Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
|Transformers: Fall of Cybertron|
|Developer(s)||High Moon Studios
Mercenary Technology (PC)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3
Havok (game physics)
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc, DVD, download|
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a third-person shooter video game developed by High Moon Studios and published by Activision. It is the sequel to the 2010 video game Transformers: War for Cybertron, and directly follows the events of that game as the Autobots struggle to defeat their Decepticon foes in a war for their home planet of Cybertron. The game was released on August 21, 2012 in North America and on August 24, 2012 in Europe for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The game tells the story of the Transformers, fictional robotic life forms, and the final days of conflict on their home planet of Cybertron. An origins subplot for the Dinobots is also told, reimagined from the Transformers: Generation 1 continuity. Other subplots also tell an adapted story for several characters. Some of the voice cast from the 1984 series The Transformers return to reprise their roles, including Peter Cullen as Autobot leader Optimus Prime and Gregg Berger as Grimlock. Other actors return to reprise their roles from Transformers: War for Cybertron.
Fall of Cybertron received generally favorable reviews from critics. The Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 versions have an aggregate Metacritic score of 79/100, while the PlayStation 3 version holds a score of 77/100. Critics generally felt that the game was true to the Transformers franchise and provided good fan service, but some thought that the story pace slowed at times. Gameplay was mostly praised, but some reviewers cited the removal of War for Cybertron's cooperative campaign as a low point. Graphics and audio also received broadly positive comments, though some reviewers noticed frame rate issues with the PlayStation 3 version.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, like its predecessor Transformers: War for Cybertron, is a third-person shooter. Players can control each transformer in both its robot and alternate forms. Instead of a traditional health system, the game features a system similar to the Halo series of video games. The player character has both a regenerating shield and health, the latter of which can be replenished by a health pack. The weapon selection in Fall of Cybertron is expanded, with new weapons that can take on very significant upgrades, including one that allows a weapon to fire up to 75% faster. These are purchased through Teletran 1 kiosks found throughout the game.
Every character has been given their own unique ability. For example, the Autobot Jazz can fire a grappling hook to reach high or distant places, Optimus Prime can command the massive Metroplex, and the Combaticons have the ability to combine into the Decepticon Bruticus. Segments in which players control Bruticus are designed to accommodate its larger size. Scale is maintained so the character towers over enemies. The Autobot Grimlock, who transforms into a dinosaur, is controlled differently than other characters. Carrying only a sword and shield, Grimlock cannot transform at will, instead accumulating rage as he battles opponents. When he gains enough rage, Grimlock is able to transform and inflict massive damage. The online cooperative campaign play featured in the first game has been removed in favor of levels that utilize each character's specific abilities.
The survival mode Escalation from War for Cybertron returns. In this mode players must defend against increasingly difficult waves of enemies. As gameplay progresses, new sections of the level open, which give players access to upgraded weapons and abilities. Franchise characters are used in Escalation, while players can customize one of four character classes—Scientist, Infiltrator, Destroyer and Titan—in competitive multiplayer. Autobot and Decepticon Transformers can be customized with parts earned through a ranking system or purchased through the game's marketplace. Several parts from famous Transformers can be used, such as heads, torsos, legs and arms. Hundreds of pieces and color options are available. Players can also buy and upgrade their gear.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a direct continuation of Transformers: War for Cybertron. Giant robotic life forms known as Transformers are at civil war. Two factions, the Autobots and the Decepticons, vie for control of their home world, Cybertron. The events of the previous game have left the planet unable to sustain life, and the Autobots, desperate to ensure the continued existence of the Transformer race, seek to flee the planet. The Decepticons, still bent on domination, will stop at nothing to assure that the Autobots either submit to the Decepticons or are eliminated. Fall of Cybertron depicts the final battle between the two robot factions, which results in the desolation of their home world, forcing the Autobots to seek refuge in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The developer, High Moon Studios, hoped to show a darker tone than the original game. Game Informer's Matt Miller stated that the game "changes and improves upon so many of the fundamental ideas that the developer considers the game a natural successor rather than a true sequel."
^a Not a playable character
^b Downloadable content, playable only in multiplayer
^c Alternate skin available (preorder/downloadable content)
^d Slag was renamed Slug in the game due to Slag being a derogatory term in some cultures
^e Playable in escalation
The game begins on the Ark, the spacecraft the Autobots use to flee their dying homeworld of Cybertron. On their journey, the Decepticons attack. Optimus engages Megatron directly on the outer surface of the Ark. Bumblebee scrambles to his aid and finds Optimus just as Megatron is about to deliver a fatal blow. He dives in front of the shot, taking the hit for Optimus. The game then flashes back to six days earlier.
The Autobots defend the docked Ark from Decepticon forces. Optimus realizes they have broken through Grimlock's post after unsuccessfully trying to contact him. Optimus leaves to help Ironhide and his forces defend the Ark. Jazz and Cliffjumper are sent to investigate, and while eliminating enemy tanks, Optimus' turret suddenly deactivates. As he leaves to repair it the room transforms around him, leading him to a brightly lit chamber where he activates the city-sized Transformer Metroplex. The titan disables two Decepticon cannons but is shot point-blank by a third. Starscream and the Combaticons capture Optimus soon after and bring him before Megatron. As Megatron prepares to execute Optimus, Metroplex arrives and pummels him into the ground. Having lost Megatron, Starscream claims leadership of the Decepticons and orders a retreat.
Meanwhile, Jazz and Cliffjumper arrive at the Sea of Rust to locate Grimlock and his Lightning Strike Coalition Force. They find an enormous tower firing a bright beam into Cybertron's orbit. They find Shockwave at the scene and discover it is a Space Bridge. Shockwave escapes the ensuing confrontation, and Cliffjumper becomes trapped, leaving Jazz to fight off the incoming Insecticons. Cliffjumper overloads the tower, and he and Jazz are saved from the Tower's explosion by Sideswipe. They report back to Optimus.
Shortly after the Autobots salvage energon from the tower, Starscream and his Combaticons arrive to reclaim it. Onslaught, the Decepticon team's leader, briefs them on a plan to ambush the Autobot transport carrying the energon. Combaticons Vortex, Blast Off and Brawl destroy the supports of a bridge the transport must cross. Meanwhile, Swindle engages Autobot ground forces and destroys the wheel struts underneath the transport. The transport transforms into flight mode, and the Autobots engage the Decepticon team. Starscream orders the Combaticons to abort the mission, but they defy him and combine to form Bruticus, who brings the transport down. Starscream arrives at the crash site and arrests the Combaticons for insubordination.
Elsewhere, Soundwave assembles a newer, more powerful chassis for Megatron. He awakens, frees the Combaticons, and stops Starscream's coronation as King of the Decepticons. He then leads a full scale assault on the Autobot stronghold of Iacon, where the massive Decepticon Trypticon's remains are kept. Megatron invades the facility and takes Trypticon's power core, the heart of a transformer. He informs the lifeless beast that he is not to be rescued, but will instead be reassembled into Megatron's flagship, the Nemesis.
Starscream, having been humiliated at the hands of Megatron, infiltrates Shockwave's base, where he finds Grimlock being held prisoner. He offers Grimlock freedom in exchange for his fealty, but Grimlock escapes by throwing Starscream into the restraint controls. He reunites with his teammates Swoop, Slug, and Snarl and defeats the defending Insecticons. Grimlock learns from Shockwave that their processors were tampered with, leaving Grimlock with a speech impairment. Shockwave also found a new planet by way of his Space Bridge inhabited by large creatures; these were used to inspire all of their new alternate forms. Grimlock was further modified, and now cannot transform on command, but must be in a state of rage to do so. Grimlock recalls a name that Sharpshot gave them, the Dinobots, and claims it as their new team name. Grimlock then notices another Space Bridge tower that Shockwave has constructed nearby. Grimlock fights his way to Shockwave, knocking him from the tower and destroying it. The crumbling tower falls, and the portal in Cybertron's orbit begins to decay.
Before the launch, Metroplex sacrifices himself by transferring all of his energon to the Ark. Optimus then calls for the launch of the Ark to try and escape through the portal before it closes, but Decepticons arrive in the Nemesis to stop them. Soundwave leads the first wave of troops onto the ship through giant cables and destroys the Ark's automated defense system. Jetfire is then launched into space to disengage the cables. Bruticus launches from the Nemesis and destroys the Ark's fuel line before being blasted off the ship into empty space by Jazz and Jetfire. Nearby, Megatron and Optimus engage in battle. Before a winner can be declared, Optimus and Megatron are pulled off of the hull of the Ark and into the portal with both ships. The portal finally closes, leaving their home planet alone and quiet.
During an investor conference in November 2010 Hasbro confirmed that a sequel to the 2010 game Transformers: War for Cybertron would be developed. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was officially announced on October 6, 2011 in an article posted on the gaming magazine Game Informer's website. In the article, Game Informer noted that their November issue would contain an exclusive feature on the upcoming game and the cover would include concept art. 1UP.com's Chris Pereira wrote that fans would be excited to hear another original Transformers game from High Moon Studios was being developed, since the game based on the film Transformers: Dark of the Moon did not meet critical expectations. Henry Gilbert of Games Radar was also pleased to see an original game being developed and said "we're glad [...] developer High Moon Studios is back to what it does best: crafting new/old adventures for the Autobots and Decepticons". High Moon Studios originally announced that they would not be releasing Fall of Cybertron on the Microsoft Windows platform but changed their plans. The Windows version was completed by Mercenary Technologies, while High Moon Studios handled the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 releases. The game is powered by Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and utilizes the Havok physics engine.
Some characters who previously appeared in War for Cybertron feature updated appearances and transformation schemes, or moving parts that animate regardless of player action, similar to breathing. The character Optimus Prime was redesigned for a "more warrior-type feel", with more bulk added to his body mass. The weaponry in Fall of Cybertron was also modified and enhanced; the designers of the game put out a call to everyone in the studio for new weapon ideas. Matt Tieger of High Moon explained that in addition to new designs, each weapon could be upgraded, continuing, "We really made a conscious choice to make every upgrade a significant improvement, so one upgrade might increase your firing speed by 75%. We could have made the system so that there were a lot of upgrades that each improved your guns a little bit, but we wanted to make each upgrade feel like this giant thing. That way when players buy it they’re really going to feel the difference."
At E3 2012 veteran Transformers voice actors Peter Cullen and Fred Tatasciore were confirmed to reprise their respective roles of Optimus Prime and Megatron. Tatasciore also voices Ratchet and the city-sized Transformer Metroplex. Gregg Berger voices Grimlock from The Transformers for the first time in twenty-five years. Other cast members include: Sam Riegel as Starscream; Keith Szarabajka as Ironhide; Nolan North as Cliffjumper, Bruticus and Brawl; Steven Blum as Shockwave, Swindle and Sharpshot; Isaac C. Singleton Jr. as Soundwave; and Troy Baker as Jazz, Jetfire, and Kickback. Jim Ward provides the voice for Perceptor, David Boat voices Vortex, Travis Willingham performs as Sideswipe, Slug and Onslaught, Jamieson Price voices Warpath, and Keith Silverstein portrays Blast-Off and Rumble. The game features Stan Bush's song "The Touch", originally featured in the 1986 film The Transformers: The Movie. The original version was used during promotional trailers for preorder items, while the game's end credits utilize both it and a remixed version of the song. The remix version, subtitled "Sam's Theme", was created for possible inclusion in the live-action film Revenge of the Fallen. It adds rap verses and has been described as a "redux a la Linkin Park". The credits begin with the "Sam's Theme" version, and segue into the original.
Marketing and release
The first official cinematic trailer for the video game was shown at the 2011 Spike TV Video Game Awards on December 10, 2011 and featured the song "The Humbling River" by Puscifer. A second cinematic trailer, dubbed "Our World", was released in March 2012. Gameplay was shown during the 2012 Botcon convention. On July 5, 2012, the UK release date for the game was brought forward one week to August 24, 2012. A trailer featuring an in-game look at the city-sized Transformer Metroplex was released with the announcement. The song featured was an Everlove cover of the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Cities in Dust". The launch trailer was released on August 17, 2012, and featured the theme "The Last Kingdom" by Alessio Nanni and Daniel Lessner. The game was released in North America on August 21, 2012 and Europe on August 24.
A toy line based on the game was manufactured by Hasbro under the Transformers: Generations banner. Bruticus, a character formed by combining five Decepticons, is part of the line. Other figures include Optimus Prime, Jazz, Sideswipe, Shockwave, Starscream, Soundwave, Grimlock and the Insecticon Kickback. It was announced the toy line would be released a week earlier, August 21, 2012 in North America, a week earlier than originally planned.
In North America, Amazon.com and video game retailer GameStop offered preorder codes for downloadable content. GameStop offered a G1 Retro Pack that unlocks a The Transformers Generation 1 themed Optimus Prime skin, a Generation 1 inspired Megatron rifle based the character's alternate mode, and a Shockwave Blast Cannon. Amazon offered a Generation 2 Bruticus skin. In the United Kingdom, Play.com also offered preorder codes. The codes unlocked the Dinobot Swoop for use in the competitive multiplayer.
Multiple downloadable content packs were released. The Multiplayer Havoc Pack launched on the game's release date of August 21, 2012 and contains five characters for use in multiplayer: Perceptor, Ultra Magnus, Blast Off, Wheeljack, and Zeta Prime. It also unlocks the associated customization pieces related to these characters. The Dinobots, excluding Sludge, make up the DLC Dinobot Destructor Pack, released on September 11. The Insecticons, G1 Optimus, Megatron, Hound, and G2 Bruticus were released as DLC for single and multiplayer in the Massive Fury Pack on September 25. Players can also purchase specific customization pieces for their mulitplayer characters via microtransactions, allowing players to access content they would otherwise have to play to unlock.
|Official Xbox Magazine||8.5/10|
Fall of Cybertron has received generally positive reviews. The PlayStation 3 version received an aggregate score of 77/100 at Metacritic, while the Xbox 360 and Windows versions both hold scores of 79/100. GameRankings reports similar scores; the Xbox 360 version has an aggregate score of 81.40%, the PlayStation 3 a score of 76.48%, and the Windows version a score of 79.17% The highest score of a 94% approval rating came from Mitch Youngblood of Gaming Trend. Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb gave the game a 60% approval, the lowest score reported.[note 1] According to the NPD Group, the game sold well during the month of its release, placing seventh in sales despite only being available during the last ten days.
Alec Meer of Eurogamer praised the developer's focus on staying true to the Transformers source material: "Fall of Cybertron is a love-letter to a fictional universe created in 1984 that has [...] continued to this day." Matt Miller of Game Informer agreed, calling the narrative "tightly crafted". G4TV's Matt Keil lauded the story, character development and voice acting. He called the game "a cinematic shooter that stands on the strength of its design and gameplay". GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd stated that while the game's levels focused on flight are enjoyable and that some levels give players a sense of power, the campaign mode was "too often more exciting to watch than to play". Corey Cohen of Official Xbox Magazine gave high marks for the variety of characters players control during the campaign. He noted that each felt unique from the others, but thought that the game could have utilized the gargantuan transformer Metroplex more. Miller cited that the variety of playable Transformers and their unique abilities kept the game interesting, adding that the control scheme suited each unique character well.
In a more critical review, Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann felt that the game had uneven pacing and gameplay. "The highs in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron are very high [...] but it doesn't go far enough in that direction to stand out" he stated. Gerstmann disliked the frame rate drops during heavy action sequences. IGN's Matt Cabral also noted this, but dismissed these moments as "occasional hiccups". Cabral gave high marks for visual presentation, including the transformations each character used to change forms. Both Cabral and Keil criticized the lack of cooperative campaign gameplay, a feature available in the game's predecessor, as a low point of Fall of Cybertron.
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