High Moon Studios did something somewhat unexpected with 2010’s Transformers: War for Cybertron: They made a Transformers game that was actually not mediocre as most fans were expecting. In fact, it turned out to be pretty damn good.
In the follow-up, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, they seem to be taking lessons learned from the original and expanding on them in some exciting ways. Fall of Cybertron picks up shortly after the events of the previous game. Cybertron is infected with Dark Energon, and the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons is still raging. With little hope left and the final battle looming on the horizon, the two warring factions have to reach a decision that’s been a long time coming. Cybertron doesn’t have much longer; it’s time to find a new home.
At E3 I had a chance to get some hands-on time with two of the campaign missions they were showing off, one featuring returning favorite Bumblebee and another featuring new inclusion to the game franchise Grimlock as well as enjoy some face time with J.D. Livergood, producer at Activision, which you can see below.
Bumblebee handles exactly how you’d expect him to if you’ve played the previous game, or really any recent third person shooter. There’s plenty of shooting action with various weapons, machine guns, rocket launchers and the like, as well as the ability to transform into a car for a little faster paced action, but it’s more or less the same feeling as what you’ve played before. That’s not to say it’s bad, just more of what you’ve already experienced. The real excitement that’s to be had is from the new inclusions to the game, such as the one I was able to try out, Grimlock.
Grimlock is a bruiser, eschewing the use of guns in favor of a more in-your-face melee approach. Being a massive, unstoppable monster allows you to wade into large groups of enemies and absolutely wreck anything that gets in your path. It’s not all beat-downs, however. Although Grimlock is much more durable than the other Transformers, he’s still able to be taken out. And there’s only one way to get his health back up: more devastation. With a mechanic similar to one of my favorite games from last year,Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, you refill your health by getting in close to an enemy and performing an execution finishing move. But, of course, that’s only one side of Grimlock’s coin.
Grimlock’s transformation doesn’t work the same as the other characters; his is only available when you’ve dished out and received enough damage to fill up a rage meter. And after you’ve managed to do that, well, that’s when the fun really begins.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’re already aware of what Grimlock’s transformation is. If you’re not, allow me to explain why it’s such a big deal. See, Grimlock isn’t your ordinary Transformer that can turn himself into something boring like a car or a truck. He doesn’t even become something a little more exciting than that, like a tank or a jet. No, it’s much more fun than any of that. Grimlock transforms himself into a freakin’ dinosaur, more specifically a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Transforming from a massive, unstoppable monster into a massive, unstoppable monster that’s also a dinosaur is just as exciting as it sounds. Your standard melee attack becomes an area of effect stomp that destroys anything within its radius. Your execution move becomes a much more devastating chomping attack. And you get Grimlock’s first taste of ranged combat: the ability to breathe fire. It doesn’t last forever, as your rage meter will deplete while you’re in the transformed mode, but it’s incredible while it lasts. And it just gives you that much more incentive to build that rage meter back up so you can get your prehistoric domination on once again.
In addition to the single player campaign, there will once again be a significant multiplayer mode as well. They haven’t revealed a lot of information on that front as of yet, but they did drop a couple of interesting tidbits:
First off, in a move that I’m sure many people have been dreaming of for quite a long time now, you can basically build your own Transformer. As is expected nowadays in online multiplayer shooters, you can customize your load out of weapons and perks. On top of that, however, you’re now also able to customize your entire gigantic transforming robot form. Throw on some new arms or legs, a new body, or even wings on your Transformer and then add a custom paint job to make it truly your own.
They also announced Escalation mode, which they described as being similar to the now pervasive Horde mode from Gears of War. While they didn’t give out any solid details, you can probably imagine how that’s going to play. A team of dudes versus an enemy force that increases in size and difficulty as you defeat wave after wave until none are left standing.
War for Cybertron was a pleasant surprise when it released in 2010. While it didn’t really break new ground mechanically, it finally gave Transformers fans a legitimately solid game and not something they would suffer through just because it featured their favorite characters. And from the looks of things, Fall of Cybertron will be an extremely worthy follow-up. With more action the fans have come to know and love, an expanded multiplayer mode and, of course, Dinobots, fans may finally have a little light at the end of the Bay engulfed tunnel.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron rolls out on August 28th for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.
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