Monday, 24 December 2012 18:28

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

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Overview

The civil war has gone badly for both sides of the conflict on Cybertron. Their planetary core has shut down, and with it, the life giving energon it produced. Soon their world will be a barren husk, devoid of any ability to sustain life, fit only for those creatures that scavenge from the dead, and perhaps soon, not even them. Having evacuated as many of the Autobots and non aligned as he could, Optimus Prime turns his attention to the final transport, The Ark, which will take the bulk of the Autobot army to the stars in search of a new home. The Slagmaker himself, Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, however, has no intention of letting them escape his wrath, though he too knows that Cybertron's days are numbered.

Review

The problem with reviewing this particular game is that it's a sequel to the War for Cybertron game which you can find a review of here. I say this is a problem because everything you can say about the game Fall of Cybertron is pretty much what was said in War For Cybertron. The game play really didn't change all that much, and I'd actually say that's a good thing. They had a good thing made with the original and given current technology, more of the same would be welcome. They did improve certain things, such as the fact you can now effectively use cover by trading weapon arms. Also, you are on your own this time, without the two AI controlled companions that you can choose between. In this game rather than an Autobot and Decepticon part, you're playing through a narrative that switches between Autobot and Decepticon POV's; often between differing characters in the same missions which gives you a variety of characters and play styles to play with. There's also some character model tweaks, and general improvement in graphics (though at times a little too shiny for my tastes). All in all, what made War For Cybertron a great game was carried through to make Fall of Cybertron a great game. You can easily go from one to the other and play through the full story without any real interuption, and I would say that's a damn good thing.

Voice Acting

Like talking about the game itself, there's really nothing that I've not already said about War For Cybertron that doesn't apply to Fall of Cybertron. There is one noteable exception, and I'll discuss this now. One of the biggest draws of this game is the ability to play as Grimlock, and they actually work it into the story that he's still a Tyranosaurus Rex...or a Space T-Rex as they like to giggle about. And for this, they got the guy who brought Grimlock to life in the original series, the wonderfully talented Greg Berger. So we get our Grimlock back, but he's more like the Grimlock you find in the comics rather than the latter parts of the cartoon. Originally in the cartoon he was kind of a dick before turning into a sort of kid friendly comic relief mascott character. It's kinda odd to see the evolution of the character through the lens of an adult rather than the accepting nature of a child. In the comic, at least if Simon Furman and others were writing him, you find him to be a semi to fully rebellious, yet pretty damn competent, field commander that is certain that Optimus Prime isn't fighting this war the way it needs to be fought in order to win it. The game also does away with the simplistic verbal ticks that was shown in the G1 while maintaining the quasi Hulk-speak that the character was famous for. Having grown up with, "ME, GRIMLOCK!" I kinda feel a bit...off about that. I'm guessing even with the explanation of why Grimlock wasn't talking normally he was still perhaps a little more articulate than I was used to. While I'm okay with the extremely competent field commander, I'd probably have made his sentences less verbose and more choppy than they did. In any event, Greg Berger does this Grimlock fucking awesomely, and I for one am happy he's returned to the role for this game. I always love it when I get to see my old friends again, and it was a helluva lot of fun to see Grimlock once again as he should be. The criticism about the Dinobots being too articulate though extends to all the Dinobots. While I'm okay with them not being stupid robots, their normal vocal conversations just felt off to me. There's also the fact they didn't even try to get any of the other voices back, but then, that segues into the criticisms I had about that in War For Cybertron; there's no need for me to repeat myself there. I will, however, make one retraction, one MAJOR critique, and one bravo zulu. It turns out that it WAS Corey Burton in this commercial by Gamestop and not Steve Blum. From what I've read, Mr. Burton is done with the series feeling he's gone as far with it as he can go. I'm not sure if that's true, but I wish the man good luck with whatever future projects he has. On the other hand, casting Steve Blum as Shockwave was horrible casting, no matter how good a VA he is. It's up there with casting him as Duke from G.I. Joe Resolute. He just cannot play those characters very well. He's a good VA, but a lousy choice for Shockwave, in my not so humble opinion. Hell, they didn't get Paul Eiding to play Perceptor, but Jim Ward nails how Paul did the character. Steve Blum's generic voice doesn't lend itself well to a scientist type character nor the commanding voice needed for Duke in G.I. Joe Resolute, again in my not so humble opinion. For my final point on the voices, Scott Whyte's portrayal of Jazz is a welcome breath of fresh air. Most current voices have Jazz as being...far too young. Scott Whyte nails the older feel that the character was supposed to have. The seasoned veteran and Optimus Prime's Chief NCO that he was supposed to be. Since the passing of Scattman Corothers, several people have tried to pick up the character of Jazz, but I would say that this man is the one that truly nails it out of all the others, so good job there.

Story

This is basically the wet dream of every fanboy who's watched the original series since it first premiered in September of 1984. What you're playing through is basically the entire first ten minutes of the first episode up to the point they crash land on Earth, or in this case, blast through a wormhole likely going to Earth. It's been stretched out to a week before the Ark's takeoff and the violence and warfare upped to beyond the nth level. The level of hope, hopelessness, desperation, and carnage reflects what it probably should have been like in those final days before they had to abandon their home...the home their war destroyed, and they're still not done killing each other. It's truthfully amazing how much they managed to put in this game, such as Metroplex, and even the Dinobots. The Dinobots in particular they had to fight for, because the execs at Hasbro are not writers and it shows...they had no idea how the idea of dinosaurs in space could even fit into their Alignment continuity. You can make a good story out of anything; the guys at High Moon Studios put it together and showed them the truth of this statement. So you get Dinobots, you get Insecticons, and you get fuck mothering Metroplex, and it all works...and is all bad fucking ass. It's all pretty coherent and a helluva lot of fun, even if you're not a fan of the series...or not Yahtzee from The Escapist that is, heh.

Gameplay

I've pretty much said all that needs to be said about gameplay. Aside from some minor tweaks, it's fairly identical to War For Cybertron. Though it does tend to change a bit when you take on the role of Grimlock or Bruticus. They wanted to give these characters a sense of power and size that they should have as a giant space T-Rex or one of the Combiner monstrosities. And finally you get it...you're walking death in those games when you take on the role of those characters; unlike in the IDW universe where you can kill either of them with a Rueger 10/22. Seriously, IDW has some sort of passive aggressive hatred of a lot of characters...in fact of the story itself at some points. Fortunately like in the last game, there's no hatred (passive aggressive or otherwise) here. It's all love, and it's all fun.

Graphics

There's almost no change between the graphics here and those in War For Cybertron. They're a bit more polished at points, several of the character designs (such as Optimus and Megatron) were updated a little. Other than that, there's really not much to say.

Music

I would like to hear a game whose score was composed by Vince DiCola just to hear how he's changed over the years. Or maybe get a heavy metal hair band from the '80s to compose it. Something a little bit different than what we've gotten to date. Like the Tron Legacy soundtrack, something that you go, "Damn, haven't heard that before/in a long time." What we got was good, and it fit. It's exactly the same style as what we got in War For Cybertron, however. Which is fine in its way, but I kinda want something else after all this time. On the other hand, incorporating Stan Bush's "The Touch", both the Sam's Theme version without the rap portions (I actually liked those), and the newer version more closely based on the original, was most welcome...touch. I would like to say that Stan Bush makes a whole helluva lot of good music, and people should go out and check it out on its own merits and not just because he does a lot of good work for the Transformers, he f'n deserves it as talented as he is.

Conclusion

Usually there'd be an other thoughts section, but I really don't have much in the way of those this game that aren't already noted in War For Cybertron. This is a pure sequel that continues the story of the original game that you can pick up and keep playing right after you've finished War For Cybertron. If you like third person shooters, if you like the Transformers, and/or if you just like fun games, you can't really go wrong with this one. If you are a fan it's as faithful to the spirit of the series as anything that has ever been produced. If nothing else, you'll get one helluva giggle when you start crushing bugs as a giant space T-Rex. Man, that never gets old.

'Til all are one.

Additional Info

  • Title: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
  • Genre: Third Person Shooter War
  • Composer: Troels Brun Folmann
  • Platform: All
  • Developer: High Moon Studios
  • Publisher: Activision
  • Engine: Unreal Engine 3, Havok (game physics)
  • Writing: Groovy (+5)
  • Pacing: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Graphics: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Controls: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Voice Acting: TOASTY! (+4)
  • Soundtrack: Very Good (+3)
  • Replay Value: Above Average (+1)
Last modified on Saturday, 20 April 2013 23:37

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