E3 2012: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Preview – Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger
Written Monday, June 11, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Robots in disguise, more than meets the eye and all that, Transformers is something that comes with broad appeal pre-baked right into the package, and following the relative success of War for Cybertron, developer High Moon Studios is looking to build upon what it started with that game. And so the war becomes the fall, and Fall of Cybertron continues to chart the preceding time millions of years before the Transformers ever made it Earth, picking up where War for Cybertron left off.
“Massive scale and epicness” are two of the watchwords being wheeled out for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron according to Senior Creative Director Dave Craven, as he takes us through our demo of the game. Starting out with Starscream, we immediately get to see this scale at work as the scheming Decepticon swoops across the Cybertron skyline from platform to platform, up to his old tricks, setting charges on Shockwave's tower to sabotage Megatron and make yet another play for the Decepticon's top spot.
In robot form, Starscream is able to sneak up on enemies, plant charges on their back and cloak himself, while in jet form he can barrel roll and launch missiles. He's an all-rounder, but his abilities are nothing we haven't seen before in previous Transformers titles. Grimlock however, is a slightly different beast. For starters, he's unable to transform on the fly and has to accumulate Rage to fill a meter that enables him to unleash his fearsome dinosaur form.
You'll get the chance to play through Grimlock's new origin story in Fall of Cybertron, which mostly seems to involve going on an all-out rampage as he discovers his new powers. Grimlock is also different in his robot guise, as he has no gun. Instead, he's a melee fighter who packs an energon sword and shield, and cuts a path through anything that gets in his way. Grimlock smash, indeed.
During our section with Grimlock, we get to see the fire-breathing space T-rex pummelling a bunch of insecticons, led by a wittering Decepticon who's watching the action unfold from the safety of a balcony above the arena. Letting loose with Grimlock's dinobot form is a blast, as he stomps the insecticons, crunching them to lumps of sparking metal in his jaws, grabbing enemies, throwing them to the ground, stampeding through groups of them to knock them flying and of course, breathing fire all over the place. You're also able to pull off executions that reward health and help you accumulate Rage faster, so the inability to change forms at will shouldn't pose too much of a limitation.
As a robot, Grimlock is pretty quick on his feet too – especially for a lumbering dinobot - able to execute a rolling dodge, which he puts to good use as the insecticons charge towards him and miss, hitting the arena wall leaving them wide open to a flanking attack. With the insecticons soon reduced to scrap, the Decepticon watching from above makes a break for the exit. Slug (better known to purists as Slag) the triceratops dinobot marches into the arena, crushing the fleeing antagonist underfoot. Score one for the dinobots.
The final sections of the demo focuses on some of the latter portions of the game, with Optimus Prime and Warpath fighting together against hordes of Decepticon soldiers, while Metroplex lends his towering assistance in the background. It's here that the scale really hits us, with Metroplex standing as a vertiginous, imposing presence, responding to Prime's commands with airstrikes and fist slams. He's even able to barge huge attack towers, sending them toppling in typically spectacular fashion. Make no mistake, High Moon is really pouring it on for Fall of Cybertron.
You'll even be able to assume control of Metroplex, Craven tells us. That's as well as being able to play as Bruticus, one of the huge combining Decepticons, comprised of several different Transformers. Each Transformer also has their own unique abilities, so while Starscream can employ subterfuge and Optimus Prime has the power you'd expect from the Autobot leader, Jazz has a grappling hook he can use to navigate his way through stages, moving between platforms and plateaus with speed and grace. Jazz is also a turbo-charged sports car, so he's a character almost entirely focused on speed and manoeuvrability. He'll partner up with Cliffjumper during his chapters in Fall of Cybertron's story, with what Craven describes as a “buddy cop movie” dynamic between the two Autobots.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron looks to be taking the solid foundations that High Moon built with War for Cybertron, expanding the game in every direction, from the scale of its battles to the range of different characters and abilities you'll have at your fingertips. You'll be able to switch out weapons at Teletraan1 store terminals and engage in the same kind of action-packed shooter action that War for Cybertron brought to the table. Throw in the return of the series' 4-player co-op Escalation Mode with improved character customisation options and more, and you have all the makings of an exciting sequel.
We'd have liked to see the Transformers taking the fight to Earth, as Cybertron still seems to be a relentlessly dark, metallic and oppressive place with little indication that High Moon is pushing the boat out in terms of aesthetic variety, but with the narrative escalating and presenting new characters with fresh gameplay types, Transformers: Fall of Cyberton looks to have the potential to be a more than worthy successor to War for Cybertron. Roll out!
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is out on August 28th in North America and August 31st in Europe.