Sunday, September 9, 2012

Second Opinion - Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

As a fan of Transformers, and the brother of a fan who's into it way more than I am, I've had plenty of exposure to the franchise through its various TV incarnations (some on DVD), comic book runs and movies. However, I hadn't really gotten into any video games until the excellent War For Cybertron game by High Moon released in 2010. Naturally I began to anticipate its 2012 sequel, Fall of Cybertron, in hopes that it could take every fault and remove it, thus improving the experience. After finally getting in a playthrough, I believe that the developers have done just that.

Fall of Cybertron takes place within the Aligned Continuity of Transformers, with various story and visual elements to help establish this fact that echo within the currently airing Prime cartoon. The story on its own is very engaging, transitioning between the different playable characters in a very natural progression, each section highlighting a character's abilities and personalities. To that end, gameplay is varied well, with stealth and platforming sections among others that emphasize flight or firepower. Each character also controls very well and their levels bring out the best of their capabilities in a way that can actually make you think about what you're doing. As for the in-game store, its nice that Teletraan 1 remembers your purchases so that you don't have to repurchase everything in each chapter.

There's plenty of visual appeal, with graphics that establish a unique style in the game's aesthetic and more varied environments than its predecessor. Brighter colors help everyone and everything stand out from each other and allow the awesome moments be even more so. What also helps is the sound, with an amazing score to set the tone and top notch voice acting that includes the likes of Peter Cullen, Troy Baker, Steve Blum and Nolan North. You can really sense the level of effort the actors put into their roles, the result being a delight to hear.

Of course, it's also obvious how much the developers are into Transformers, considering everyone working on the game is a fan. There are plenty of references to Generation 1 peppered into the game, especially the 1986 animated movie, with dialogue and similar scenes lifted straight from the feature. This is admittedly funnier to those who have seen the original cartoon series, but on their own the references still fit within the narrative pretty well. References that don't influence the narrative can have an effect on the gameplay, though very rarely, as it is with the reward for completing the campaign.

From start to finish, Fall of Cybertron is a game that can display not only a development team's devotion to a franchise, but also their ability to create a well crafted game. While enemies can create an annoyance from time to time, the good traits vastly outweigh the bad, with more varied gameplay to help make each chapter feel unique and memorable. This is a game that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their status as a Transformers fan.

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