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 Transformers: Fall of Cybertron : What the critics are saying

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron: What the critics are saying

August 23, 2012 | By Danny Cowan

This edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to High Moon Studios' third-person action game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, which reviewers describe as "every bit the game that series buffs hoped for, and an improvement on its forebear." Transformers: Fall of Cybertron currently earns a score of 82 out of 100 at

Polygon's Arthur Gies scores Fall of Cybertron at 9 out of 10. "[Series predecessor title] War for Cybertron pulled off a surprising feat for an off-the-radar licensed title, nailing the shape-shifting dynamic of said robots in disguise and using it to make a shooter that felt different from everything around it," he begins. "It was fast, it was violent, and it sold Transformers like no other game ever had."

Gies continues: "Ignoring 2011's disastrous Dark of the Moon [...] Fall of Cybertron marks High Moon's second crack at the Transformers prequel universe it created, and it has managed an impressive second act. [...] By consistently adding new quirks and gameplay hooks and broadening its scale, Fall of Cybertron would shine as a unique shooter without the Transformers fan service."

With cover shooters dominating the genre, Fall of Cybertron emerges as something unique. "Fundamentally, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a non-cover-based third-person shooter," Gies explains. "The lack of cover forces a more aggressive style of play hinging on movement and melee attacks rather than stopping and popping. You can also transform from robot to vehicle at any point, lending another layer of options and mobility.

"It all adds up to an action game that escalates in just the right way to keep things moving, and things change often enough to maintain a sense of discovery throughout," Gies praises. "The disappointment of flying -- or driving -- solo notwithstanding, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron's relentless iteration on its own design and its constantly expanding scope set it apart from other third-person shooters."

Corey Cohen at Official Xbox Magazine rates Fall of Cybertron at 8.5 out of 10. "Continuing a saga started with War for Cybertron (2010), [High Moon Studios] show how the robots-in-disguise got from their ruined world to our distant orb...a journey guaranteed to please franchise fans," he writes.

"The roughly 12-hour campaign throws you right into the action, with the good-guy Autobots already cruising to Earth in their colossal Ark when the evil Decepticons latch onto the ship and attack," Cohen continues. "It's a dramatic opener that almost makes you forget it's doubling as a basic tutorial -- and almost immediately, we were hooked."

The game offers a surprising degree of variety, Cohen notes: "You get to play as a different -- and differently powered -- character in almost all 13 missions: you'll sneak around using Cliffjumper's cloaking ability, swing between ledges using Jazz's grapple hook, cut loose with Megatron's riot cannon and tank cannon, and as Soundwave, even unleash smaller bots (bird-like Laserbeak and quake-generator Rumble) as needed."

"It all makes for a very cool experience -- and a gorgeous one, too, thanks to lovingly detailed Unreal Engine graphics that make even the obligatory sewer-like area come alive," Cohen recalls. "Fall of Cybertron never quite transcends its franchise the way, say, Arkham City does -- loving Transformers will definitely heighten your appreciation of it -- but it's every bit the game that series buffs hoped for, and an improvement on its forebear."

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann gives Fall of Cybertron 3 out of 5 stars, describing it as "a pretty lackluster shooter that doesn't perk up until the end, and it's only truly suited for people who are fiending for a Transformers game."

Gerstmann finds the lack of cover during gameplay to be a severe drawback. "That's not to say that every third-person shooter absolutely must have a cover system," he admits, "but instead of coming up with some clever alternative, the answer is to simply manually stand behind objects, which obstructs your view to the point where the developers had to put in and then emphasize a 'switch your shooting hand' button that swaps the camera view."

The multiplayer mode is a highlight, however. "The competitive action gives you team deathmatch, CTF, capture-and-hold, and a headhunter mode," Gerstmann explains. "A lot of the same control and mechanic problems from the campaign exist here, as well, but the competitive multiplayer also has the game's coolest feature. You can create your own Transformers."

"The highs in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron are very high," Gerstmann concludes. "The final chapter and the way it presents its world are awesome things to see if you care about the Transformers franchise. It rewrites origins in ways that feel elegant, especially when compared to things like the movie trilogy. And it has the right idea with character-specific abilities that help to make the individual Transformers feel different.

"But it doesn't go far enough in that direction to stand out, and it ultimately feels like it's being held back by its by-the-numbers shooting. There are some great ideas here, but you'll have to wade through a pretty thick set of drawbacks to enjoy them. With that in mind, it'll really help if you're the sort of person who really cares about the Transformers franchise."

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