High Moon Studios is known for 2008’s Bourne Conspiracy and more recently, the movie tie-in, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Sandwiched between these two was a hidden gem entitled Transformers: War for Cybertron. Events of this game were meant to tell a tale of why these giant robots were beating the crap out of each other in the first place.
Fall of Cybertron continues from these aforementioned events, dropping you right in the middle of the never-ending war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Similar to its third person shooter of a prequel, you’ll see the battle unfold from both sides with perspectives switching as the story demands. Through the all too brief 8-hour campaign you’ll explore toxic ruins, battle in and across colossal space cruisers and sprawling cities. If there’s one thing you can’t fault Fall of Cybertron for is the sheer scale on display. It rivals the thrills of your holiday blockbuster first-person shooters except with better voice acting, substantial narrative, and of course, shiny warring robots.
You’ll transform, blast and rush through 13 chapters experiencing the best from either faction. Be it skulking around vents as Autobot scout Cliffjumper utilising your cloaking skill or decimating Autobot defences as Bruticus— a bestial force of 5 Decepticons merged together , there never is a dull moment. The pacing is, for most of it, pretty spot on.
I say “for most of it” as it slows down when you least expect it to. Instead of upping the ante when you’re in the role of the iconic Optimus Prime or his opposite number, Megatron, they’re bland encounters when compared to the other sections of the game.
This is because their sections are simple shooting scenarios. You’re just killing a bunch of enemies without doing much else. Sure Optimus Prime summons Metroplex — an entire city that transforms into a humongous robot, to launch airstrikes but it just ends up feeling too similar and generic to other shooters. These segments are boring versus the rest of the campaign wherein each Transformer’s special abilities come in use. From crushing Decepticon soldiers as the Autobot Grimlock who can transform into a towering T-Rex of death when adequate rage is built up (instead from transforming with a press of a button) or placing bombs on other robots (after playfully tapping them on the shoulder) as titular Decepticon comic relief, Starscream you proceed with a little more variety and a lot more fun.
Regardless of the intensity, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous visuals. Utilising the all-prevalent Unreal Engine,it looks just as you’d imagine a war-torn planet of metal to be and the character models aren’t too far behind either. Though it ends up being a tad sharper on the PC with lesser jagged edges to worry about. Downside is though, you’d only be able to procure it on PC digitally while the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are available at your local store.
In terms of controls, Fall of Cybertron feels responsive. Clicking the left analogue stick transforms your characters into his vehicle mode and clicking the right lets you get up close and personal with your foes as you let out a brutal melee attack. Transforming from car to hulking bot of death is always cool to do.
Much unlike the last game, movement feels a lot less clunky. Shooting is as you’d expect in a third person shooter with nothing amiss. Don’t expect to find a button to help you hide behind cover though. That’s not something a combat worthy metal warrior (with oodles of health and shields) should resort to anyway. Notably absent is the ability to double jump which was present in the last game.
Also present in the last game and unavailable here is the co-op mode. This means you and your buddies cannot play through the campaign together. A bit of a downer considering that most levels in Fall of Cybertron would lend themselves well to running and gunning with friends. But if that’s your jam, you’ll have to be content in cooperatively pulverising tons of enemies in Survival which is the game’s equivalent to Gears of War’s Hoard mode.
On the competitive front it’s pretty humdrum. You can choose from four classes. These include scientist, destroyer, titan and infiltrator which are basically the engineer, soldier, heavy and spy classes of Team Fortress 2 except with the ability to transform. You can level up, call in heavy airstrikes and buy new gear. Not too different from most multiplayer affairs. Oh and the scientist is a bit overpowered what with being the only class that can fly and fire from above.
Forget the horrible movies and the subsequent sorry excuses of video games made to cash in on each big screen release, Fall of Cybertron is a cut above most things that bear the Transformers license. However at Rs. 2999, Fall of Cybertron is well worth the price of entry if you’re a fan of the series from it’s 80s animated roots rather than someone who thinks Michael Bay is God’s gift to movies. Everyone else, wait for a price drop.