Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Stay Smooth, Jazz

Fall of Cybertron transforms our thoughts on the franchise.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: October 7, 2012
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Confession time. Way back in the day when Transformers were first busting onto the scene I was the kid who ended up with Go-Bots instead. This trend continued later in life when I figured a TurboGrafx-16 was the way to go over a Genesis and I thought an Atari Jaguar and Panasonic 3DO were wise purchases. Since that time, I admit to not thinking too much about Transformers at all. I mean, I saw the first Michael Bay film, but that pretty much kept me satisfied as far as giant transforming robots that weren’t Robotech.

Knowing that, you can understand that I wasn’t all that excited to learn that I’d be reviewing Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, the sequel to 2010’s moderately successful War for Cybertron. For the first half of the game, I got what I expected; A plodding Gears of War clone with some tacked on Transforming sequences. Yeah, I had almost given up on the game, lamenting the fact that Soundwave wasn’t turning into a giant boom box. Then came the biggest surprise of all… the game got really good near the end! Patience was, for once, rewarded.

Things haven’t changed a great deal since Sam reviewed the previous game, so if you’ve been here before you’ll know what to expect. Pretty standard third-person shooter fare, with a robust single player campaign and fairly meaty competitive multiplayer. This time around High Moon Studios took the clever step of integrating both the Autobot and Decepticon campaigns into one flowing adventure that shifts back and forth to tell both sides of the story. We’re also treated to a new origin story for the beloved Dinobots, who play a small but critical role in the narrative. Longtime fans of Transformers will appreciate the original (as in waaaaay back in the 80’s) voices for both Optimus Prime and Grimlock making an appearance here, and the oodles upon oodles of Transformer in-jokes.

Allow me to bloviate for a minute… I’m a little confused about Transformers. What exactly do they do when they aren’t at war? Do they have regular jobs where they transform in tractor-trailers and haul cargo across Cybertron’s interstates? Why do they need to transform back into human-like robots? What is their impetus for copying human architecture? I think I really need a benign Sims-like game that show what life was like in Cybertron before this constant war. From what I could glean from loading screens that said stuff like “Starscream kill Autobots for pleasure, not duty”, life is pretty bleak there. I’m left wondering who exactly was listening to Jazz enough to give Jazz his name. Maybe I’d be a bit more sympathetic to their plight if I knew what they were losing in this war. Just saying…

Throughout the game you’ll stay constantly engaged in battle. There is very little downtime in the 15 or so chapters that make up the game, and the majority of your time is spent battling the same generic Decepticons or Autobots over and over again. Each chapter puts you in charge of a different bot, and there will be one or two points that require you to transform and use whatever particular power you have to advance the level, all while some snappy dialogue that is tailored to that bot is exchanged. Generally you move from one killbox to the next, clearing out enemies until Optimus Prime or Megatron or SOMEONE tells you to move forward and continue the slaughter.
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