Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Review: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

12:00 PM on 08.21.2012 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Transformers: War for Cybertron was one of my top multiplayer games of 2010. Something about it just worked surprisingly well, and High Moon Studios deserved oodles of kudos for providing the Transformers license with an original, structurally sound, vastly entertaining game that respected the franchise in a way other games (and certain movies) had not. 

When faced with a sequel, High Moon has taken the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" approach and essentially pulled the same trick twice. In fact, it's hard to say exactly what the differences are between Fall of Cybertron and War for Cybertron at a glance.

It only gets marginally easier with an extended look.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: High Moon Studios
Publisher: Activision
Released: August 21, 2012 
MSRP: $59.99

Following the events of War for Cybertron, the Transformers' titular planet is on the brink of collapse. The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons has drained Cybertron of its energon resources, and the Autobots decide to impose self-exile and find a new world on which to start over. Naturally, Megatron won't have any of that, and will go out of his way to keep Optimus Prime grounded, out of little more than petty spite.  

While events certainly occur, there's very little story in Fall of Cybertron. Despite retelling the story of the Transformers before they came to Earth and heavily revising the origins of Grimlock and the Dinobots, the narrative campaign feels somewhat rushed, as important exposition is gotten over quickly. Each focal character gets one or maybe two chapters in order to say what they have to say. Unlike War for Cybertron, which had some nice build and was paced very well, the plot of Fall flits too easily between Autobot and Decepticon characters, never focusing on a single plot point long enough for it to have any gravitas. 

There are definitely some great moments on par with the original game. The Starscream coronation scene is a definite highlight (yes, the infamous dialog exchange takes place!) and the level involving Grimlock and his classic T-Rex transformation is a delightfully empowering jaunt. I also love that High Moon included a genuinely creepy take on the my personal favorites, the Insecticons, though the purist in me still sneers at High Moon giving Shrapnel's speech impediment to Kickback -- a criticism that should have no relevance to any sane human with real priorities. 

Still, the campaign is left wanting in comparison to the first. The gameplay is still solid, with the same great controls for both robot and vehicular forms, and I love the new upgrade system, in which players can purchase and enhance a variety of weapons and perks from Teletraan 1 outlets -- you can even rate each upgrade online to help new players find the best stuff. However, the newer, more open environments aren't so much liberating as they are repetitive, arena-like areas that lack any sense of atmosphere. The weapons also seem to feel far less effective, especially when going up against masses of shotgun-toting enemies that can reduce player characters to scrap in seconds. Combat was always going to be clunky by the very nature of the robots involved, but this time around it feels unfocused, possessed of a certain anarchy that is more overwhelming than enjoyably chaotic. 

The game's final level is truly the highlight of the show, switching from Autobot to Decepticon in a fluid way as players jump from bot to bot in an epic battle aboard Prime's Ark. The elegance and scale of this battle is a thing of beauty, and something I wish there could have been more of. When High Moon pulls out all the stops, it still manages to create something awesome. Sadly, it does it with less frequency in Fall as it did in War, and the result is a single-player mode that feels rather unsatisfying. Still good, and still tossing out enough references and jokes to make the average Transformers fan smile, but nevertheless a little disappointing. 

Multiplayer is still the game's biggest selling point, and it's as great as ever -- mostly because it's almost exactly the same as last time. Yet again, players get to choose between four distinct classes -- the hard-hitting Titan, healing Scientist, tactical Destroyer and stealthy Scout. Aside from some weapon changes and ability tweaks, these classes play pretty much as they did the last time, each one respectively turning into a tank, plane, truck and car, while fulfilling their archetypal battlefield roles. There are a number of competitive modes to choose, from simple deathmatches and capture-the-flag bouts to the one fresh addition, headhunter. In headhunter, players need to kill and collect the fallen "sparks" of their enemies, and bring them to an ever-changing location in order to score points. It's more or less a dog-tag mode with a Cybertronian twist. 

Unlike single-player, the busy combat and disorderly flow of each match are positive traits. If you can get a full match together, each round is a tumultuous clash of metal and explosions. Each class is really well balanced, with a skilled scout able to take down a hulking tank if used correctly, and the new maps are just the right size to take advantage of vehicular motion without being so big that it's a dull slog to the next kill zone. Of course, if you played the first game, you'd know this already, because the exact same praise for the multiplayer in War for Cybertron applies here -- whether that's good or bad hinges on how much you want to enjoy the same great taste twice. 

Character creation is expanded, with a lot of armor pieces to mix and match, and a greater range of color schemes, as well as a variety of custom loadouts and gear that can be gradually unlocked as players earn XP and rank up. Despite the enhanced variety, it still feels very restricted, with pre-set two-tone color schemes and armor pieces based largely on named characters from the single-player campaign. Still, it is an improvement, and one of the few genuine attempts to evolve Fall beyond the first game. I guess that's something. 

Yet again, the jewel in Cybertron's crown is Escalation. This is a co-op survival mode for up to four players that again doesn't do much different from last time. The player team is faced with waves of increasingly brutal enemy robots, and can earn cash to spend on upgrades, as well as unlockable doors that expand the arena and grant access to more powerful gear. This remains the most fun aspect of the game, but it feels a little downgraded from last time. First of all, there's less of a recognizable variety of enemies, due to the fact that even when varied, a lot of the opponents behave and look the same. What's more, the range of playable characters has been restricted in order to enforce a more class-oriented approach to team-building.

This time around, players have to pick one of four pre-set characters rather than the wider range seen last time. Each one possesses certain skills -- such as healing or ammo replenishment -- in order to encourage more strategy. It's a noble idea that does indeed add a slight tactical bent to the onslaught, but it's come at the cost of personal choice and the previously endearing ability to grab your favorite character. 

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron has a lot of what made the original game so great, but it suffers from generation loss, relinquishing a portion of its quality in the cloning process. The decision to give players more of the same is made less palatable by the fact that its story is nowhere near as engaging and the multiplayer has not expanded in any way -- and even been scaled back in the case of Escalation. If you choose to play it, you will certainly have a lot of fun. However, you will miss practically nothing by choosing to skip this installment. That's not to say you shouldn't get it -- just don't expect a must-see revelation. 

As such, Fall of Cybertron is a step down from High Moon's encouraging start -- not bad at all and more than capable of providing entertainment, but unable to reach the heights of that which came before.



THE VERDICT

7

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Venture into the Borderlands - Epilogue

Pokémon X Review - Fairy Enough

Kitten Bowl x Puppy Bowl Stream Starts NOW!

Cool site never heard of before

Gravity Rush: The 6th generation game you didn't play

The Witness Review

Waifu Wars: Rei Ayanami (NGE)

Gaming's Beautiful People #3: Waifu Wars Edition (Bloggers Wanted)

Understanding How Street Fighter is Played

Cblogs of 2/05/16 + Digital Preservation

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm writing my next cBlog, another Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective. I played all of these early last week, but there are some cool ones I'd like to share
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
My favorite Pokemon should be painfully obvious, so here's some love for my honorable #2. Suck it, Garchomp.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
The best game -
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
The Banner Saga is pretty much a work of art. It's so incredibly pretty. I wonder why there aren't more games that use such a striking art style? The only other game with a similar-ish art style that comes to my mind is Cuphead.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
The best Pokémon is, and always has been, Blastoise.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Gotta eat 'em all..
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Why is there so much love for Pokemon, when only Digimon can you offer you the One True Waifumon?
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
Why is steam having yet another sale? At this point they'd be better just reducing the prices of the games year-round, instead of having the same games at the same discounted prices every 2 months.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Trubbish is the best Pokemon because he's basically a pile of trash.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Woke up to find the qposts filled with favorite pokemon. I'm gonna be that guy and say his favorite is Charizard. Too lazy to go dig up a picture, but I don't have to. Yall already know what he looks like.
Shinta avatarShinta
CONTROVERSY: I'm playing Ninja Gaiden Black right now and the truth of the matter is that Ninja Gaiden 2 is the better game. The combat is just so much better, and the pacing is as well. NGB is still a 10/10 to me though. NGB's combat is just alot slower
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Since I was a lad who actually followed Pokemon, Scyther was green and sharp and cut his way to my little heart, where he remains today.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
Hmm. I unlocked something called Balam. I wonder what that i-oh. OHHHHH.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
Always respect your waifu. And never have more than one, polyamory is bad mkay
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Just realized Deadpool releases this week and started praying it doesn't suck.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
You guys probably already know this but Feraligatr is my favorite Pokemon.
JPF720 avatarJPF720
Proudly stand as (possibly) the only person whose favorite Pokémon is this guy
Scrustle avatarScrustle
Haven't cared about Pokemon in about 10 years, but I used to like this guy.
Oridan avatarOridan
Hello, here is a pokémon that I like.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
And another one. And another one. And another one. You smart.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -