Jan 16, 2013

[Games] Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PS3)

I had long delayed getting a copy of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron since (1) new games are more expensive and (2) the gameplay wasn't exactly my favorite. I've never been one for shooters in general and no matter how you dress is up, that's what this game is.

However I love the Transformers too much not to even consider getting the game. Plus I was pretty curious about the story and the fact that the game has received such high reviews within the gaming circuit. that says a lot for what is essentially yet another effort by Hasbro to make money off of this property.

But despite my challenges with the game genre, I still had a lot of fun and I actually finished the game on single player mode. I've yet to really explore the multiplayer options (especially given I have so limited time to play), so I'll probably go back to this review once I've done that in order to round things out.

For now, let's focus on the solo missions...

Synopsis: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is actually the sequel to Transformers: War for Cybertron. I played the PlayStation 3 version of the game, but of course it is also available for other platforms including PC, and the Xbox 360. The game was developed by High Moon Studios and was published by Activision.

The game picks up pretty much immediately after the events in War for Cybertron as the Autobots struggle to get the Ark ready for launch as the Decepticons continue to attack. It appears that Grimlock has gone missing and the Decepticons have taken advantage of his absence by pressing the attack where Grimlock should have been. Jazz and Cliffjumper are then sent to look for him.

The Decepticons on the other hand continue to dispatch forces to destroy the Autobots while Optimus Prime struggles to hold the line. Elsewhere, Decepticon scientist Shockwave appears to have been conducting secret experiments in the Sea of Rust, but his ultimate purpose is not yet clear. But he does seem to represent trouble for Grimlock and the Dinobots - a fact I admit I picked up more from the comic book meant as a prequel to the game.

The single-player campaign of the game puts you in command of various characters in the game on both sides - Autobot and Decepticon. And each character happens to have unique abilities like how Cliffjumper has a personal cloaking device which he can use to perform stealth missions and Swindle has a grapple that he can use to get to higher platforms ala Spider-Man. Thus each chapter of the game feels rather distinct every time to the campaign mandates that you change characters.

And yes, you will eventually get to control the gestalt robot Bruticus, who has been heavily featured in the promotional art and has been turned into a toy. And thankfully his color scheme in the game is slightly better than the toy version, although not by much.

As a third-person shooter, the game wasn't too bad a gaming experience, I'll admit. You have two levels of health - your actual health and a shield that regenerates whenever you get to take a long enough break from enemy fire. Thus you are rewarded as a player when you think more strategically instead of just charging into the middle of battle with all weapons blazing. Plus it's nicely smooth to transition between robot and vehicle modes as you vary up your play style and dodge enemy attacks and the like. And all of that does contribute to a pretty fun game.

And I really enjoyed how the larger characters felt very different to use versus your typical ones. So when you do get to use Bruticus, you do feel like you're a massive robot towering over all the other Autobots. Grimlock is truly a powerful robot to command and he can really kick butt in his Dinobot mode. And Soundwave may not seem all that strong on his own but is made more awesome with the aid of his minions.

I loved the fact that a lot of original G1 voice talents like Peter Cullen were involved in the voices of the game. And the visuals themselves feature a lot of references to the G1 era (especially the  1986 movie) such as Starscream's coronation sequence and a lot of the dialog involving the Dinobots. But some voices did seem a little weird for me like the casting for characters like Perceptor and Slug (formerly Slag in G1). But otherwise, there was definitely a LOT of pandering to fans of the original cartoon series.

There were parts of the game that I found extremely frustrating to defeat and found myself repeating certain chapters over and over again despite lowering the difficulty to Easy. But I'll admit that I was really involved in the game more for the story versus anything else and this may have contributed to my frustrations. And the more focused single player mode meant giving up the previous cooperative campaign mode available in War for Cybertron.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is still a very fun game with a great story for diehard Transformers fans. The story is actually rather short if you blaze through things and I still don't feel overly excited about hunting down all the little bonus content hidden in the stages. But the game still deserves 4 awesome kickass moments involving Metroplex out of a possible 5.
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