I got my hands on the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron demo over the weekend thanks to the GameStop pre-order offer. As a G1 Transformers fan who enjoyed War for Cybertron, I wanted to get a peek at what’s been changed for better or worse along with the multiplayer and customizations. Let’s take a look at what PS3 and Xbox 360 owners can expect when the demo lands on Tuesday, July 31.
The Fall of Cybertron demo features two bite-sized morsels of an Autobot campaign starring Bumblebee and a Decepticon campaign with the Combaticon, Vortex. I’m not sure if the Bumblebee campaign takes place at the beginning of the game or at the end but the basic gist is that Optimus Prime is leading a contingent of Autobots on a spaceship away from Cybertron and through a portal to find a new home when Megatron and a Decepticon warship attacks. It is here that we begin a basic controls tutorial and learn that Bumblebee now matches the Transformers Prime version of himself (which is part of the same canon) and cannot speak.
The Bumblebee mission is fairly straightforward as you run down some hallways, shoot some Decepticons, run down more hallways, get a more powerful weapon, run down some hallways and blow up Decepticons. The scrap hits the turbine at the end though when Bumblebee run into a confrontation between Optimus and Megatron and that’s when the demo mission ends.
Vortex’s mission takes us back to some vivid G1 cartoon memories as it begins with Starscream scheming to hijack an Autobot energon transport and barking orders to the Combaticons who I imagined doing massive eye rolls…if they had eyes. Once the mission gets started, it is a nice change of pace from the Bumblebee piece as Vortex transforms into a helicopter which transforms into a jet when you pull the left controller trigger for a boost. The level design also illustrates High Moon Studios’ commitment to designing missions around the Transformers’ individual abilities. With Vortex, I was hopping in and out of helicopter form and raining death from above as I cleared out the latter half of the stage before it ended.
The largest amount of playtime you will likely spend with the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is with the multiplayer demo. All four classes – Infiltrator, Destroyer, Titan and Scientist – are available and each are leveled up individually as you play which unlocks customizations such as new body parts and weapons. Each class has their strength, weakness and own special abilities such as the Infiltrator’s cloaking ability or the Scientist being able to heal.
The customizations aren’t especially deep but they are unique enough to allow you to concoct your own Transformer. I just hope that the promised Dinobot and Insecticon DLC add-on comes sooner rather than later after launch.
There is only one map for both Team Deathmatch and Conquest modes with ammo, energon cubes and power-ups liberally sprinkled around. While the modes and gameplay are fairly standard for a third-person shooter, it’s hard to deny the unique flavor and fun that from the use of the Transformers license like rolling around as a tank blasting everything or flying through the map as a jet and dive-bombing opponents only to transform at the last second and finish them off.
WHAT’S NEW AND WRAP-UP
A couple of the new gameplay features in the game include the ability to switch weapons/perspective by pressing the ‘B’ button on the Xbox 360 or Circle button on the PS3. While not a true cover shooter like Gears of War, this shift allows players to better hide behind cover while aiming and firing. High Moon has also added regenerating overshields to the characters though player health will quickly disappear when the overshield is gone. The graphics also look much improved which was actually my son’s very first comment upon seeing the demo in action.
The one area we wish High Moon Studios would have upgraded Fall of Cybertron was in the use of split-screen for multiplayer. I understand that co-op doesn’t work in the campaign with each level designed to take advantage of specific characters. However, the same cannot be said of multiplayer. Some of the best time my son and I have had playing games together has been with games like Halo: Reach where we can play Firefight together on the same couch. It’s rather disappointing that we won’t be able to do the same with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron which is a better fit for a nerdy father and son to play together.
The Transformers: Fall of Cybertron demo hits the Playstation Network and Xbox LIVE on Tuesday, July 31 as mentioned above. The full retail game drops for the two consoles and the PC on August 21.
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