Left in ruins and sapped dry of its power generating energon, the synthetic planet of Cybertron has reached its last days. The millennia of destruction and terror caused by the Decepticons has ravaged the planet to its core, forcing the planet to shut down to a desolate barren husk. Knighted as the last Prime, Optimus and the Autobots are left with six days to evacuate the remaining population to the safety of deep space to ensure the continued existence of the Autobots. This is the objective in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, the direct sequel to High Moon’s 2010 title War of Cybertron, that continues to be deathly faithful to the source material, exploring the time before the original series, explaining how the Autobots and Decepticons arrive at the Milky Way and subsequently Earth. There is enough explained to answer how and why they discover the milky way, though not everything is completely concluded and there are more question than answers by time the credits roll.
The oncoming storm
Responding to the panned monotonic metal surroundings of the last game, developer High Moon Studios has pushed the engine to its limits adding a new coat of paint to create an even more fulfilling world than before. Despite being a planet entirely of metal, Cybertron is given a deeper palette than previously depicted. The faint silver metallic corridors are expanded to compliment the locales; There’s a bubbly aqua green patina that coats everything among the ruins of the bermuda triangle-esque “Sea of Rust” aptly reflecting its title, with enough splashes of yellows, shades of greens and orange to keep it from looking bland. Fluorescent purple glowing honeycombs and illuminating lime green eggs scatter the walls of a synthetic “insecticon” hive. The Autobots last havens reflect their handlers, full of bright colors including reds, yellows, and blues while the invading Decepticon carriers and artillery support their signature purple with complimenting greens, violets, and golds.
Optimus Prime onlooking his Ark defending forces
Never the innovator, Fall of Cybertron doesn’t rely too heavily on its source material to avoid good design, though it does lean on some archaic mechanic choices. Removed of its transformer motif, there is enough base game to be any standard human combatant FPS. There are several areas foreshadow their intended execution too transparently, giving you a prescient sense of boredom. Every milestone requiring to be destroyed in three identical segments, and spawning closets unleashing infinite combatants until the player reaches the checkpoint are its biggest issues.
I couldn’t point out the exact culprit, but at just about every major fight or boss, the survivable balanced waves of enemies and refreshing ammo reserves would be tossed away for enemy spawn closets, multiple rush-type shot gunners or escort missions designed as suicide runs. While left alone its a decent challenge, but teamed with heavy animation weight and times it leaving no room for error. In certain sections, the player is left defending themselves from hordes of enemies while awaiting transport or a locked door. During most of these sections, the large sprawl of enemies encountered are combated without allies, leaving few distractions for they’re blasters. This forces the player to dash around the map, left to ignore at least one direction, often bumping into more enemies. Sprinkled among the horde are shotgun wielding heavy skirmishers, rushing ahead of the pack to score the kill. Often bunched with other shot gunners with the same tactic, these enemies are the true menace, spraying you with enough lead to destroy you in a few shots. Accompanied along with the rest of the hordes attacks accept no mistakes. Ending sections of larger bosses have similar encounters, as the bosses usually summon infinitely spawning minion to distract they’re assailants.
The many faces of a warrior
The standard multiplayer suite is added for continued longevity. Fall of Cybertron’s multiplayer isn’t to be ignored, there’s just nothing entirely new or special holding you back from returning to Call of Duty, Halo, or Battlefield. Team death match, capture the flag, and territories variants make their needed appearances along with a new mode titled “Head Hunter”. In this mode, when other players are killed a token is dropped, grabbing these tokens and returning to a designated goal zone scores you points, first to 30 tokens wins. Demanding more concentration than standard team death match, head hunter is a chaotic game type, requiring the player to confirm their kills while surviving long enough to acknowledge the point. Divided into four classes, players are able to customize their own transformers to their liking. From the fast yet delicate infiltrator to the heavy hitting titan, or the utilitarian, jack of all trades destroyer and the exhilarating airborne ability of the scientist, there likely at least one class for your play style. There’s also tons of cosmetic armor attachments peppered throughout the level span to keep you entering matches long enough to make that perfect transformer you envisioned as a child.
Besides the standard modes, High Moon has added the now standard “co-op vs bot” mode titled Escalation. Choosing out of four named transformer, four players team up against increasing waves of enemies. Using money earned by killing the various bots, players can purchase various weapons or items scatter thoughout the maps. There’s also biohazards that can be purchase to grab the upper hand. Scattered across four areas and fifteen waves, there’s enough content to keep you occupied. Left out, It would have been a bonus to access the customizable characters from the competitive multiplayer.
Transformers Fall of Cybertron is a special case when warranting its purchase. Being a big enough fan and enjoyer of almost anything including giant robots, there’s enough to warrant the ‘Buy’ for me though I doubt I’ll be blowing though it again any time soon. It’s hard to defend against anyone not thrilled for the franchise due to the game largely meant as a love letter for fans to reminisce in nostalgia over old Generation 1 designs. Transformers, despite it’s age and history, hasn’t gotten overly complicated or convoluted to throw off new fans. There’s enough explored history, leading to plenty of depth and breadth for anyone looking for an expanded universe, though loosely mortared and never completely holds together. Transformers has always been a series that invites new audiences, and Fall of Cybertron is perfect example of what people enjoy in the franchise. If you willing and interested, Fall of Cybertron has enough in its package to consider renting, though if your not thrilled about the metallic scenery it’s nothing to lose sleep over if you skip it.