As a follow-up to 2010′s War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron had some pretty big shoes to fill. Couple that with the disappointment that was Dark of the Moon, a movie tie-in that lived up to the stigma, and gamers could argue that High Moon Studios needed to blow them out of the water in order to get back in their good graces.
Thankfully what we’ve seen of Fall of Cybertron so far has not only dazzled but also showcased a true evolution of this new franchise. At E3 2012, High Moon gave us a closer look at some of the game’s many missions, introduced a few of the starring characters, and detailed the return of a fan-favorite mode. Read on for more details
Unlike War for Cybertron, Fall will feature missions that build one upon the other, and also feature one main character, or at least that’s the impression we were given. Rather than being able to select between two or three Autobots or Decepticons, players will fill the role of a single Transformer that was handpicked by High Moon for that particular sequence. It’s a bold move that could turn off fans that like to play favorites, but it also helps each mission feel unique.
On display were four missions each markedly different than the one before it. One featured Optimus Prime fighting through an open “courtyard” while at the same time calling down airstrikes from the behemoth Transformer Metroplex, while another saw Starscream constantly shifting between robot and vehicle form, an effect that never seems to get old and is particularly detailed this time around.
The real standouts from the demo, though, were a mission starring Grimlock and one featuring Jazz and Cliffhanger in a Transformers version of a buddy cop sequence. Grimlock’s mission called to mind the game Asura’s Wrath, where the player is slowly building up a ‘Rampage’ meter by eliminating enemies before finally turning into dinosaur form and laying waste to everything. After seeing two missions focused on third person shooter gameplay this Grimlock mission created a nice change of pace, and also a chance to focus on the strengths of a different type of Transformer.
Providing a perfect counterpoint to that mission was the aforementioned sequence that features Jazz and Cliffjumper almost in a buddy comedy. Though the gameplay itself was more or less familiar it was the casting of Troy Baker as the voice of Cliffjumper and Nolan North as the voice of Jazz that really sold the mission.
For those that might not follow the illustrious profession of video game voice actors, Troy Baker and Nolan North are the top male voice actors working in the business. Their voices are almost indistinguishable and they typically get cast in leading roles that could have easily been given to the other. That’s not meant to demean their work, each has found a way to prolong their career and remain in the spotlight, but it’s just funny that it took so long for the two to riff off each other.
That alone should be worth the price of admission, but thankfully the Jazz/Cliffjumper mission is only one part of what appeared to be a 13-mission experience. Some fan favorite characters might not get the attention they did in the previous game, but High Moon appears to know which Transformer fits in with which sequence, and they are making it work.
High Moon also announced that Escalation Mode – essentially horde mode with transforming robots – would be making a return in Fall of Cybertron. They wouldn’t share any details on the mode just yet, but they wanted fans to know it’s coming back.
It’s also worth noting that the game looks extremely varied and colorful this time around. Gone are the drab purple hallways of War for Cybertron, replaced with some open combat areas that are infused with a ton of color. On the whole it seems like every criticism waged toward the previous game has been addressed in one way or another, and we can’t wait to play it.
Are you ready for more Transformers in Fall of Cybertron? Is it about time that Troy Baker and Nathan Drake team up for a game?
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron releases August 28, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Follow me on Twitter @ANTaormina