Transformers: Fall of Cybertron | Zombiegamer Review

In short

Transformer: Fall of Cybertron is a return to form of Transformers games. High Moon took some steps backward with Dark of the Moon after entering the Transformers series with the well-received War for Cybertron. The studio took the best from their first entry and added much more substance to create the most competent and enjoyable title in the series. This one is much more than a ‘run and gun’ shooter.

Developer: High Moon Studios
Publisher: Activision
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
For fans of: Transformers, high-octane action, third-person shooters
Reviewed on Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3, PC
If we had to give it a numerical score: 8.0/10

What we loved

  • Fast-paced action
  • New additions to gameplay
  • Variation in playing different characters
  • Narration
  • Audio and visual quality
  • Customisation design

Not so much

  • Minor visual flaws
  • I would’ve welcomed more flying levels


Gameplay and Features

Fall of Cybertron features the most in-depth gameplay the series has seen. None of the new additions to the gameplay are ground-breaking in the ‘shooter’ world, but certainly elevate the Transformers’ experience. The game features the solid mechanics that made War for Cybertron a winner, and then adds some interactive mechanics and some new tricks to round-off the gameplay more than before, making this latest Transformers game more in-line with the norm of third person-shooters. High Moon took a fairly standard formula, but one that works, in creating the game – from the grand scoring and voice-acting, to the interactive cinematic sequences. The narrative is an interesting as you would want, and the mechanics are solid. Add a rich customization option, depth and variety with the new gameplay, and you have a worthy shooter.

The shooting controls have been solid from the get go with High Noon’s games – the guns feel meaty depending on their power, and the guns themselves are as interesting as any other game I can think of. The Transformers’ movement is as agile as can be expected with such large bots. The action is furious throughout the game, and the design in movement compliments the action swiftly. You can transform at the click of a thumb-stick, quickly and crisply. The Transformers can also boost in any direction, which is handy to get out of messy battles. You can not only boost by hitting a button, but use it with the jumping ability, further giving you the agility to get in and out of any situation. When in vehicle mode, you have a booster on top of the turbo (type) button. The mechanics here are solid and do not fumble making the fast-paced action immensely enjoyable, and richer than before. One of the unique features that separated this one from other third-person shooters is the switching of hands in which you shoot with. The ability to choose the hand to shoot from, or camera view from left to right, is not new to third-person shooters. However, this must be the first game where this actually serves a purpose other than jus preference. With no auto-cover system, players need to physically use the masses of objects for cover. Being able to switch from the left to the right hand plays an important role in firing from the cover system, so for once I actually found myself switching from left to right and not just staying in my preferred view, over the right shoulder.

Players can upgrade and customise their Transformers by earning a sort of currency which gained by destroying other bots. You can upgrade all the weapons, consumables [like grenades or shields] or the skills of the bots. In the multiplayer front you can customise your bot by choosing their head, shoulders, arms, legs, wheels, wings, vehicles, weapons, colours and more. To further keep the variation on offer interesting, players get to experience the campaign with the various characters, each with their unique skill-set, guns and vehicle which they transform from.

The campaign felt like the longest campaign in the series, albeit I did die quite a bit as the difficulty level seemed more difficult that with the previous titles in the series. The campaign was definitely the most fulfilling in the series thanks to the bombastic, flowing action. The level design was well thought-out and offers good variety, making the campaign flow by instead of ever being tedious.  The levels were designed around the characters and their unique skill sets and so the level-designs optimise the character’s personal experiences.

Fall of Cybertron features both multiplayer modes as well as four-player co-op mode. Teamwork is highlighted in the ‘Escalation Mode’ (Horde-like) co-op mode and players will have different abilities or pros depending on the Transformers they pick. This almost gives the co-op mode a more military-game feel, where soldiers feature different classes with their own pros. In this mode you will need to clear level after level, and thankfully you can upgrade your bots along the way as you can in the campaign.

The multiplayer matches AUTOBOT vs. DECEPTICON in four different modes. Shooter fans will recognise three of them as similar to Team Death Matches, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag; and a fourth, ‘Head Hunter’ mode which is somewhat unique. I have seen similar modes in other games where you need to take something from the opponent and return it to your vase. In ‘Head Hunter’ players need to shoot enemies and then returning the fallen’s orbs to a central location. You still work as a team as the score-tally takes all players returned orbs into account. The rest of the multiplayer features are pretty standard and work well in this department. The code is smooth and I didn’t experience any noting technical issues. I don’t exactly think it will challenge the ‘big guns’ of the online shooter world, but it certainly is an interesting and fun offering. I also would hate to speculate how long it will enjoy a following for.

In the end I would have to say the campaign stood out for me the most. As said, the different characters offer different skill-sets, so the gameplay changes up frequently with the change of characters. The different skill-sets and gameplay that come with the characters, were not only well varied, but well executed. The skills on offer vary from flying Transformers, to one that can grapple, and even some that make use of a cloaking ability. So just when I got used to one skill, another would come along, keeping me entertained and intrigued.

Sound and Visuals

With the previous High Moon Transformers games, even the one I really enjoyed, I felt though Transformers movie fans would be disappointed in the audio and visual production of the games. That is not the case with this one, it looks and sounds like a grand production, worthy of its film roots. The cinematic sequences, the narrative and the voice-acting are of the highest quality, and for once even a non-Transformers fan like me, could relate to the bots.

The dialogue gives the bots an almost human-like element, and what impressed me was the fact that the unadulterated dialogue still managed to entertain an older, more tainted gamer like me. It does so without the cussing and general adult-themed dialogue. It is a Transformers game after all, so it needs to cater to the young too. Usually when this is the case, the dialogue bores me, but High Moon got this right… I even have a favourite Transformer now.

Closing Comments

I was more than pleasantly surprised with this latest entry. Fall of Cybertron delivers so much more substance and more affluent gameplay than any Transformers title before it, taking the series to new heights. Not only is Fall of Cybertron a great entry in the Transformers series, but a great shooter period.

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