I am a huge Transformers nerd. It's one of my Big 4 childhood franchises, though I do tend to drift away from it. But every now and again something comes along that has me looking back to see what's on offer. Once again it's High Moon Studios that have got me to return to the war between the Autobots and Decepticons with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
Fall is awesome! That's quite an opening statement but I feel quite safe saying it. Its predecessor, War on Cybertron, was pretty damn good but something was slightly lacking. Looking back, while the three player co-op was fun it severely hamstrung the game at the same time. No robot stood apart from the rest, they all felt like one homogeneous whole. It's understandable, the person playing Bumblebee has to be just as capable as the one playing Optimus Prime, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Fall fixes that by getting rid of the co-op. As upsetting as that is, it more than makes up for it with a stellar single player campaign. The 'bots finally feel like themselves, sneaking and jumping around as Cliffjumper and Jazz to spewing armageddon as Megatron and, of course, Grimlock Smash!
Which is no mean feat, this game has about five or six different scenarios with how you play and with each robot you really do feel like you're in control of a totally different type of character. As Jazz or Cliffjumper you have to pick your moments, manoeuvre to make the environment work for you and not the enemy. With Megatron and Grimlock you feel almost indestructible as you march across the battlefield. Not to mention Grimlock is the only melee character and it doesn't feel cheap, which would have been so easy to fall into for a game that is ninety percent shooter.
Well, there is also Bruticus. A combiner, or for those that don't know, five Transformers forming into one giant robot. He does play differently to the dinobot but similar enough that I wonder why they didn't take some of Grimlock's gameplay and apply it to the giant. At least the ability to pick up smaller 'bots and lob them about. Instead he just feels clumsy. I guess when you're so much bigger to the other 'bots that's supposed to be the case, but it doesn't seem like it was intended that way.
Finally there's the last level, which is absolutely epic. Till All Are One stands up alongside the Transformers: The Movie's Battle for Autobot City as one of the best all out Autobot vs Decepticon brawls. I truly marvel at how High Moon get us to play both sides of a conflict during the game and it constantly feel good. One minute you're desperately trying to uncover to find some energon to help the Autobots escape. The next you're doing whatever it takes to blow that new supply up.
I pray to the All Spark they get to make a third one. I have quite high hopes for their Deadpool game too now, something before I thought looked like rather a generic shooter with a good main character.
The one thing that annoys me about this game is the achievements. By end of the campaign I'd manage just under 300 gamerscore, which is shockingly low. It's the age old problem of splitting them amongst campaign, multiplayer and co-op (Escalation aka Horde mode). It's not really a problem with the Transformers games themselves, though they are quite bad at it, but the gamerscore system that been bitched about plenty so I'll stop myself now.
Suffice to say that if you're Transformers fan and haven't played this yet, get it sorted. Fall of Cybertron does for the Robots In Disguise what Arkham Asylum did for Batman. We finally have an awesome game.
So what else has Fall of Cybertron dragged me into? Well it has got me to take a second look at the Prime cartoon, and I'm really glad I did. I originally tried it after War but only managed six episodes before I gave up as it hadn't grabbed me. Since then I've seen the odd fan go on about it being really good and with Fall inspiring me I figured it deserved another chance. The first/seventh episode didn't do much for me. No decepticons, all the autobots out of action with the kids doing all the work. I remembered why I hadn't given the show much of a chance previously, but I thought two would be fair. Then we get Wheeljack turning up, and he's suddenly a bad-ass, Decepticons actually attempting to be evil and a pretty decent fight scene. Now we're getting somewhere.
Another good move this show has made is something similar to the Cybertron games. Give the 'Cons nameless lackies. The fights have much more impact when Prime and co. can unleash, and when it's a named character you take the scrap a little bit more seriously. I'm four in now and I'm hooked. It's nearly as good as watching the originals as a kid, now if I can just get a few more robots in it.