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Transformers: Fall of Cybertron – Xbox 360

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron – Xbox 360

Platform: Xbox 360Fall of Cybertron Box

Developer: High Moon Studios

Publisher: Activision

Release Date (NA): August 21st, 2012

Genre: Third Person Shooter

Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10

Reviewed by Cloud3514

Two years after the release of War for Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron was released to much anticipation. With more gameplay variety, character variety, story depth, better music and better graphics, it is by far the greatest Transformers game ever released.

Shortly after the events of War for Cybertron, the Ark, the final Autobot transport to evacuate the now dying Cybertron, is one week away from its scheduled launch, but the Autobots are in desperate need of more energon to get the Ark off world. Meanwhile, the Decepticons are struggling to gather the remaining Energon on Cybertron to keep the Autobots from escaping.

Fall of Cybertron screen 6

While the story is still nothing to write home about and, functionally, is just to bridge the gap between War for Cybertron and whatever comes next in this continuity, which may or may not be the Transformers Prime cartoon, but it still has more going on than War did. There are far more twists and turns than the predecessor and there are wonderful touches like the Dinobot subplot.

Speaking of Dinobots, the Tyrannosaurus Rex Transformer, Grimlock, makes a playable appearance, as does the Decepticon combiner Bruticus. Grimlock is definitely the more appealing of the two, but both help break up the game play and keep things from getting too monotonous.

Fall of Cybertron screen 7

Grimlock’s primary weapon is his sword and, despite the game being otherwise a shooter, doesn’t carry a gun. He makes the game into a hack and slash of sorts and his section is a lot of fun. It would have been nice to see other playable Dinobots, but Grimlock is a welcome addition to the game. Stomping around in t-rex mode breathing fire on flying Insecticons is satisfying and appropriately brutal.

Bruticus doesn’t come out so lucky. While it is cool to control the massive Decepticon stomping through the Autobot ranks, his sections are slow and his flamethrower, unlike Grimlock’s, isn’t very satisfying and doesn’t feel like it’s doing much to the Autobots. I’m still trying to figure out why a flamethrower is what they decided to give to Bruticus.

Outside of these unique cases, Fall of Cybertron follows the same third-person shooter gameplay of its predecessor, but is far, far more polished. Everything is improved. Ammo isn’t overly scarce, weapon variety is still great, the character variety is still fantastic and you can switch which arm your character shoots from on the fly. This last bit is a wonderful addition and makes shooting out of cover much easier.

Fall of Cybertron screen 1

Transforming is still done with the touch of a button. It doesn’t feel like High Moon went out of their way to give you reason to transform as much as they did for War, but it’s still fun to play around with.

The biggest gameplay change, however, is the complete drop of campaign co-op. Escalation mode is still there, but that is the only cooperative game mode. However, this is actually for the better. While you don’t get to choose your character before every mission, with each mission having a set character to play with, every character has a unique skill that is often tied to how the level is played, such as Cliffjumper’s cloak skill being used to sneak around powerful enemies or Optimus Prime’s ability to call an artillery strike or Metroplex, who is unbelievably awesome, as expected of a skyscraper sized Transformer.

In addition to Escalation, the class-based multiplayer is back and greatly refined. Unfortunately, as I don’t pay for Xbox Live anymore, I was unable to go online and see if the multiplayer is still active. If it is, it is a lot of fun with some good maps and great focus on using your character’s skill, weapons and vehicle form in the perfect balance. I always enjoyed playing a cloaking Scout with a Scatter Blaster and Path Blaster, personally. I can’t take a hit, but I’ll run circles around you after a shotgun ambush.

Fall of Cybertron screen 4

The class based multiplayer has pretty extensive Transformer customization.

However, in the campaign mode, gun turrets are no longer able to be carried. Instead, you can choose two weapons, a primary weapon like the Scatter Blaster, a shotgun, or the Neutron Assault Rifle, a chaingun-like machine gun and a heavy weapon like the Scrapmaker, a large chaingun and the Gear Shredder, which shoots razor sharp saw blades. I actually rather dislike this change. Most of the heavy weapons are cool, but aren’t as versatile as the primary weapons. I would have much preferred being able to load up both a Scatter Blaster and Path Blaster.

In addition to the changes to weapon loadouts, grenades are gone. Instead, there are single use items that are picked up throughout the levels or bought at the Teletraan 1 terminals, which I’ll get to. These items include the CLUTCH, an attack drone and an item that generates a field that generates ammo when you stand in it. These add a good variety to the game and there is a large variety of them.

Fall of Cybertron screen 3

Also new is the inclusion of a proper in-game economy. Scattered throughout the levels is Teletraan 1 terminals. Also scattered through the levels are Energon crystals that also drop from defeated enemies, which are used to buy character perks, single use items and weapon upgrades. Like the single-use items, this adds variety to the game as you can switch weapons at these stations and just interacting with one will refill all of your ammo.

But my favorite improvement over War is the music. War’s music wasn’t terrible, but it was pretty bland. It was a lot of industrial metal with heavy guitars and while that’s still there in Fall, it takes a backseat to the bigger orchestral sweeps and more interesting music. It’s still very fitting to the game, but it gives the game a much more epic feel than War had.

Returning playable characters include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Starscream and Soundwave, but aside from Optimus, they don’t have as much focus as the new playable characters, including the aforementioned Grimlock and Bruticus, as well as Cliffjumper, Jazz, Vortex and Swindle. Although they’re not playable, the Insecticons also make a prominent appearance and are a creepy and awesome addition to the list of enemies.

Peter Cullen and Fred Tatasciore reprise their roles of Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively. I’ve already raved about the two of them in our review of War for Cybertron, so check that one out. Unfortunately, Johnny Yong Bosch does not reprise his role as Bumblebee as High Moon elected to switch to the silent Bumblebee that has plagued the franchise since the first live-action film. However, Gregg Berger, who played Grimlock in the original cartoon, reprises his role.

Fall of Cybertron screen 2

It is very cool to hear the original voice of Grimlock with the new incarnation that, thankfully does not start every sentence with “ME GRIMLOCK!”. While not as fantastic as Cullen or Tatasciore, Berger’s performance is solid. Like with the previous game, the acting in general is solid. At worst, it’s competent, at best, it’s Tatasciore’s Megatron.

While it was less of a surprise hit than War for Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron hits all of War’s notes and then some. It looks better, it sounds better, it plays better. Everything is improved from the original, which only makes it very sad to see High Moon Studios assigned to the last-gen port of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare instead of giving us more fantastic Transformers titles.

Fall of Cybertron screen 5

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is also available on PS3 and PC.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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