Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Fall of Cybertron is a third person action adventure game developed by High Moon studios and published in August 2012. The game is an immediate sequel to War for Cybertron. Below I reflect on the game and compare it to its predecessor.
Fall of Cybertron does what every good sequel should do, it takes the best elements of the original and expands upon them. Like War for Cybertron before it, Fall of Cybertron is one of the best iterations of the Transformers IP in the last 30 years.
The Decepticons are victorious in their conquest, Cybertron in theirs. The last holdout of Autobot resistance is the blasted ruins of Iacon. There, Optimus Prime holds what little remains of his people together as they prepare to leave their planet. The war is over, but battle still rages. Energon supplies are drying up and the race is on to stockpile enough fuel to launch the Ark, their last interstellar transport, into space. But Decepticon attacks are relentless and defending the Ark uses more and more of the precious energy they need to escape.
Whats the difference?
In many ways Fall of Cybertron feels just like the original game. The story picks up immediately after game ended. The controls are nearly identical, and many of the same characters return. We revisit several locations from the original game such as the ruins of Iacon, Khaon city, and Trypticon’s crater.
But the differences become apparent quickly. The entire game is visually updated from the setting, to player character models, NPCs, and even weapons. Allied and enemy combat models are more detailed instead of a washed orange or purple. Where the previous game gave the illusion of wide open spaces , this one features massive wrecked thoroughfares for driving sequences, wide arenas for boss battles, and immense multi-tiered spaces for aerial combat and sniper levels.
High Moon decided to go big in this game in many ways. Metroplex, a city sized Autobot who dwarfs Trypticon and Omega Supreme in comparison, is the first and biggest example, but he is only the first example. An entire chapter is dedicated to capturing an immense energon carrier that dwarfs even the largest of the player bots. This chapter features a bridge capable of supporting the massive carrier and the Decepticons’ effort, via the Combaticons, to destroy it both from the outside and within. The chapter ends with the Combaticons joining together, allowing the player to control the Combiner form Bruticus!
In many ways the game sets the stage for the Gen 1 shows. Many bots who were absent in the original game are introduced including Preceptor, Shockwave, The Combaticons, The Dinobots, and the Insecticons. We are shown long forgotten ruins of ancient(by cybertonian standards!) civilizations. All of this comes together and sets the stage for the journey that will bring the Transformers to Earth.
The Little Things
It is the little details that make the biggest difference between War and Fall. Fallof Cybertron features a full orchestra and choir in its soundtrack. This amplifies the impact of scenes and strikes an emotional chord with me, especially in the intro sequence. The tension of the situation build and builds with each room and corridor until it all comes together in an explosive climax in a way that only music can convey.
Another minor change that makes a big difference is the ability to switch weapon hands. It stands to reason that Transformers are ambidextrous but this is the first time its been shown. This feature allows the player to take advantage of any cover in battle instead.
The Big Things
As I said before, Fall of Cybertron’s scale is big! No where is that more apparent than in the bots you can control though the game. Though Metroplex is the largest example there are several more. In several stages the player takes control of the massive Combiner, Bruticus, and lay waste to defending Autobots. The fan favorite Dinobots make their debut with the player taking control of Grimlock and his immense T-Rex form.
Fall of Cybertron is a fantastic game, and a must play for any transformer or action adventure fan. The story, the gameplay, the music, and the characters come together and create a beautiful tapestry of conflict, sacrifice, and tragedy that must be experienced to feel the full impact.
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