between playing as an Autobot or a Decepticon. The down side is that player cannot choose if they want to play as an Autobot or a Decepticon, as that is predetermined by the plot. After playing as both sides during the game, there is a bit of a twist at the end where players will have to make a decision between good or bad.

The title also features a number of multiplayer modes, and the usual suspects have all been included. In the normal multiplayer modes, players will be able to battle each other in Death Match, Team Death Match and a Conquest mode where players need to secure points to win.

Gamers will be able to craft their own Transformer for use in multiplayer, and will be able to customise a Scientist, Infiltrator, Destroyer and Titan with interchangeable heads, torsos, legs and arms, as well as give them a new paint job.

While multiplayer characters are equipped with default weapons, more firepower can be unlocked by levelling up and destroying as many enemies as possible. Not all the weapons from the single player campaign is available in multiplayer, but it is enough to make an impact.

In a separate multiplayer mode, players will be able to battle waves of enemies in Escalation mode, which is very similar to Gears of War’s Horde mode. Choosing a map and up to four players, the goal is fight through 15 levels of increasingly difficult enemies in order to win Escalation.

The mode is separate from the other multiplayer modes, as players won’t need to upgrade their weaponry through levelling up, as destroying an enemy will provide for cash. This can be used throughout the level to buy better power-ups and weapons.

Transformers – Fall of Cybertron is a marked improvement on the previous title and players will feel the need to push on through the title, no matter how difficult it becomes. There are some small niggles that might cause some mild frustration, but it’s not enough to wrong the title.

Any Transformers fan should get a copy of Fall of Cybertron, as it is probably the best Transformers game released to date. It  is not incredibly long, but will provide for a highly-entertaining play, and coupled with the multiplayer, many hours of Decepticon hunting awaits.

Our score: 8.7/10

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

 

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