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E3: Hands-on with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

2:40 PM on 06.05.2012 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
  @CTZ

Developer High Moon Studios and Hasbro worked close together on Transformers: Fall of Cybertron to craft a deep origin story that the developers feel will "blow the minds" of Transformers fans. They liken the story to a "Band of Brothers tale," with the Autobots taking a last stand defending Cybertron from Megatron and the Decepticon forces.

From what I saw and played, this is really looking like the biggest Transformers game yet. You'll be playing through a campaign that covers both sides as a variety of iconic characters.

More importantly, however, you can play as the leader of the Dinobots, Grimlock, in all his fire-breathing, Tyrannosaurus-rampaging glory. It's about time.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)
Devleoper: High Moon Studios / Mercenary Games
Publisher: Activision
Release: August 28, 2012 (US) / August 31 (EU)

Grimlock's portion of the game takes place a good way into the story, around chapter 12 or so. High Moon was given the all clear by Hasbro to tell the official genesis story of how Grimlock came to be, and more importantly, why there are dinosaur-like robots on Cybertron. In the portion I played, Grimlock had just escaped from Shockwave's lab where he was tortured and experimented on.

As he's making his way out, a swarm of Insecticons attack and Grimlock takes them on using his sword and shield. Grimlock is the only playable character that won't use guns, offering more of a brawler style of gameplay. Grimlock is also the only character who can't transform at will; instead, he needs to fill a rage meter by attacking enemies. Once the meter is filled, Grimlock transforms into his T-rex form where he can tail swipe, stomp, bite, and of course, breath fire on all those who dare stand in his way.

The transformation is time limited, so he will eventually go back into his robot mode. By the end of the section, Slag, the Triceratops Dinobot, busts down a door and helps Grimlock escape from the lab.

It was only a very small portion that I could play, but I loved every second of it. Grimlock, especially in dino form, just feels so strong and badass. Part of me wished the entire game was just centered around the Dinobots. I quickly changed my mind though as next I checked out Optimus Prime.

What made Optimus Prime's section so great was not due to the leader of the Autobots, but rather, Metroplex, the city-sized Transformer that Optimus can order around to attack whatever. Metroplex is huge -- like, Godzilla-status huge. There's one part in the level when Metroplex tackles a giant tower, and when that doesn't take the building down, Metroplex straight-up punches it, sending it crumbling down.

It does suck that you can't play as Metroplex directly, but the 80-feet-tall Bruticus is indeed playable. The Combaticons Decepticon is made up of Onslaught, Blast Off, Brawl, Swindle, and Vortex; sadly, I totally missed my chance to play play as Bruticus. I did check out Starscream for a bit, however.

Starscream's section sees him infiltrating a Decepticon base, taking out other Decepticons flawlessly from his robot, jet, and hover modes. Transforming is pretty seamless, and the level lent itself well to Starscream's airborne tactics as it was a pretty big, open space.

As you can tell, each character has a unique ability to keep the story fresh from one chapter to the next. The Autobot/Decepticon story is woven together as one this time around, so you'll be switching sides as you go through the game. Online co-op has been dropped for Fall of Cybertron, but Escalation mode remains. You'll be able to create your own Autobot and Decepitcon from the ground up for the multiplayer too. Lastly, for you PC players, High Moon Studios is working with developer Mercenary Games to create a good PC version of the game.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for Fall of Cybertron. It's finally featuring some of my favorite Autobots and Decepticons and everything is just looking bigger and better since War for Cybertron.

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