Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Hands-On Preview – Grimlock Love Battle!
Written Saturday, August 04, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Most people grow out of playing with toys by the time they reach the age of eleven or twelve, but if like us you're a man-child fast approaching thirty, you probably still have all of your old He-Man figures, original Star Wars toy collection and maybe, just maybe you've even bought yourself some new action figures recently. However, Transformers will forever be cool, and to this day we have our old Scorponok standing pride of place on our desk, next to our G1 Blaster, Prowl and Soundwave, while we've been convinced to put the rest away in boxes. We love Transformers, which is why when we tell you that War for Cybertron was good and Fall of Cybertron could well be even better, you'd better believe it.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was the last game we saw at E3. As the showfloor was being taken to bits and everyone was filing out of the LA Convention Center, we wanted to soak up as much as we could of High Moon's Transformers sequel, but alas didn't get the chance. Fortunately for us, Activision managed to accommodate our wishes to play more of Fall of Cybertron, giving us the opportunity to go hands-on with three rather sizeable portions of the single-player campaign, preceded by a demonstration of the game's new multiplayer character customisation for the first time.
Our hands-on begins with Bumblebee aboard the Autobots' huge ship the Ark - a transport ship Optimus Prime and his posse are using to leave a dying Cybertron – as the Decepticons attempt to take over the vessel with huge mechanical clamps and tensile tow cables. Pouring in through the windows of the cockpit, the Decepticons launch their attack and Bumblebee springs into action. Assuming control of the plucky yellow Autobot, we get shooting our way through Megatron's minions, and happily the same third-person shooter gameplay from War for Cybertron is very much intact, albeit with some of the rough edges smoothed off a bit.
Transforming is still a mere button press and a quick animation away, with the iconic sound still present and correct as you change form. What we learn from Bumblebee's section is that the core gunplay remains just as weighty and satisfying as it was in WFC, with the story promising to be even more epic and compelling too. Visually, High Moon's extra effort also shows, with more colour and variation on show in this single portion of the game, while the addition of specularity and varying degrees of shine or wear to the copious metal on show also helps freshen things up somewhat. That same variety extends to the subsequent sections we get our hands on, the next of which is the Grimlock brawl we saw at E3 in June.
Facing off against the Insecticons while Kickback cajoles you from his perch above the battleground, controlling Grimlock is massively empowering. Armed with his sword and shield, Grimlock is a force to be reckoned with and actually getting the chance to take control of the rampaging Dinobot is fantastic, despite the limitations imposed on his ability to transform. His Rage meter accumulates at a pretty swift rate too, so before long you're able to transform and enjoy his extended cinematic animation as he changes.
For the final section of our hands-on demo, we're presented with a section playing as one of the five parts that make up the huge combiner, Bruticus. Vortex is a Combaticon, whose transformation enables him to change into a helicopter that in turn can fold its rotors away to boost like a jet. He's not quite a triple-changer, but he's near as damn it. Designed with Vortex's abilities in mind, the level we play through has us weaving through tunnels with our Combaticon buddy Blast Off, before the environment opens out and we're set upon from all sides by Autobot enemies. Dropping down to ground level, we're able to open a weapon pod that spawns a different random weapon each time you play, and the luck of the draw arms us with a rather tasty bit of heavy firepower, making decimating the Autobot forces and the turret churning rockets our way a blast.
Switching to his helicopter form, Vortex is also able to strafe enemies from a great height, raining missiles down on the unfortunate Autobot troops below. It's nothing that hasn't already been done before in War for Cybertron of course, but the core mechanics of transforming, blasting and exploiting the advantages of your character's alternate form is still enormous fun. Yet with such a diverse range of Transformers on offer, you're unlikely to be repeating the same kind of objectives, although the key components thankfully promise to remain the consistent throughout. If not, the game could prove somewhat schizophrenic.
'Variety' seems to be the watchword for Fall of Cybertron however, and given the somewhat repetitious nature of its predecessor, that can only be considered a good thing. Stir in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron's improved visuals, grander scale, slicker presentation and fan service with all of that variety, and you have something that should be more than meets the eye. Multiplayer too looks to be a much deeper and more absorbing experience, with more invested in your own Transformer thanks to the ability to level up and unlock a slew of body parts and accoutrements for your customised creation. High Moon has apparently thought of everything then, and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron feels like a proper sequel that exudes quality and polish. For further proof of that fact, you can check out the demo, which is available to download now. Till all are one!
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is out on August 21st in North America and August 24th in Europe.