Developed by High Moon Studios and issued by Activision, the third-person shooter Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a follow-up to 2010’s Transformers: War for Cybertron. In that earlier game, the Autobots and Decepticons were battling each other on planet Cybertron over the control of a powerful substance called Dark Energon. I must point out, I never played War for Cybertron, yet I did not have any difficulty jumping right in with the new one. Gameplay was easy to get the knack of. Some of the finer points of the plot may have been lost on me (I’ve never been into the Transformers in any form), but the excellent graphics and logical progression of levels in campaign mode easily made up for this.
The single-player campaign mode moves through 13 missions, each tailored for the specific strengths of the character you are playing as. Sometimes a given mission means playing as an Autobot, while other missions will flip it around and you play as a Decepticon. I found that at their worst, the missions amounted to blind shoot-outs that didn’t involve a whole lot of strategy. Still fun, but a little monotonous at times. The degree of interest provided by any mission is really relative to the special skill set of the character being controlled. Cliffjumper, for example, has a cloaking device, while Jazz’s grappling tool allows him to get to places most Transformers can’t. This ever-changing selection of abilities adds considerably to the excitement of Fall. Switching back and forth between the characters’ bot form and vehicle form is fun too, especially when needing to cover a lot of ground quickly.
While working through the campaign mode, the player collects Energon shards which build up and carry over from mission to mission, regardless of which character is being played. Little kiosks are set up in various places throughout the missions. This is where you’ll spend your collected shards on weapons (Assault T.E.C.H) and defense upgrades (Utility T.E.C.H.). The customization should not be overlooked or underutilized, as I found out to my detriment pretty quickly. Don’t hoard your shards. Get your gear when you can, it pays off the further you get into the campaign. Fall is very linear, to the point where early on there were a couple spots where it seemed like I barely did anything but hide behind pillars and let the AI do its thing. The kiosks allow for a greater amount of interactivity.
While I realize the earlier War for Cybertron had the option for co-op play in campaign mode, unfortunately this is not the case for Fall. Since I happen to highly value this form of gameplay, and had heard nothing other than good things regarding War’s co-op, I was particularly disappointed to learn of its absence. Online multiplayer options should help ease this omission, especially with the very cool “create your own Transformer” option. There’s team deathmatch, headhunter mode, capture and hold, and conquest, all of which involve playing in one of four classes (scientist, infiltrator, destroyer, titan). Escalation Mode (also found in War) allows for four players to fend off ever more deadly waves of enemy attackers using pre-established Transformer characters (rather than creating your own in this case). This survival mode is a lot of a fun, be prepared to lose track of time while getting more and more immersed.
Overall, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a fun and engrossing third-person shooter that boasts excellent graphics. Some of the dialogue is corny (or even outright unnecessary), but that is hardly anything to get riled up about. The layout of the campaign is thoughtful and the lack of choice in which character you play isn’t a negative at all. The variety of specialized character skills (it’s a blast playing as Grimlock, the Tyrannosaurus Rex Transformer that blasts enemies with fire breath) keep the game fresh. While I wish I could’ve played the campaign in co-op mode, there’s plenty here to keep busy anyone busy for quite a spell.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360 and PC.