Fall of Cybertron picks up where its 2010 predecessor left off – resources on the Transformers’ homeworld are dangerously low, the Decepticons are pressing their advantage and the Autobots are left with no choice but to evacuate the planet. Cue thirteen chapters of intense shooting action, swapping between fan-favourite characters as you progress through the surprisingly complex military sci-fi narrative, with plenty of focus on both sides of the conflict.
High Moon Studios have once again created a digital ode to the franchise, the developers’ clear love for the saga leaping from the screen. Cybertron is full of glorious locales and imaginative character designs, and while level design can be a touch linear there are still plenty of secrets to find throughout. Gameplay is broadly a robotic take on the third person, cover-based action presented by the likes of Gears of War, though the core transformation mechanic and plenty of variety in weapons and skills keeps things fresh. Unfortunately, it’s still a little too easy to transform – pressing in the left thumbstick – when you just want to move around, especially when combat gets heated.
Sadly, one of the biggest draws of Fall of Cybertron ends up being one of the most frustrating – the chance to play as Grimlock, complete with ferocious T-rex mode. His section is teased through the single player campaign and while the intent is clearly to whet fans’ appetite, the approach instead breeds impatience, dampening the brighter notes in earlier chapters. Worse, when you finally do get to control the leader of the mighty Dinobots, it’s for all too brief a time, and requires learning a new play style (slaughtering Decepticons to build rage, enabling transformation into dinosaur mode) to make use of him. What should be an awesome moment instead becomes an underwhelming one. A similar criticism can be levelled against the short time playing as Bruticus, the Decepticon combiner.
Curiously, the co-op mode enjoyed by War For Cybertron fails to reappear, which will lessen incentive to replay the main story. Though online multiplayer will fill that gap to an extent, it offers few surprises and scant longevity. Relatively minor flaws at heart though, and ones that fail to detract from an otherwise excellent shooter that will delight anyone who grew up with the Robots In Disguise.
Reviewed by Matt Kamen