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Review

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

  • Game release: August 20, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron offers some entertaining action, lots of explosions, and too many technical hiccups.

The Transformers may be more than meets the eye, but Transformers: Fall of Cybertron has an obvious goal: to let you control numerous Autobots and Decepticons while filling the screen with as much fire and brimstone as possible. Developer High Moon strives for metal-on-metal sensory assault, which is both a strength and a weakness. When the game thinks big, your eyes and ears are treated to larger-than-life spectacles; gargantuan robots sprawl across your view, and you annihilate mechanical monstrosities with the touch of a button. But Fall of Cybertron's most exciting moments are those you watch, not those you play. It can be a lot of fun, but the visual thrills don't consistently translate into stimulating gameplay.

There is excitement to unearth, however--it just takes a while for it to come into focus. The first half of the single-player campaign never finds a groove. You spend several levels in control of the kingly Optimus Prime, who sounds more than ever like an elder statesman, morally incorruptible and in complete control of his emotions. As in Transformers: War for Cybertron, you can morph from robot form to vehicular form and back again, though shooting, driving, and shooting-while-driving aren't Prime's only skills. He also fires artillery, ducks under beams, orders air strikes, lifts heavy objects, comforts his subordinates, and pulls levers.

That's normal shooter stuff, of course, but Fall of Cybertron's first half has you spending so much time watching explosions, performing single-button tasks, and occasionally hitting a button to make things die, that the full-fledged action seems like an afterthought. There aren't many extensive shooting sequences here. Instead, you get tossed from one task to the next without any kind of rhythm developing. Battles heat up just in time for you to find another door to open or another scripted event to witness. Aspects of the flat early hours carry over to later hours as well. Every major showdown between main players is interesting to watch but boring to play. That includes the game's final encounter, which you conquer not by overcoming a challenging enemy, but by responding to button prompts. Prompts that involve only one button.

Yet even before you leave Optimus Prime behind for other Transformers, there are momentary pleasures that keep you invested. Some of these moments are power trips: you speed across a bridge, mowing down the nameless bots that dare cross your path. Others build atmosphere: a facility morphs around you as you walk through it, making you wonder what might be causing such an anomaly. All the while, you get a real sense that the planet of Cybertron has reached its expiration date. Environments are in various stages of collapse, and the skies burn with sparking metal and the blistering exhaust of Decepticon dropships.

No matter which form you take, your goal is a noble one: annihilate the enemy!

From here, Fall of Cybertron cycles you through various Transformers, changing up the gameplay--and then changing it up again just when you get the hang of things. One mission encourages stealthiness, having you go invisible and sneak behind sentries for a one-button execution. As Jazz, you play as a sort of bionic commando, grappling from platform to platform, using your mobility to stay out of the sights of the foes that continually hound you. Aside from the levels in which you soar through the skies in vehicular form, careening about as Jazz is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Fall of Cybertron, in part because you must stay light on your feet if you want to stay alive. The controls are smooth and the animations are fluid, so zipping from spot to spot is never a struggle, just a joy.

Land battle sequences play out as a standard third-person shooter and are generally solid, though there is an odd disconnect between the mechanics and the level design. Most Transformers are glass cannons--that is, you might do a lot of damage, but you're also surprisingly vulnerable, considering you're a huge hunk of metal. The game even encourages you to use cover, and indeed, several areas seem ripped right out of a cover shooter. Friends and enemies regularly use cover, but you yourself cannot; you can't even duck. Wading directly into the fray is sure death, and more time than you'd want is spent trying to find a safe spot for your shields to replenish, rather than standing strong.

Larger levels fare better, encouraging you to morph back and forth from bot to vehicle. The best of these have you zipping through the air and dropping death on your foes in aerial form, and then landing on platforms and finishing off the survivors. Sadly, there are only a few such levels; others are more interested in sending you on a power trip than in making you earn your triumphs. In several instances, such as when you stomp about as Grimlock, you lose ranged weapons in favor of melee attacks, wreaking havoc on waves of foes by slashing, swiping, and breathing fire. There's little strategy involved--you just press buttons and view the dramatic display of death that ensues. It's exciting to watch, but you're not working very hard for the victory.

There are genuine moments of mystery, though they don't last for long.

This constant flipping from one type of gameplay to another is a departure from the monotony that crept into War for Cybertron. At times, the game focuses so much on mixing things up that it loses focus: developer High Moon never deepens or strengthens any single mechanic before it moves to the next. But in the final levels, something miraculous happens: Fall of Cybertron weaves these disparate threads together into an exciting sequence that puts you in control of one bot after another so quickly that all you can do is ride this overcharged roller coaster and relish in its hyperactivity and visual excess. A boss fight featuring the agile Jazz might again be the highlight here, as it is one of the few times in which Fall of Cybertron puts a clever spin on mechanics it previously explored.

It's a shame that the PlayStation 3 version struggles to keep up with that excess. At times, Fall of Cybertron is a technical mess on Sony's console: square pixels sometimes erupt where there should be sparks, loading times occur in the middle of the action, and the game may even lock up and require you to restart the system. The resolution is noticeably lower than on the Xbox 360, and textures are so blurry that you could momentarily wonder if a higher-res texture has yet to pop in. The frame rate isn't perfectly steady on the Xbox 360, but it keeps pace better than the PS3 version, which chugs more frequently.

Amid all of this is a story that's as unfocused as its gameplay, which might be a given considering how often you change perspectives. The character hopping makes it hard to get invested in any one Transformer, each bot more or less living up to the simple characterization we've come to expect. The ongoing struggle centered on Cybertron's diminishing Energon supplies is a simple excuse to trigger Optimus Prime's platitudes and Megatron's humorless megalomania. The memorable developments involve a Decepticon power struggle and an unexpected Autobot ally, the rest of the storytelling mostly relying on dry battlefield commands (Shoot those big guns! Protect that door at all costs!) and cheesy banter. The few attempts to elicit an emotional response come across as laughable, though to be fair, there are enough tongue-in-cheek one-liners to suggest that developer High Moon Studios was in on the joke.

Concentrating as it does on being as much a scripted summer blockbuster as it is a game, Fall of Cybertron does not allow you to invite a buddy along for the ride; unlike in War for Cybertron, the campaign is for one person only, which is a disappointing loss. However, the cooperative Escalation mode is back, and it's an enjoyable take on the Horde mode formula so common in modern shooters. You and three buddies (or strangers) fend off 15 waves of progressively more powerful enemies, each of you in control of a single Transformer. Some maps have you playing as Autobots, and others as Decepticons, but the roles are the same. One bot has a healing beam, another can refill the team's ammo, and so forth. Among the four of you, you should be able to cope with the dangers, with a little ingenuity and battlefield control.

The low resolution makes things look a little muddy when the action heats up.

More intriguing is that you earn currency as you shoot up snipers and Insecticons, and then spend it in various ways--purchasing ammo, opening doors to expand the battle arena, buying new guns, and eventually buying upgrades. Pennies don't rain from heaven, however, so you must spend your funds carefully. If your teammates drop money into opening a doorway into a new area and you spend your portion on a scattergun, they might end up cursing your selfish decision, and you might wish you'd had the freedom the extra space would have offered.

Competitive play is more predictable, at least from a structural standpoint. Team Deathmatch and a variation thereof, Capture the Flag, and Conquest are the modes available, and so you shoot the competition, perhaps while capturing control points or defending your flag. The moment-to-moment gameplay is great fun, however, in part thanks to the transformations. In the single-player campaign, there's rarely a strategic need to flip between robot and vehicular forms. On online battlefields, however, being effective means using each form to your advantage. There are four classes available, and you can take to the skies and rain down rockets, use your considerable bulk to soak up bullets on the ground, or zip around for quick, decisive strikes. It's a good mix that favors constant movement over camping, the only sour taste coming from brief and infrequent bouts of lag.

Perceptor does what he does best: percepting.

The diversity of battlefield tactics is elevated by the customization tools available to you. As you play, you earn experience, ultimately unlocking different weapons, weapon upgrades, and cosmetic pieces. You can make yourself look like Starscream if you want, but why not concoct a Transformer of your own imagining? The more you play, the more varied the action becomes, and the more unique you look. The elaborate customization and entertaining battles should keep franchise fans interested long enough to adapt a few different classes to their own play styles.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron's campaign is over in seven hours or so, some of its chapters hovering around 40 minutes, and others over in a quick 15. It's not as long as War for Cybertron, but it is more varied and more visually stimulating. Yet in leaving behind its predecessor's problems, it gained some of its own, sacrificing thrilling action in favor of noninteractive spectacle. PlayStation 3 owners don't get the full effect of such spectacle, their version of the game not rendering the fireworks in their proper glory. But owners of both consoles get a fun (if inconsistent) array of offline and online battles that scratch that action-flick itch.

The Good
Flight levels are great fun
Several sequences make you feel remarkably powerful
Roller coaster of a final level
Strong cooperative and competitive play
The Bad
Unfocused campaign is too often more exciting to watch than to play
Final encounter is a joke
Level design at odds with shooting model
Numerous technical and performance issues
6.5
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

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Discussion

0 comments
mesomorphin
mesomorphin

There's no way this only deserves a 6.5, there was alot of love and passion put into this game and it shows. Very fun game with great voice acting and epic set pieces. 8.5

srgiorgio
srgiorgio

Great game. Even better than wfc. Deserves at least 8 imo

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

If no one here likes the reviews given out by Gamespot, then why the Fack do you all pay for a subscription to the site?!?!?!?

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

I'm seeing a slight disconnect between this review and my experience playing on PS3, and I know some others have been as well.

 

SOME players on PS3, not all, are having serious graphical issues. Some have EXTREMELY minor issues beyond the occasional slowdown the XBox version sees. Then some of us, like my-very-lucky-self are getting the full-quality experience.

 

The demo's graphics were visibly worse than WfC on a lot of people's consoles, but for me, they were slightly better. The release version is another step above that for me. A lot of people who complained have seen major improvements comparing demo to full version, some have seen no change. It's unreliable on PS3, but I'd recommend a "try before you buy" approach for anyone who would prefer the PS3 version but is unsure about the issues.

termadoyle
termadoyle

Wow, High Moon studios. I've been waiting for this game since it was first announced and now I have to play an inferior and crap version on my PS3? Wow...

tjsmoke63
tjsmoke63

Personally, I'd give this game an 8. The multiplayer is fun, I didn't find the campaign unfocused at all, and didn't encounter near the amount of technical issues the reviewer did. That's not saying there aren't some technical issues- the game did lock up on me twice, necessitating a restart of my system, and in the later chapters there was some framerate slowdown, but it was brief. Overall I found the graphics to be well done and the controls respond well in both single player and multiplayer. Definitely well worth checking out, especially if you're a Transformers fan and enjoyed T:WFC. Just my opinion.

wide_ocean
wide_ocean

Aaaand another round of whining and moaning over the low score of a game you obviously already own and know and like and want to see validated by others. If you like it, fine, if not, then a high score won't make your purchase less of a waste of money. Read the reviews, ignore the score. Babies.

Gusz2
Gusz2

I ve been looking the last reviews in Gamespot, and one game that had the same sovore, 6,5 was Lollipop Chainsaw, really? they have the same Fu#$ing score? are kidding me?

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

In my opinion, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is yet another disappointment for a Transformers video game from High Moon Studios for the Playstation 3, because it was port poorly. How can they screw up the Transformers franchise yet they did justice to the Bourne franchise with Robert's Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy makes no sense to me.

Gusz2
Gusz2

WTF... These last of Reviews of Gamespots are kin... idiot, i dunno... only strange Scores, the game is great, why 6,5???

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

I think the big difference for a lot of Transformers fans, such as myself, is that we already have a lot of characterization associated with each different playable character, so we have been filling in the gaps ourselves where the game comes up short.  For TF fans, this game is an easy 9.0 (at least it is to me so far).  The characterizations that I have so far encountered jive really well with what I already think of the characters, so it's nice to see them behave and talk in a way that I was hoping to see.

 

The gameplay itself is definitely a HUGE step up from WFC.  I've only touched the main campaign so far and I have been enjoying the hell out of it.  The set piece challenges have been a lot of fun, and exploring around looking for recordings and blueprints has been fun too.

 

The SUPER HUGE BOT that shows up during the first few chapters is a super well done sequence.  I absolutely loved it when it happened, because I really didn't see it coming until very shortly before it happened.  I knew he was in the game, but assumed he might not show up until later.

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @termadoyle I JUST posted a comment after yours... try it for yourself before saying that. A lot of PS3 gamers (myself included) are getting a perfectly good product. The problems with the game are inconsistent, and don't affect everyone.

twztid13
twztid13

 @veskalin86

 because "maybe?" Those are big charges, especially with no proof. Got any?

twztid13
twztid13

 @Gusz2

 What's wrong with Lollipop Chainsaw? That's a very good game, imho.

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @interrasteral7 For many PS3 gamers, it works and looks great. It's a minority having issues, HMS have acknowledged the problem, but maybe you should help them fix it by emailing them at feedback@transformersgame.com instead of ranting about it somewhere they'll probably never see?

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

 @Gelugon_baat Than how the fack do u have a subscription like account? When I first joined I had to sign-up for a subscription, either that or get next to no features when using this site...

termadoyle
termadoyle

 @obliviondoll Thanks. I will download the demo as soon as my internet lets me and try it out. I still hope they patch it up though. Because I will be buying this game soon anyway and I don't have a gaming PC. 

veskalin86
veskalin86

 @Gelugon_baat as you can see my comment was removed... Truth usually hurts.... and its always hidden....

veskalin86
veskalin86

 @twztid13 I got my own sources to say that.... IGN follows the same path.... unfortunately...Oh well never mind. Not worth arguing over this....

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat are you monitorating these comments here? nobody can say anythling about the bad score made by Gamespot that you are there to defend it? Is it you kevin Vanord?

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat are you following me or what? so.. that's the point buddy, COMPARISON, have compared these two games? Compare and answer later!

Gusz2
Gusz2

so... that's why.... and tell me why all the other sites game unless score 8,0 to this game, can you answer mighty Gamespot's Greatest Fanboy?

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

 @palass_96  @Bgrngod good job numb-nuts!! some people haven't played this game yet and now you ruin the surprise!! and Yes, I hold both you you responsible for this travesty!!! at least Palass_96 didn't out right give it way way, but ruined when it happened... he stabbed with the knife, you (Bgrngod) just twisted the knife till the surprise was killed. Good Game...

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @termadoyle I hope they fix it for the people who have problems too, even if it's not a problem I have to deal with. And I hope you're in with the majority seeing a great product instead of the few who have problems.

veskalin86
veskalin86

let me guess, you are some fat ass that sits all day in front of the screen monitoring everyones review so you can catch someone disagreeing with gamespot reviews.... do cry, this is a mere speculation....  

veskalin86
veskalin86

I dont want you to understand me... your little monkey brain is not quite capable of that. so lets not go down that road, you might not like what you find. your a funny person...ahahahahah  thanks for making me laugh.... 

veskalin86
veskalin86

 @Gelugon_baat I dont you think you are understanding my point. Like I said enough said. Why bother poking on websites? then read my last comment, obviously you were not paying attention..... I really don't care about reviews or reviewers.  there no such thing as conspiracy theories and allegations of corruption, there is only truth........ only hidden from public....i would tell you what my job is and perhaps you would shut up, but i would be jeopardizing myself and there is no need for that. no need to be here fighting for it. end off. Cheers and peace

veskalin86
veskalin86

 @Gelugon_baat you claim to have a better knowledge about the incident than me... its good to be full of certain, but do you really know about that better than me. i doubt it. Jeff was not the guilty... I admire hes truthful review... Reviewers scare to give bad reviews to big name publishers just in case the same happens...its not the reviewers fault, its the big bosses that are constantly on their asses, all they care (so does everyone else) is money and profit.  I refuse to rely on reviews from any website to judge a game. i make my own judgement by playing it. I think most of gamers are the same. Only thing i do when comin to websites like gamespot is to look at good videos and screenshots. the rest is sham.... enough said.

veskalin86
veskalin86

 @Gelugon_baat  Why the anxiety? are you working for gamespot? a journalist pherhaps? or just a nob that don't have anything else to do? 

twztid13
twztid13

 @Gusz2  @SnappySnake

Surely you understand that Kevin would face remarks from people saying he IS a fanboy if he gave it a higher score, and many thought it was undeserved. Since he puts up with that no matter what his review score is, he most likely goes with what he truly believes & let the chips fall where they may. Just my opinion.

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat hahaha... i never asked to change it, i just don't agree, could have said that he loves Hittler, he'll be an idiot, but still i won't tell him to change...

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat Yes. you're the one who said that is the protector of the opinions!

 

And when you do some idiot thing, i'll call you idiot.. wait, are you really idiot, aren't you? hhahahahaha

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat when i see something that i don't agree i give my opinion buddy... No, i'm not whining, if whining is give my opinion, so it's... but what do you want? that everybody enters here and say "oh Mr. Reviewer i'll never oppose your opinion, you're totally right!" You said about opinion, you're the one who doesn't respect others opinion, trying to say to the people what they should do... i just gave my opinion about the work of a professional, if his next review be good and consistend i'll congrat him, otherwise i'll criticize...

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @SnappySnake and one more thing, if it's not important, why they do it? why are we reading it? IT IS IMPORTANT!

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @SnappySnake aah... that's what i'm telling him buddy... if anyone come here thinking: "I'll read the FoC review, and see if it's worthy!", and come here and see this score won't even give the game a chance! most of people don't have time to search more for the game, in my opinion the score is essential, if you make a test where you do fine, and your classmate don't make so good as you and the valuer says that you get the same score that your classmate, would you say, "well, okay then, that's your opinion" and i didn't say that i won't buy it, I WILL! But it's a desappointing to see such a big site as GameSpot don't give the credits that it deserves, even when you don't like something as a game, like an RPG, you must recognize what is good as a professional, Kevin can't be a fanboy, he must be professional and analyze the game right!

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat don't cry, please...i call idiot and you're already crying? please...

SnappySnake
SnappySnake

 @Gusz2  A good score is important? What, are you some kind of sheep? You'd take your advice from someone else's review without playing the game yourself and making your own opinion of the game? FINE. Be part of the flock of sheep and listen to the reviewers without ever picking up a game for yourself. Follow the thoughts that are given to you. Do not think for yourself.  

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat I have my doubts...

 

i repeat, you despise the likes of me, who can't take a diffrent opinion.. so i should enter here and just agree? If i don't agree i won't just stay quiet, i've got my own opinion! Scores are made to compare, it's like a test of 0,0 to 10 that's it...and you everytime that i enter here and see a good or great game being downgraded i'll give my opinion, because many people don't have time to analyze a game, so a good score is important! it's not math, but somethings aren't so diferent, how come all other sites gave a 8,0 to 8,5? Are they kind? WTF...

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @Gusz2  @Gelugon_baat When it comes to an opinion about a game, there is NO right and wrong (Journey being the exception that proves the rule, because any dislike for the game is provably false). EVERY person, reviewer or otherwise, will have a different opinion. Also, NO, an individual reviewer does NOT always speak for their entire site.

 

I, personally, have the PS3 version and haven't, with my copy of the game on my PS3 with my TV, had anywhere near the issues this reviewer has mentioned. The majority of reviews, even PS3 specific ones, make no mention of the problems. BUT it's mentioned on most forums for the game, and has been acknowledged by the developers themselves, that there are problems FOR SOME PEOPLE which have a significant negative impact.

 

If you want a LEGITIMATE argument against the score, the above can be taken in context and mentioned, since it was known BEFORE RELEASE that a small minority of PS3 players were having graphical problems, and that HMS were working on it for the release version. If the reviewer had done their research (even reading up about the game on their own forums would have been a nice start), they probably wouldn't have treated the "bad porting" of the PS3 version as quite such a serious flaw.

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat there's Wrong and Right, oh yes sir, there is! but it's just the guy who Review it? i don't think so, his opinion represents the site's opinion!! You say that you defend anyone's opinion, but you see the other's comments and reply like the person can't complain about the score, it's my opinion, i don't you defend it? oh, because you despise the likes of me, that have got own opinion... what you say, doesn't make sense, you protect the other's opinions but you can't accept the likes of me...

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @Gelugon_baat so... you mean that all the other reviewers are wrong and gamespot is right? Are they more capable to review? i don't get it then, you don't agree with GameSpot, and with me either, but you defend them... why are you against the "likes" of me? if you wish the others to respect the opposing opinion, why can i oppose GS opinion? wow... you're an idiot..

palass_96
palass_96

@JunoWalker Omg spoiler! I've got news for you. Metroplex has been in Transformers since the 80s so he is a pretty well know character. Plus if your going to cuss spell the word right because it makes you look like a moron.

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

 @obliviondoll  @palass_96  @Bgrngod And Maybe, just maybe, some of us didn't ever watch anything about the game except play the demo. And therefore you facked it all up!! Why play the game if you watch someone else play through it in different gameplay vids. I only check the vids if I'm still unsure after the review and there's no demo. Otherwise I like to find out what happens as I play the damn game seeing hows I coughed up $60 and I want my monies worth!!

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @JunoWalker  @palass_96  @Bgrngod Yeah, total spoiler that wasn't mentioned in any of the pre-release trailers... OH WAIT!

 

But they never had multiple previews centred around his appearance... OH WAIT!

 

Pretty sure the devs spoiled that one all on their own. Multiple times over. It's about as big a surprise as seeing Grimlock after he's been plastered all over the box.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    This follow-up to 2010's War for Cybertron depicts the final hours of the civil war that led the Autobots and Decepticons to abandon their home planet.
    8.1
    Average User RatingOut of 548 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
    Developed by:
    High Moon Studios
    Published by:
    Activision
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Animated Blood, Violence