Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (FOC) is High Moon’s follow up their 2010 hit Transformers: War for Cybertron (WFC). FOC takes place immediately after the events of WaC and involves the same cast of characters with a few notable additions. For anyone that didn’t get a chance to play High Moon’s original Transformers offering, WFC, I’d highly recommend it. Transformers fans were given a thoughtful treatment of the Transformers franchise which fleshed out some watershed moments from Starscream’s defection to Optimus’ rise to Prime, and video game fans were treated to well-balanced first person shooter that made great strategic use of an innovative transforming mechanic. In other words, High Moon not only succeeded in creating the best Transformers game ever (which was not hard because the bar was set so incredibly low), but actually made a game that would have been great even without the association to a beloved franchise.
I’ve only had the opportunity to play FOC for a few hours at this point, but that is more than enough time to give you a run down on what has changed, what remains the same, and offer my initial impressions of the game. What’s the same
There are a lot of elements from WFC which carry over to FOC. High Moon’s adept handling of the Transformers continues unabated. The dialogue stays true to the characters and is well written. I don’t mean that it’s well written like Shakespeare is well written, but in tone, style, and content it all sounds like the Transformers I grew up with. The voice acting continues to be spot on, which is what you’d expect given how many voice actors from the original series are used in the game. The robot and vehicle models remain sharp and contain interesting details like parts that move and shift when the player stands still. The art direction is consistently good. Personally, I really wish the backgrounds had a bit more color to them, but given that every time I’ve ever seen Cybertron in cartoon form it was grey with glowing bits all over, and that’s how it looks in this game, I can’t complain too much. The game itself still has two play styles: single player campaign and online multiplayer. The single player campaign is divided into chapters which are further divided by checkpoints. The multiplayer has several familiar modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and a few others. And as with most good FPS multiplayer games these days, you earn experience as you play that can be used to unlock new weapons and weapon upgrades. The cool addition that FOC brings to this system is that in addition to experience, you also earn money that can be used to buy different body parts or vehicle modes. I’ll cover this in greater depth in my full review. Transforming is still handled incredibly well. It sounds perfect (I would sometimes transform just to hear that sound on command) and looks amazing (one of the characters does a breakdance style windmill move to get into vehicle mode). But most importantly, transforming serves an integral strategic function for game play, especially in multiplayer. The multiplayer levels can be much larger than they would be otherwise, since everyone can turn into a fast mode of transportation. What you are trying to do at any given moment affects what kind of character is most useful. A Scientist in jet form may get you across the map fastest, but it has the weakest firepower once you get there. On the other hand the Titan packs a huge wallop, but takes forever to get anywhere. The interplay between the advantages and disadvantages of robot form and vehicle forms of the four different classes make FOC an incredibly fun, balanced and unique first person shooter. What has changed
The graphics for FOC have been noticeably improved while simultaneously eliminating the frame rate slow down that occasionally happened in WFC. High Moon has also tweaked the controls, removing the double jump and secondary robot ability while adding a dash/sprint mechanic to the robot form. For a game that so often deals in close quarter combat, the dash/sprint ability is a welcome addition, particularly in multiplayer. Because your shields dissipate so quickly, if someone got the drop on you in WFC, you were pretty much doomed. But in FOC you can dash around the corner to try and get away without taking the time to transform . The four basic types of characters you can choose from have also changed a bit. The new types are the Infiltrator (a cloaking sniper type that transforms into cars and is quick but lightly armored), the Destroyer (armed with rocket launchers, medium armor and transforms into a truck), the Titan (heavy armor, heavy weapons, and slow tank-like vehicle) and the Scientist (lightly armored support class that transforms into a jet/helicopter). Again, I’ll get into much more depth in the full review. Another change is that instead of being able to choose from three different character options at the beginning of every chapter as you did in WFC, you are given no options. While this may seeming limiting, it has the advantage of forcing players to try different ways of taking on challenges. You can’t just choose the same kind of character every time just because you are good with them, but instead you are forced to experience the different play styles the game has to offer. First impressions
Overall, FOC is an improvement on an already good model. The game is better looking and the controls seem a bit crisper and more refined. From everything I’ve seen so far, this game should please Transformer fans and video game fans alike. And if you happen to be a fan of both, this will probably be another must own title.
I look forward to getting the chance to play the game from start to finish. When I do, check back in for a full game review.