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It’s easy to forget that the Transformers Empire was created from a toy line of action figures that spawned a cartoon show, comic books, video games and a movie franchise. Any child of the 80’s worth their nerdy salt will fondly remember Transformers, in any incarnation, as a pinnacle of their adolescence. The truth is that the cartoon show was just awful.  The comics and video games didn’t fare any better and the movie franchise? It’s still too recent and too painful to talk about. What remains unchanged, after the thin veil of nostalgia has been removed, are the unbelievably cool toys that sparked the imagination of kids across the world.  Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron works so well because the game utilizes the primitive function of toy playing and encapsulates that joy in digital form and makes it interactive. This is the Transformers game that fans have been waiting for.


The Fall of Cybertron takes up directly after the ending of War for Cybertron where the Autobots are at war with the Decepticons for control of the diminishing Energon, the planet’s most valuable natural resource.  With Energon now nearly depleted, the Autobots have no option but to flee their home planet. Unfortunately, the Decepticons share the same fate, but they will stop at nothing to prevent the Autobots from obtaining salvation along side them. The desperation and immediate urgency is felt throughout the game. The fast pacing, tight editing and non-stop action strongly emphasize that there’s no time to lose.  Unlike War for Cybertron, which was plagued with chapters that tended to drag where they probably should have concluded, the flow here is pitch perfect and plays out wonderfully.


The Michael Bay movies, sorry to open that wound, failed in that the Transformers themselves didn’t have much of a personality. They had an identity, but the clanking, clashing, and screeching of metal against metal drowned them out. That’s definitely not the case with Fall of Cybertron. Each character was craftily fleshed out with their own animations, abilities, quirks and dialogue. There was never a point where it felt like one Transformer could substitute one for another. They were void of all anonymity and utilized to push the game forward with their unique strengths and abilities. In one chapter you get to play as Jazz, the smooth talking, wise cracking Autobot who maneuvers the battle field using a grapple-like hook or in another chapter as the ambitious but incompetent Starscream that pines to take Megatron’s place as the leader of the Decepticons. Hilarity ensues. Fall of Cybertron indulges the player by giving them the opportunity to play with most of the popular characters in the series and they’re all a blast to play.


Variety defines what sets Fall of Cybertron apart from its predecessor where the environments from chapter to chapter oftentimes blurred together like the background of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The Transformer battles were like looking at a Michael Bay, (there’s his name again), fight sequence, a mass clutter of metallic limbs that were indistinguishable from their owners. This time around every chapter’s environments are not only visually different but also play out with unique mechanics. In one chapter you’re sent on a stealth mission deep into Decepticon territory to gather clues about the disappearance of an ally, in another you’re doing an aerial bombing run on an Autobot transport carrying valuable Energon. There’s even a brief platforming scene and, unbelievably, a fight sequence right out of a Fighter game. Instead of feeling derivative of so many different genres, and there are a few more not mentioned, Fall of Cybertron distills the best essence of each of those genres to craft its own stylized mashup and makes it work extremely well. 


At its core, Fall of Cybetron is first and foremost an excellent third person shooter. The team at High Moon Studios made a brilliant move in adding a new weapon management system that gives players the choice to upgrade weapons to their preference and specifications. An added currency system also provides additional quality of life upgrades like perks that grant health boosts, increased armor regeneration and barter discounts. The player is now free to experience the awesome and precise combat that makes the epic battle sequences in outstanding set pieces all that more enjoyable.


Transformers: Fall of Cybertron manages to build and improve upon the foundation of its predecessor in every way imaginable. It’s a nearly perfect addition to a franchise that has struggled with mediocre interpretations for decades. Thankfully, the talented people at High Moon Studios finally got it right.