This past Tuesday, the sequel to the surprisingly good Transformers: War for Cybertron had a demo released on Play station 3 and Xbox 360. As the resident TF fan boy, it was up to me to take it for a spin and tell you what’s up.
Without getting too much into the history of the previous game (something I plan to do once I review the full game), I have to reiterate that after years of movie and cartoon licensed games, with one exception on the PS2, Transformers was not a series anyone expected much out of. War for Cybertron proved many people wrong with it’s surprisingly solid gameplay. With this demo, I can easily say they haven’t let us down and in fact improved a bit.
Most demos these days are little more than multiplayer beta tests in disguise. FoC bucks that trend and gives us two single player levels as well. They aren’t full levels as the WfC levels were really quite long. These feel more like three checkpoints of a level each. What we have first is a level where you play as Bumblebee (dear god, I am sick of Bumblebee) and learn the basics of the controls. This being the Unreal engine, you of course feel rather bulky and solid as you plod through the level, and the voice over from Ratchet helps acclimate you to the controls. Nothing much new here for your typical third person shooter: walk, dash, jump, and reload. The camera sits over your left shoulder, but at the push of a button, you can switch it to your right shoulder to make firing from cover much easier. I really dig this a lot. There is no cover mechanic so this little feature can make up for it, especially in the multiplayer. And yes, we get introduced to the transformation gimmick which once again fits seamlessly into your gameplay.
The second level is played as the Decepticon Vortex. As a member of the Combaticons team, you are on a mission to work with them to destroy a bridge. The majority of this level is spent in vehicle mode to counter balance the Bumblebee level’s robot mode fighting. Vortex is a Cybertronian helicopter so his movement involves a lot of precision which all come rather naturally, as the controls are very intuitive. However, if you pull the left trigger your blades fold back, jets fold out, and you are in turbo mode. Less precise movement in exchange for extreme speed. This shows you a bit of how useful the alternate modes in this game can be. Movement is a key factor to overcoming your opponents. Again, Transformers uses the Unreal engine, so expect vehicle modes to have a very floaty feel to them. You will be in complete control, but they won’t feel like the robot modes.
The big thing this time around is the new and improved custom characters in multiplayer. In War for Cybertron, you could choose a class of character and a bit of color. Here in Fall of Cybertron, you can choose from many different body parts. These parts all come from established characters in the game, so now if you really just want to be Jazz or Shockwave or anyone in particular, you can simply select their parts…after you’ve unlocked them. You can also mix and match all these parts. The colors of your character can vary greatly as well, but don’t expect to be spot on for your favorite guy. All in all, this part is far more satisfying than the previous game.
Multiplayer itself is nothing special really. I mean it’s fun as hell to run around on these maps while transforming between modes to dodge and weave and catch others unaware, but it’s been done before. I will say that it’s very easy to get blown to hell before you even notice you’re being shot. Working well with your team and assigning a few healers is the best way to roll.
Overall it’s a pretty solid demo. We get to see a couple of new mechanics like gun hand switching the camera, and the colors are a bit more lively when it comes to the robots themselves which is good. They all became rather similar in WfC. It’s another solid entry into this solid series, and I’m really looking forward to playing through this sucker when it drops.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron releases August 21 on almost every current-gen platform there is.