My inner child is very, very happy right now. Forget everything you know about the Michael Bay Transformers movies. Sure they may have had good special effects, but everything else about them was pretty dumb. Fall of Cybertron is what Transformers SHOULD be, as it’s closer to what old school Transformers fans may remember about the original toy line and cartoon show (they even got a lot of the same voice actors when they could). Join Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots and Decepticons as they battle over the last few remains of Energon resources on their dying home planet of Cybertron. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a third person shooter action game with a single player story mode and extensive multiplayer modes as well (360 version reviewed here).
Fall of Cybertron is actually a sequel to a game that came out a couple of years ago called Transformers: War for Cybertron. I’ve never played the first game, but after seeing how awesome the sequel is, I may have to track down the original. But both titles are third person shooters. You’ll use every button on the controller to shoot, aim, run, jump, dash, melee, and even transform. I’m a third person shooter novice newbie, and normally I get confused when a game uses every button on the controller. But in Fall of Cybertron, all the button layouts and controller functions made sense, and the game helps you remember which buttons to push at key points. So yeah, excellent play control for starters.
The single player story mode logs the last few days of the Transformers war on Cybertron. Help the Autobots defend their Ark escape ship and eke out the last remaining Energon energy resources on their dying planet. Later, you’ll be able to play as the Decepticon bad guys and see their side of the story. In each chapter, you’ll play as a single character. Each robot has his own special abilities, so each stage plays a little different from the last. Learn the basics in the tutorial level with Bumblebee, command the hulking Metroplex with Optimus Prime, using cloaking to sneak around with Cliffjumper, and reach high ledges with Jazz’s grappling hook. You’ll even be able to rampage as a T-Rex with the popular Dinobot Grimlock! Each level has plenty of shooting, but you’ll also need to transform into vehicles when you need an extra boost of speed and mobility. It’s so much fun to be able to run and shoot on the ground, then seamlessly transform into a futuristic Cybertronian helicopter and fly to another area. The storytelling in the single player campaign is also well done, and reminds me of the old cartoon show (if the old cartoon was well animated and had better writers).
There are also extensive multiplayer modes as well. You can create your own Transformer in a fairly robust character creation mode. Edit your colors, parts, robot type, vehicle transformation, and which side you’ll be on (Autobot or Decepticon). Then partake in a multitude of online games, from deathmatches, capture the flag, and escalation co-op survival modes. Online game expert and younger brother Jeff says these events remind him of a mix between Gears of War and Warhammer. Defeated enemies in both single player and online matches earn you credits, which you can then spend at the Teletraan shops in single player mode for better weapons and upgrades, and new parts for the character creation mode in multiplayer.
The only main problem I have with this game is just a personal one. I’m not very good at third person shooters, so I die a lot in this game, even on Easy mode. If the game played more like Ratchet and Clank, or had an auto aim mode or map scanner, or was in 2-D, I might fare better. But I’m still slogging through this game anyway because it is so much fun and well-crafted for fans. However, I will say that only gamers well-versed in third person shooters will get the full enjoyment out of this title.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Animated Blood and Violence. Animated Blood?!? These are robots, they don’t bleed! Honestly, I didn’t see any blood at all in this game so far. It is certainly violent, though. Even though you are only shooting robots, they are living machines and scream “argh!” when you shoot them. They also don’t seem to like it when you rip their heads off or slice them with melee attacks. So it may be a little rough for very young players. Plus the high level of difficulty and complexity make it better suited for older gamers anyway.
However, I’d still allow kids younger than teens to play this, especially if they are big fans of the Transformers cartoon and toy line. I know that if this game came out when I was a kid, I’d really want to play it, too. Dads and older brothers, this might be a great game to play WITH your kids and siblings as well, as you can use this title to share experiences about when you were kids and enjoyed Transformers. If you still have them, break out your old toys and play with them again with your kids, too!