Transformers: Fall of Cybertron PS3 Review

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As a journalist, there is almost always a certain fear associated with reviewing titles that draw source material from licensed properties. It’s something of a curse in the industry, as many of you know. Some sort of spell that compels developers to sell their games on familiarity rather than quality. Very rarely will a licensed title draw acclaim of an impressive scope in nearly every way (see: our review of Batman: Arkham City). That being said, Transformers: FOC brings everything that was loved about the original to the table in a refined package that fails to innovate.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The original Transformers: War for Cybertron was a great title that boasted beginner-friendly mechanics as well as a surprisingly in-depth multiplayer mode, which ultimately made for a balanced package anyone could pick up and enjoy. Fall of Cybertron takes this package and glamours it up even more, upping the scale of everything from detail, to set pieces, to locales. So going into the review, I advise you to heed that, in short, this title is more of the same. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Let’s get the ball rolling with graphics. Powered by the Unreal 3 engine, Transformers: FOC is a gorgeous, gorgeous game. Colors proudly display with a vibrancy that the original just flat out didn’t have. Lighting and reflection are spot on, and even little nuances were given great graphical attention. For instance, when blasting a Decepticon soldier to his death, players will notice that instead of simply fading out of the game, the enemy’s lifeless body will sort of coalesce into a network of burnished electrical components before dissipating. It’s simply gorgeous and a fantastic upgrade from 2010′s somewhat-bland WFC.

During the majority of Campaign (the game’s single-player story mode), you’ll have a chance to take on various locales from the perspective of various Autobots and Decepticons. Famous faces such as Optimus Prime, Megatron, Jazz, and Starscream all make appropriate appearances, with voice work being absolutely top-notch and true to the source material. The musical score adds to the overall quality of the title, further emphasizing that the developers essentially wanted this game to be something of an “interactive feature film.”

Granted, the game does have a few hiccups that could be remedied with a hotfix. About 4 or 5 times during my playthroughs, the game hard froze my console. Without warning, all my progress at any given time would be all for naught. Now, this is partially mitigated due to the intelligent checkpoints littered throughout the single-player mode, but this isn’t something your everyday gamer should have to go through. In addition, there were many instances where it’d freeze momentarily during a crucial battle or checkpoint to load upcoming set pieces, though this is a fleeting concern at worst. Finally, you will have to deal with some slowdown at points where gargantuan explosions and collisions take place, so be warned.

Onto my favorite portion of this game: multiplayer. In the array of available modes, you are granted four classes. From the reinforced and powerful Titan class to the frail but jet-borne Scientist class, there is a play style and assortment for everyone. With traditional Team Deathmatch to Capture the Flag, there is a diverse group of multiplayer modes to keep even those disinterested in the Campaign’s story engaged. Each Transformer class comes with a unique set of abilities and movement modes. For instance, my personal favorite, the Scientist, trades damage output for airborne capability and a Healing gun that can repair teammates in battle, as well as a repair ‘bomb’ that generates a force-field for protecting and healing teammates. It’s dynamics of the various support and attacking classes within each match that make the team-based multiplayer so infectiously addicting. I simply can’t get enough of it.

Ultimately, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a game that doesn’t attempt to be anything that it isn’t. Steeped heavily in its source material, the title caters to fans of the franchise with combat that isn’t necessarily refreshing, but satisfying. Fans of the series will no doubt appreciate the scope and quality of the title, and the uninitiated will find the controls welcoming and familiar. As advertised, you won’t find anything new. Just more of the same. And in this case, that’s actually kind of a good thing.

8/10

by

Version tested: PS3

Also available on: Xbox 360, PC

Developer: High Moon Studios

Publisher: Activision

Genre: Third-Person Shooter