Does Transformers: Fall of Cybertron build on the success of its underrated predecessor or does it just offer more of the same?
Demoed on the Xbox 360 by Henry Kelly
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Demo Vitals
- Bumblebee singleplayer level
- Vortex singleplayer level
- Online multiplayer Team deathmatch and Conquest game modes.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is one of my most anticipated games of 2012. Its predecessor came out of nowhere and had so much charm I contemplated taking the disc to bed with me.
The script had gears of war delusions that when played out by talking robots, made my inner-child nod with approval. There were rough patches such as repetitive environments and bone-head AI but it was easy to look past these rough edges and appreciate the game for what it was: a simple run-and-gun shooter with wise cracking robots.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron picks up where the last game left off. In terms of story the Autobots and Decepticons are still feuding like Bloods and Crips. As a prequel to the popular television series the game portrays the civil war that leads to the destruction of Cybertron and the Autobots finding a new home on plant Earth.
From the opening cinematic you can see that High Moon Studios are still capable of brilliant story-telling flare. Effects, dialogue and camera placement set the tone to serious but the designs of the robots and their wise-cracking banter keeps everything tongue-in-cheek.
The first level sees you controlling Bumblebee in a rather linear mission as he tries to re-establish a computer system. It has the obligatory COD scene, whereupon a fellow soldier helps you out of your shell shock, or system malfunction in this case.
The graphics look a little more detailed however there is some noticeable pop-in. In motion the combat is fluid and the robots are still satisfying to control even if the game didn’t let me transform immediately like I wanted to. The weapons feel a little light but their variety keeps things interesting.
You can now rate weapons on a five-star scale, which follows the recent trend of cramming social features where they probably don’t belong.
In gameplay terms Transformers: Fall of Cybertron doesn’t manage to shake a feeling of familiarity, it’s both good and bad. The gunplay is still very much run-and-gun. There is no cover system, which means the game maintains its frantic fun gameplay. Success doesn’t go hand-in-hand with time spent cowering behind a rock which is a pleasant change from its peers.
The bad thing is that the game is no longer an under the radar surprise. This naturally leads to more critical analysis. For starters, I thought the sequel would feel more polished. The frame-rate is variable and with the bombastic theatrics, it often takes a hit in the demo.
I also found the moments where control was taken from you to get a better angle of the big explosion a bit tiring and clichéd. The linear focus of the level design keeps things on a scripted path that is nice to watch but not always as exciting to play. Both levels contain basic objectives that boil down to turning off/on switches.
The other campaign involves controlling Vortex, who can transform into a helicopter. This level opens things up literally by giving you the option to attack from the air or use the tunnels on foot. I found this mission more interesting and closer to the direction I wanted the sequel to take. Hopefully this level is more indicative of the final product.
The multiplayer mode also returns. Creating your own robot is still the same wish fulfilling pleasure it was only with more options and detail. The two available modes are simple shooter fair but are good choices for the demo.
Almost getting destroyed by an opponent only to transform into a car and accelerate away doesn’t get old quickly. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, like it predecessor, is simply fun to play with others. It’s easy to get to grips with and always keeps the action contained. I’m not sure it will ever become a big player because of its chaotic nature, but it’s a delightful change of pace coming from COD/Battlefield.
Overall, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is shaping up nicely. I think it will build on the strength of its predecessor but hopefully has more unique features yet to be shown.