It is very rare that a game makes me grin from ear to ear, even ones that have been hyped up or is the next big release. It is safe to say that, even if you only have a cursory knowledge or appreciation of the Transformers series than, at the very least, you should give this game a go and you will not be disappointed.
Epic does not justify the first half an hour of Transformers and the pace rarely lets up throughout. The plot follows directly on from War of Cybertron with the Autobots and Decepticons still duking it out. However Cybertron is essentially dying and the Autobots are desperately trying to get off the planet to try and save their race whilst the Decepticons want the Autobots dead and buried. So far so standard but High Moon Studios manage to actually create empathy and emotion out of these huge hulking metal machines. The campaign is split almost equally in half, allowing you to play as both sides of the conflict, allowing the plot to have far more shades of grey than what could be seen if the game stuck to the traditional Autobots side; betrayal, genocide, genetic testing and mass murder all play a part alongside occasional touching moments and good use of humor. The storyline is proof that a love letter to a cherished franchise can, with the right budget and tools, be done effectively with a huge amount of polish without belittling the original source material for money
Gameplay plays very similarly to most other 3rd person shooters already on the market but Transformers does away with the traditional cover system. Instead it focuses on the ability to switch your gun arm to get better angles on enemies and the ability to transform into various vehicles. The balance between the traditional robot form and the vehicle form of each Transformer, bearing in mind you play a catalogue of about 10, is perfectly tuned with obvious strengths and weaknesses for each that actually allow you to use a degree of tactics when approaching fighting scenarios. Weapons are split into primary and heavy weapons, one for each slot, and all feel powerful and satisfying, especially the heavy weapons that do a good job of destroying anything and everything in its path. Various stalls allow you to upgrade your weapons on the fly after picking up ‘shards’ from fallen enemies and these upgrades carry on through the campaign, regardless of character, making them matter rather than just a whimsical addition to each separate bots missions.
Levels are tailored to each Transformers abilities with smaller bots such as Jazz and Cliffjumper getting more stealth based elements in comparison to Grimlock and Bruticus which forgo traditional weapons all together and consist of beating the living daylights out of anything that moves. Some of these elements work better than others, with some of the later levels sagging under the mind blowing first few levels, but the constant change of tempo is usually enough to make this only ever a minor problem. The co-op feature of War of Cybertron, this games predecessor, was much lauded at the time of its release. Although the co-op isn’t sorely missed in the main campaign, it seems odd that it wasn’t added in, as it is very rare that your bot isn’t in the company of another one of the plethora of cast in the Transformers universe.
Graphics are up there with some of the best of this generation, with the constant action going on in the background, to the planet Cybertron itself all looking simply breathtaking. This does, however, make the occasional frame rate drop during heavy action, almost making the game stand still, more irritating than it would have been had the standard of graphics not been set so high. Ambience is created perfectly with the opening tune being mixed up in enough different ways during fights and cut scenes that it never grates on the ears; a blessing in comparison to some of the games that have arrived over the past few months.
Multiplayer falls into a COD style category, allowing you to choose certain classes to match your playing style, unlocking further weapons the more kills you get. Servers seem well populated and, unlike COD, the skill gap isn’t glaringly large so even newbies should be able to have a good stab at making their way up the leader boards. Unlike single player, the vehicle transformations do feel a little unbalanced, particularly the aerial vehicles that seem far more powerful than their land based rivals, especially due to the extent of how much more manoeuvrable they are in comparison. Melee also seems to have been taken out of the equation as a viable way to go about your business as it barely seems to any lasting damage, even if you mix and match different classes. Escalation is an entirely cooperative multiplayer scenario, allowing you and 3 others to take on the mantle of the more famous members of either the Decepticons or the Autobots to fight increasingly larger amounts of enemies. The amount of enjoyment that you get out of this shouldn’t vary too much as the need for tactics is never a big enough issue that you will constantly die if headsets are not involved.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is, simply put, an amazing game. The story is rich and fluid, the action is top notch, with the final mission being up there as one of my favourites of all the games that I have played during this generation of consoles, and the graphics are like a massage for your eyeballs. Multiplayer offers enough variation to avoid getting bored, though its doubtful you will do, with the single player weighing in at a tidy 15-20 hours , not including the very detailed audio logs and full upgrading of the vast array of weapons you have access to. Simply put, Transformers is a fantastic game and is wholly worth your time, with the sheer variety, and huge amount of explosions of course, more than enough to cater for Transformer veterans as well as the new generation that hasn’t yet experienced the adventures of Optimus Prime, Megatron and co.