Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PS3) Review
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 08.31.2012
Your favorite Robots in Disguise are back as the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons rages on. The Autobots are desperate to evacuate their dying homeworld, but the Decepticons are trying to annihlate them for good. Jeffrey Harris checks in with his review for the PS3 version of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
Title: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Developer: High Moon Studios
Genre: Action/Third Person Shooter
Players: Single-player; Multiplayer
Rated: T for Teen
High Moon Studios is back with another gear grinding, parts ‘sploding, transforming Cybertronian adventure with Fall of Cybertron, the sequel to the 2010 breakout hit War for Cybertron. During E3 we got the chance to exclusively PREVIEW the Xbox 360 version of the game, and were pretty excited. Now we got the chance to check out and play the full game for PS3. The game is a direct sequel to the War for Cybertron game. In the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons, Cybertron is on its last legs. Much of the planet has been evacuated and the Autobots now led by the last Prime, Optimus, are desperately trying to hold it together to leave on their last remaining ship, the Ark. However, Megatron and the Decepticons have other plans to vanquish the remaining Autobots and seek out a new planet for energy. And so the story of how the Transformers brought their war from Cybertron to Earth begins.
Graphics and level design for the game are fantastic. The game takes you all across the ravaged Cybertron which are all highly detailed and textured environments including the ruins of Iacon, the Sea of Rust, Kaon, and you even get to play with the historic Decepticon and Autobo vessels, the Nemesis and the Ark. I always hated the Transformer designs and character models for the Michael Bay movies and while Transformers: Prime are an improvement, I think the aesthetic that High Moon Studios went for was pretty much perfect. Like much of the game, the models and designs are extremely evocative of G1 and the characters actually look like Transformers again and not twisted up pieces of scrap medal garbage that looks like they were vomited out of something. I think what keeps the graphics from getting a higher score is at times the models didn’t look as smooth, polished, and detailed as others. I noticed Soundwave’s model at times looked downright rough. I didn’t experience too much in the way of slowdown or pixilation loss in the PS3 version but there were some graphical and stage glitches here and there. And the game has frozen and crashed during single-player without warning. This could be due to a defective copy of the game possibly.
Fall of Cybertron does a fantastic job of mixing story with the gameplay. The first game featured basically separate single-player campaigns for the Autobots and Decepticons. Instead for Fall of Cybertron, High Moon Studios opts for a single linear single-player campaign where you shift from playing different sides of the Autobot and Decepticon conflict. Again the game does a great job of mixing and weaving storyline and cinematic events into the actual gameplay in some ways similar to Uncharted 3 rather than lengthy, drawn out cut scenes. The campaign mode is very good but I found it to be a bit on the short side. I was very excited when I saw designs from the game for Wheeljack unfortunately you never get to play as him in the campaign. There is no longer online co-op gameplay either nor is there character select for any of the stages. All the characters you play as in each stage are arbitrary. It causes a bit of a conflicting feeling because while the game does feature levels uniquely designed and befitting for certain characters, it would’ve been nice to have the option to play through them as someone else. Each Autobot or Decepticon has their own unique strengths and abilities, but I really would’ve loved the chance to play more than one stage as say Jazz. The only chance you get to play as Bumblee is the rather short prologue stage which is the easiest one in the game.
Controls and mechanics for this third person shooter are well done. Being able to switch from robot mode to alternate mode is very fun and it’s extremely quick and easy to get the hang of. I think the problem though is that parts of the combat suffers in that your characters have absolutely no cover system and you are forced to dodge and weave constantly during fights or just transform in order to fly or roll away. The argument is that the developers want you to stay mobile, but that is sort of defeated by the fact that many of your standard enemies usually stay in the same place. I think the lack of a cover system often times causes a lot of cheap deaths which sucked the fun out of the fighting and gameplay at times. If Cliffjumper can do crouch walks and stealth kills, being able to duck and cover shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Besides that, aim and shooting mechanics work very well. The Teletraan 1 system littered throughout the various stages allows you to upgrade and switch your weapons as well as buy special items and upgrades. Each character except Grimlock and Bruticus whose weapons and attacks are fixed, can obtain a standard weapon and a heavy weapon as well as their regular melee attack. My personal favorite weapon combo are the riot cannon and the thermo nuclear rocket launcher (basically a heat seeking target locating rocket launcher). Get those fully upgraded and blasting robots to smithereens will never be more fun. Another area the game is lacking is in boss fights. I think besides having a couple extra stages for the campaign mode, it could’ve also used a couple more signature boss fights. There are a couple near the end but it would’ve been nice to have some more spread out throughout the campaign. Still getting to play as the combined form of the Combaticons in Bruticus and also the amazing Grimlock stages does make up for it plus the stage where you get to team-up with Metroplex.
The game features some high quality writing and voice acting much like the first game. Peter Cullen once again returns as the voice of Optimus Prime. And while I like Fred Tatasciore’s take on Megatron, I think it was a little too growly and shouty at times. Welker’s version is still the superior one. And even though it’s not Frank Welker as the voice, Soundwave (Isaac Singleton, Jr.) is made to sound almost exactly like Soundwave from the original series something both Michael Bay and Transformers: Prime failed to emulate. Gregg Berger is also back as Grimlock. This is another new take on Grimlock and the Dinobots. Berger plays a more coherent version of Grimlock this time. It’s good but unfortunately we never get to hear, “Me Grimlock!” One other thing the should’ve kept from the first game was the Jack Angel style G1 narration done by Steven Blum. The ending to the game is a bit anticlimactic and underwhelming compared to the rest of the game. While you could in many ways loosely connect the first game to G1, this game takes the storyline into totally separate, uncharted territory. So now this is no longer G1 continuity, it is its own rebooted continuity independent of any Transformers lore that’s come before. Even connecting it with the TV series Transformers: Prime is pretty hard to do even though I think that’s the intent of Hasbro. However, with the way the game leaves things with many loose ends and unanswered, it does not seem possible.
Besides the single-player campaign mode, online Multiplayer and Escalation modes are also included to give the game some nice added play. Multiplayer gives you four different Transformer classes to choose from: Infiltrator, Destroyer, Titan, and Scientist. Each class has their own special ability. Infiltrator can use an invisibility cloak for fixed time and Scientist has a healing beam. You can customize each class into three different characters only at any time. I found Multiplayer to be a lot of fun though I would’ve liked some more customizability in terms of colors and also just being able to pick exactly which character you wanted to be if you didn’t want to basically make your own from scratch. What I especially like about Escalation mode is that it requires a great deal of strategy, thought, and teamwork to surpass. Each player in Escalation mode gets to play a different type of Transformer class so you will want to strategize and have your scientist heal up your wounded with your tank class to go after the bigger threats. It’s a very exceptional take on a videogame survival mode.
-Great graphics and design take on Cybertron, the Transformers, and the Transformers universe that’s looks like a nice, updated version of G1.
-Getting to play as Brutic and Grimlock is an awesome gameplay experience.
-Great campaign mode that mixes story and gameplay very well with strong writing and voice acting.
-Single-player campaign is a bit on the short side and has dropped alternate character select and co-op play.
-Combat could use a better way to cover from enemy fire.
-Some graphical texture issues and game crashing.
Overall, Fall of Cybertron is still one of the better Transformer games the franchise has ever seen. If you are a Transformer fan or if you just like awesome battling robots than this is definitely one to check out. High Moon Studios does a great job of being both fans of the classic franchise and characters while also delivering a great game where you can play as robots that transform into vehicles. This is a game worthy of the Transformers brand much like the Arkham Asylum games for Batman.
Great graphics and design updates for the Transformers universe. Levels are nicely designed. Some character models don't look as sharp and nice at times as others and there are some system crashes during the load times.
Great campaign mode that mixes story with gameplay well and has a strong focus there instead of lengthy cut scenes. Good controls and ease in transforming into alt-mode, but the cover system during combat which leads to many cheap deaths is at times extr
Fantastic voiceover work featuring some of the original voice cast from the G1 animated series.
Multiplayer and Escalation modes add lots of fun and added play to the game.
The game does a great job of updating Transformers lore and delivering a great game worthy of the brand after years of disappointing and mediocre, cheap game and movie adaptations.