Yes, I had to rewrite this review as I was way too excited the first time round. This time Its more objective and a little less "THIS IS AWESOME". Enjoy :D
This Week Transformers: Fall of Cybertron rolls out to prove you don't have to be a AAA title to turn heads. Fans of the series had high hopes of Dinobot action, more clashing and screeching metal than the inside of a power tool. I'm looking out the window at my car on the drive and almost willing it to transform as I sip my tea. High Moon and Activision look to follow up the successful War for Cybertron, but what did we think?
That G1 clip gave me goosebumps, I make no pretences I am and have been a Transformer fan right bay when to the time I was just a twinkle in my fathers eye. Fans myself included have been mostly disappointed to some degrees as to the quality of games the Transformers franchise has seen in the last decade. Most gamers know to stay away from hastily made movie tie ins as they are GENERALLY of poor quality. The Transformer movie tie ins unfortunately fell into this category. With a brand as big as Transformers time and effort needs to be taken over every detail as like many hardcore fan bases they don't want to see their precious memories and standers shattered. Do it right for the love of Prime. War of Cybertron did just this and did a lot to restore the faith of the fans in the games side of the Transformer's name. Fall of Cybertron had a lot to live up to as the fans waited teased by the excellent screen shots and trailers for multiplayer and the launch.
My first impressions of the game were good, I have enjoyed playing thorugh the demo for the last few weeks and the game itself followed suit. The sound quality was good, visuals and the cinematic parts were striking and the the feel and flow of the game was very narrative driven. There were a few glitchy parts where new sounds tracks started and ended during the cinematic parts but fortunately these were few and far between. The basic control sysem was much like the last installment (WoC). When playing any action game you look at the controls, environmental interaction and the physical challenge of using your well nurtured skills in hand-eye coordination and reaction time to fulfill your goals. Although you don't have the duck and cover of Gears of War or Mass Effect as an Autobot sporting a rather fetching and unfriendly blaster there isn't much time or need for cover. As a result High Moon have introduced the ability to switch between left and right hand weapon holding so you can better utilise cover which becomes very handy in multi player when you are chasing each other round pillars. They have also removed double jump, swapped out for a jump dash combo to help avoid close quarters or nasty little abilities of some of the bigger bots you encounter (or simply navigating Cybertorns more scenic areas). Dive rolling is also added so you can quickly roll out of melee range or out of rocket paths. This made combat feel a lot more free flowing and dynamic.
Character and level design was excellent, FoC managed to break up some of the mediocrity you could feel in some of War's levels. Not only was there a lot more variety in environmental deisgn but the fact the narrative so so heavily involved in every aspect of level design proved really refreshing. This time round you cannot pick with bulky bot you wish to take control of, the stage of the game dictated who you will play. Although possibly controversial and perhaps limiting it has proven to be a successful formulae. Each level in War for Cybertron you could pick any character and hammer your way through the game until every dastardly Decepticon in Autobot city is nothing more than scrap. That was limiting. Now each level is carefully constructed about an individual robots abilities be it stealth or acrobatics you will have to use individual abilities to progress through the game. These character abilities also translate into the multiplayer and survival mode aspects of the game which I will touch on a little later.
The level design was good, there are a lot more open areas to freely transform into and out of combat that perhaps hindered the first installment. The game is a lot more colourful and characterful, it quickly became obvious that they wanted to make Cybertron look and feel like a planet that was actually alive and moving all the time. This came across well in level design and cinematic clips throughout. The Transformer fan is also highly catered for when taking into consideration the choices made in visual and graphical design. Like War for Cybertron the game is highly inspired by the all anime and comic book styles which gives the game a retro spin. They are highly polished and the transformations look great. I am glad Activision stepped back and let High Moon do their thing at the pace they wanted which has allowed the quality to shine through.
Some things have also been left out. Co-op was a big winning factor in the last game, the choice to omit it this time round could be damaging for some people as this was a popular feature that kept consumers holding onto War for Cybertron. It was a shame this wasn't included in the game although the new narrative driven single player experience did go a long way to make up for it. Still I missed it.
Multiplayer is awesome fun. The multiplayer demo doubled up as a beta which has produced a well balanced day 1 release. The multiplayer has a basic ranking system that will provide unlocks. Yes you unlock weapon upgrades as per norm but what is really exciting is personalising your own multiplayer character. One criticism I fed back from the demo was the lack of colour options when designing your character. High Moon seem to have listened to those of us wanting a more retro feel to our robots and provided a wider pallet with which to brighten up the battlefield.
Every action game needed a survival mode of some description in todays market to help with longevity, introducing Exodus mode which pits you against 15 waves of robots that become increasingly more intent on turning you into nothing more than spare parts. Its good fun with a bunch of mates. The multiplayer aspects of the game really are fun and exciting. I feel this is something missing form a lot of multiplayer experiences that take themselves way too seriously.
I saved the most important thing to last. Thank you High Moon for bringing back the Dinobots. We all love Dinobots, they are simply dimwitted and simply awesome. Not only do you get to play Grimlock for a large chunk of the campaign, but there are also parts to customise your multiplayer characters. Grimlock's sword and board antics rack up his rage meter. This rage is needed for him to transform into his powerful T-Rex form, also when you do get to transform you are gifted with a rather cool short 2 second cinematic. A nice game play touch there and stops you just stomping round in Dino form blitzing levels as his robot form is fun too. To add to this future DLC has been confirmed on the Transformers Game facebook page. Take a look as some of the cool stuff they will be adding to our Jurrassic experience.
What I perhaps should criticise this game for is the little change they have made to War for Cybertorn. There have been small improvements all round but nothing ground breaking. That being said the game was good....so why change lots of stuff for the sake of change. Hardcore fans don't like change so don't change too much. Simple. The game does suffer from not having co-op which may turn people away after a while. The game however is fun, its exciting and lets you play as a fire breathing Dinobot, the visuals and gameplay are great it has a great story and all game modes are enjoyable. If you like me are a Transformer fan then you will simply fall in love with it. So with that In mind I score the game highly. If your not a huge fan It may lack the longevity I would get out of it but none the less you should enjoy the break from straight shooting action games.
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