Though I’m not a fan of Gears of War, I do acknowledge the positive impact it had on gaming, with third person shooters becoming far more prevalent in number as […]
Though I’m not a fan of Gears of War, I do acknowledge the positive impact it had on gaming, with third person shooters becoming far more prevalent in number as a result. The genre lends itself well to big spectacle and allows you to become more acquainted with the character you’re controlling than the slightly different feel of playing in first person, where it’s clear that the idea is that YOU are the character. A number of excellent titles sprung up post-Gears, with High Moon Studios and Activision delivering what was – at the time of release in 2010 – probably the finest Transformers title of all time in War for Cybertron, which took a lot of cues from the Gears formula. Unfortunately – like Gears – it had a very desaturated colour palette, which led to it feeling a little sterile at times.
There were a few other issues beyond the lack of colour, of course. Most were forgiven, because here was a Transformers game that truly understood the licence and characters; something we hadn’t seen for a very long time – at least as far back as the PS2’s Transformers Armada game from Atari. That was the previous high for the franchise, but War for Cybertron’s focus on the G1 storyline made for a much more satisfying experience for us old school fans.
Two years later, Fall of Cybertron took the War for Cybertron formula and ran with it, turning everything up to 11 in the process. It’s an absolutely brilliant game, with bags of character, brilliant writing and some absolutely jaw dropping set-pieces and cutscenes. If you’re a fan of a certain G1 character, no matter how obscure, the chances are that they’re in here somewhere with a brilliant visual redesign that truly breathes new life into the old, more simple looking characters. It would take until 2018’s Bumblebee for the G1 characters to look this good again (don’t get me started on the boring, stupid Bayformers and their embarrassing attempts to look ‘cool’ with overcoats, cigars, beards and the like).
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of Fall of Cybertron is the variety in the level design, with the stages all built around the character you’re controlling. For example, the usually prone-to-dying Cliffjumper (seriously, Cliffjumper dying is like a running joke in Transformers fiction – poor little Cliff) has more stealth focused levels with his ability to turn invisible, or the more vertically inclined stages that you’ll play through as Jazz with his grappling hook. There’s even stages where you play as a Titan or a Combiner – causing destruction and raining doom upon your enemies on a massive scale. With both Autobot and Decepticon campaigns to play through, there’s a brilliant amount of variety here and all of it feels true to Transformers lore.
The end credits even feature a remix of the most iconic song from the 1986 animated movie’s soundtrack – Stan Bush’s The Touch. It’s full of touches (pardon the pun), that will put a smile on the face of any Transformers fan.
With Activision having lost the licence, it’s now impossible to buy Fall of Cybertron digitally – which is a shame (the Xbox One version, for example, didn’t get a physical release at all). Physical copies haven’t yet become prohibitively expensive, but this is sure to change as time goes on and copies become more scarce.
If you’re a fan of Transformers, do track down a copy. It gives the third person action formula a brilliant Transformers twist, with varied design, tons of characters and an excellent sense of scale, as well as a great storyline with some fantastic scripted set-pieces (one in particular, featuring a very large character, is beautifully done, hilarious and exhilarating – you’ll have to play to find out which one that is…no spoilers here!). Perhaps it’s just the lifelong Transformers fan in me talking, but I’ve rarely had so much fun with any game of this nature. Excellent stuff; it has most definitely got The Touch.
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