The Transformers franchise has had a huge resurgence into pop culture over the past couple of years. With the help of the terrible, yet somewhat enjoyable Michael Bay films, we have seen a huge number of toys and animated shows based off this franchise from the late 80’s and early 90’s. There was Transformers Animated that was done by the team that worked on Teen Titans. It was enjoyable in a lot of ways, but to me, it wasn’t the best Transformers series that it could have been. We then got two separate Transformers series from Hasbro’s Hub channel, which also shows the popular My Little Pony Friendship is Magic series. I have only seen one of the new Transformers shows, Transformers Prime, and only its first season, but I love it. They might (for better or worse), use human characters to be put alongside the actual stars of the franchise, but it was dark, gritty, and a bit more mature than Transformers Animated. They even got Peter Cullen and Frank Welker to reprise their roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively. That is pretty cool in my opinion. They also brought in a huge number of great voice actors like Josh Keaton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Corey Burton, Steve Blum, and Ernie Hudson, and that’s pretty cool, too. The Transformers franchise has even gotten some great video games, like War for Cybertron back in 2010. It was a solid and entertaining game that was sadly brought down from a perfect score by poor ally AI and some tedious missions later on. Overall though, I don’t regret giving it the 8 out of 10 score I gave it because it was just an amazing licensed game. Here we have the sequel, Fall of Cybertron. It is a game that had a great announcement trailer, and has a lot of new ideas added to the core design of the last game. Does it live up to the hype? Let us transform, roll out, and find out.
The story of Fall of Cybertron picks up where War for Cybertron left off, with the Autobots preparing themselves to leave Cybertron to live a life somewhere else away from the destructive Decepticons. I mean, you should have known they were going to be bad neighbors with names like Decepticons, right? Oh well. Peter Cullen reprises his role as Optimus as he tries to get a large spaceship known as the Ark off of Cybertron with the remaining Autobots on board. Of course, Megatron, (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) doesn’t want that to happen. And the result of this is a rather enjoyable and grim storyline. It can get dark in some areas, but it does have some pretty silly moments to break up the grim tone of dead robots. It is probably one of the best stories out of any game from 2012.
The gameplay this time around has changed up a bit. The third-person shooting mechanics have stayed the same for the most part, but this game is more story-oriented, so you don’t get to choose which transformer you control. With these changes, certain characters play differently. For example, when you get to play as either Cliff Jumper or Starscream, the game becomes more or less a stealth game, where both characters have special cloaking devices to make them invisible to the enemy eye. Grimlock plays much more like a melee fighter with the controls acting more like a simpler God of War character. The AI seems to be smarter this time around, and thankfully, you get a much larger variety of useful weapons, as well as the ability to transform into vehicle mode. During some moments in the game you will be able to pull off certain moves that others can’t perform. For example, Jazz can use a grappling hook to get through areas inaccessible to other Transformers, and Optimus Prime can control the city-sized Transformer, Metroplex, to rain down a missile strike onto the enemies. The best addition to the single player is, like I said, the different abilities that each Transformer has and the situations into which you are placed. In one level, you play as different Combaticons, like Vortex and Swindle, and then later on in the level, play as Bruticus, a giant Decepticon made of the combined Combaticons, and wreak havoc on the Autobots. Multiplayer has also changed with the usual multiplayer modes and playable Transformers included, but it has one big change added to it: you can make your own freaking Transformer! How cool is that? Haven’t you always, as a child, wanted to make your own Transformer? I mean, of course in order to make your own Transformer, you have to play multiplayer and unlock pieces of Transformers and what not, but you can still make any Transformer you want. The single player is overall very enjoyable, with about 8-9 hours and of course, more hours added if you play through the multiplayer mode. You get a lot with this game, instead of it just being blatant fan service. High Moon Studios has obviously built a name for themselves to be one of the only companies to make a high quality product out of a pre-existing license.
The graphics are great. There is so much more variety here, with more colors, locations, and more varied-looking characters. The voice acting is also great with Peter Cullen reprising his role as Optimus. The other voice cast is outstanding, with Fred Tatasciore (Megatron, Metroplex, and Ratchet), Troy Baker ( Kickback, Jazz and Jetfire), Travis Willingham( Side Swipe, Slug, and Onslaught), Isaac Singleton Jr (Sound Wave), Sam Riegel (Starscream), Jamieson Price (Warpath), Keith Szarabajka (Ironhide), Keith Silverstein (Rumble and Blast Off), Nolan North (Cliff Jumper, Bruticus, Brawl), Jim Ward (Perceptor), David Boat (Vortex), Steve Blum (Shockwave, Swindle, and Sharpshot), and Gregg Berger reprising his role as Grimlock. You even get a remixed version of Stan Bush’s The Touch, and it’s purely awesome.
With this polished of a package, what is wrong with this game. Let us start with the voice cast complaints since they are minor. WHY IS BUMBLEBEE SILENT?! Why is it that every version of Bumblebee is now mute? Could you guys not get Johnny Yong Bosch back? I also wish they would make the game a bit longer instead of 12 stages. With many games pushing 24 or more stages, I think High Moon Studios could have easily expanded on this idea while keeping the story intact. I mean, you only get to play as one Transformer per level, and meet up with others along the way, but why not have branching level paths that you can play through. For example, be able to play the Optimus Prime Level as Warpath and see what happens with him during that part of the story? I am just saying it could have been interesting to see how different they could make the levels, since you mostly go through them alone. While they do execute this in the last level where you switch off playing as Autobots and Decepticons, they could have done it a lot more. I also disliked that you could only use Metroplex indirectly as a missile strike weapon. I mean, who doesn’t want to control the largest Transformer to date in the High Moon Studio Transformers franchise? I also wish they could have gotten Frank Welker back as Megatron since he is the voice actor for Megatron in Transformers Prime. It is just slightly disappointing that they didn’t bring him back for the game.
Even though those complaints might seem huge, they really are not that big of an issue. This game is just great, probably 2012’s “Arkham City” in terms of video games based off license property. If you have not picked this game up yet, you should. It is totally worth it. It is nice to see that High Moon is making other games like Deadpool, but let us hope in the future, they come back and make a third entry that will definitely be more than meets the eye.
This game gets a 9 out of 10