At the beginning of the month I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Activision Spring Showcase and got the chance to see some of the new titles being released early this year. The first game was Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, the sequel to War for Cybertron, and showed off six sections of the game to demonstrate just how different this game is to the first. Fans of the first game were not disappointed but issues such as repetitive gameplay, dull environments and poor AI meant it could have been a better game and High Moon Studios believe they are creating just that with Fall of Cybertron.
The first section of the game featured the Decepticon, Vortex, who has the ability to transform into a helicopter. His task is to assist in the destruction of a bridge by taking out the various Autobots protecting it by any means necessary. The first thing you’ll notice about the game is just how big it is in comparison to War for Cybertron. Considering Cybertron is a huge planet, High Moon Studios wanted the players to feel like they were traversing a mammoth planet and created some very large open spaces. This doesn’t make travelling feel like a drag because the vehicle modes allow your transformers to cover great distances quite quickly. Vortex has the special ability to send a shockwave out that blasts enemies away that allows him to control the battlefield, and if he should become overwhelmed, he can hop into a flight form and blast enemies from the air.
Vortex is also one of five special Transformers known as Combaticons. These five are able to join together to create a powerful Transformer known as Bruticus, who is considerably larger than your regular bot – seventy feet tall to be exact! Bruticus was in the second demonstration and the transformation scene is reminiscent of some classic Power Rangers but obviously way cooler.
Once you gain control of Bruticus you will find him to be very powerful and capable of destroying regular Transformers with a single hit. His weapons consist of a helicopter blade spinning round on his left arm (probably from Vortex) and a laser firing from his right arm. These makes him a force to be reckoned with, but if a challenge should come up that tests these ridiculously powerful attacks his special ability, a devastating ground pound attack, should be enough to flatten any enemy in his path. The area in which Bruticus was fighting looked completely different to the one that Vortex was in and, again, was absolutely huge in size.
Switching over to the Autobots, the next gameplay section showed our favourite hero, Optimus Prime. We all know that Optimus Prime can transform into a truck and he is a born leader, which is why he was gifted with the power to control Metroplex – a city-sized Autobot. Seriously, this thing is massive and capable of taking out pretty much anything either by firing rockets at it, ramming it, stepping on it, or anything it likes!
Optimus Prime is fighting in the courtyards of his home city of Iacon and trying to protect it from the Decpticons. This was the first introduction of the Kiosks that are spread throughout the planet and allow you to equip your Transformer with new weapons and equipment. Also, a new feature that was added and not previously found in the first game was ammo dropping off enemies to lessen the strain on the players.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron isn’t all about running and gunning however as the Cliffjumper, an Autobot, sections of the game demonstrated. Cliffjumper has the ability to cloak, which means he is the perfect candidate to go to some of the more dangerous places on Cybertron. With the fate of the world out of their hands, it seems the Autobots wish to find out as much about their history as possible and Cliffjumper is on a mission to some of the ancient ruins on Cybertron. These sections of the game actually have you doing very little fighting and are there to reward loyal fans of the series with some lore not found anywhere else.
Cliffjumper does have his moments where slipping past Decepticons just isn’t possible but this is where his cloak ability can come in handy. Some of the enemy Transformers now have the ability to scan a certain area for a threat and it’s your job to not get caught in their line of sight. If you do, the enemy will transform into a more lethal form and start killing you. If you manage to hide, the Transformer will return to his scouting form and look for enemies again. A great addition to the game is the ability to perform a stealth kill on an enemy from behind and adds a whole new gameplay element to the game and gives the player more freedom of choice in the way they control the battlefield.
Another very different game mechanic that was shown is a grappling hook equipped by Jazz, an Autobot. This allows Jazz to traverse to places not accessible by ground Transformers and also means he can move around quickly – which is a good job considering he often wields a sniper rifle and needs to get to areas that are out of reach from his enemies. Unfortunately for Jazz, his enemies are also equipped with some pretty handy abilities, such as being able to fly and land on walls or ceilings. This is where developers High Moon wanted to not exactly make battles more difficult, but more challenging, in the sense that a player would not just be shooting one enemy after another in a tight corridor, but they would need to plan out their attacks against moving enemies in a large open area.
The last Transformer that was shown off was one that has been requested by players for a long time – Grimlock is finally here! Grimlock is a special Transformer because he is not able to transform on the fly like his fellow bots. He also uses a sword and shield as his weapons rather than guns which, makes him very unique. To add to this uniqueness once he has earned the right to transform, by killing enemies, he turns into a T-Rex that can smash enemies with his tail and fire a powerful laser from his mouth.
A very brief glimpse of the customisation of the multiplayer characters was shown and this time around players will be able to create their dream Transformer with literally hundreds of different items and millions of colours to choose from. This seems like it could give Fall of Cybertron the longevity War for Cybertron failed to receive in the multiplayer mode.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is due to be released autumn this year on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Click through the images above to view more screenshots from the game.