Never before have I played a game that made me want to dive into a franchise so badly. Playing Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is like getting a crash course introduction into the Transformers universe. But don’t be fooled, this isn't the Michael Bay, explosions and Meghan Fox universe. This is the true Transformers universe started in the 80s by the G1 cartoon. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is just as much a cinematic experience as it is a game, and one of the most unique third person shooters I have played in a long time.


The story covers the events leading up to the G1 cartoon and the Transformers expedition to the planet earth. The war between the Autobots and Decepticons has drained Cybertron (their home world) of all its Energon (their power source) forcing them to search the stars for a new planet they can call home. As the Autobots scramble to amass enough Energon to power their Ark, Megatron attempts to wipe out the Autobots and take Cybertron for himself. A lot happens in the game even though it takes less than 10 hours to complete.

One of the most surprising to me was how much I cared about the Transformers and their struggle. Thanks to very well implemented quick time events, the cutscenes and gameplay flow together seamlessly, meaning you will never feel like you aren’t in control. In an early mission you spend ten minutes as Optimus Prime walking around the Autobot base talking to the soldiers and helping them with menial tasks. Moments like these help the player connect with the Transformers, and make the game’s emotional moments that much stronger.

The gameplay is introduced through one of the best tutorials I’ve ever seen in which you play as Bumblebee during an attack on the Autobot Ark. The game is a third person shooter, but it sets itself apart by ditching any sort of cover system, instead encouraging run and gun gameplay with tight controls and a variety of movement options. You will dash, jump, and grapple your way around stages, in addition to being able to transform into a vehicle for quick getaways. Once mastered, the gameplay is fast and fun, and offers something unique in a sea of cover based shooters.  The game features the normal array of assault rifles and shotguns, as well as a few unique heavy weapons, such as the lightning gun. All of these weapons can be permanently upgraded with credits earned from killing enemies. However, some tedious firefights coupled with unforgiving checkpoints make a few sections of the game feel like a grind. To break up the tedium, you play as a different Transformer in almost every mission. Each new character feels distinct, with their own transformation and special ability, but not every area is created equal.  One notable low point is the stealth section, which feels out of place in such a fast paced game.


A common complaint with the previous Transformers game was the blandness of the world, which was filled with similar looking metallic environments. Although FoC is still mostly comprised of these machine filled environments, but they are more colorful and there are a few outdoor areas that change things up. Adding to the fun is the fact that most of the environment is destructible, allowing you to break apart enemy cover. All of the characters look amazing, appearing to have been pulled directly out of the cartoon. Their designs are colorful and shiny, and transformations are fluid and believable. Character animations look a little stiff, and movement feels somewhat sluggish, but these details will rarely distract you from the game’s overall beauty.

The soundtrack consists of mostly generic rock music, with a few inspired orchestral pieces during critical moments, but you can rarely hear it over the gunshots and robot explosions. It is unlikely that this will bother you though, since the character dialogue is so good. Characters are constantly talking, sometimes to themselves and sometimes to each other over radio. Most of the writing is goofy and over the top, but fits perfectly in the spirit of the cartoon, which was similar in that respect.

Online multiplayer and Horde-like Escalation mode are the only reasons to stick around after finishing the campaign, but I can’t say that either one hooked me. Competitive multiplayer is unique, letting you choose between 4 distinct types of customizable Transformers, but after a few matches I was ready to put it down.

 Lastly I would like to mention bugs. I ran into at least two major bugs during my play through, one in which a character didn’t appear in a cutscene, and another causing me to get trapped in a wall, forcing a restart. I didn’t run into any game crashes, and these two bugs didn’t ruin my experience, but they did lessen it and are therefore worth mentioning.

If you are a newcomer to the Transformers series, Fall of Cybertron will welcome you with open arms. The enjoyable story and fast paced combat will keep you hooked until the end, even if you have no prior knowledge (like me). A few tedious moments aside, the game is perfect for anyone looking for a third person shooter that is toting something different.