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Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review

Mike Kayatta | 27 Aug 2012 22:30
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Still, amidst all the variance, fundamental constants bind the gameplay into a cohesive experience. Every stage is filled with sources of Energon, the in-game currency. Energon upgrades your shared weapon supply, or purchases additional perks, some permanent, others consumable. Many of the weapon upgrades offer more than mere damage bonuses; there are still a few instances of the expected - recoil reduction and reload speed improvements show up more than once - but for each of those there's something more exciting, like a supercharged round randomly added somewhere into each clip you load into your rifle.

You can choose your equipped gear each time you visit one of the stores spread across the maps, but each level is littered with a random assortment of guns you can grab from the ground if you later come to regret earlier decisions. You can find consumable gear this way too - small, temporary effects such as a portable shield or attack drone - but most feel like unnecessary add-ons that can be difficult to manage when you're already focused on swapping between two forms and two weapons with a torrent of rockets, grenades, bullets, and angry robots all headed in your direction.

Each mission is a guided experience, but the game does a good job of providing workable options for the different combat situations you'll face. For the most part, the experience steps back from forcing you to experiment with different methods until you "find the right one," instead making most tactics you can think of actually viable - provided you have the skill to pull them off. This works well for allowing each player to set his or her own difficulty and pace by fiddling with different guns and positioning while finding a comfortable balance somewhere between aggressive and defensive. It feels just as valid to choose a hovercraft-rocket-charge over a defensive ambush because you're getting bored as it does because you think it would be the more strategic option.

From that entertaining gunplay to its engaging story threads, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron covers a lot of ground, carefully and faithfully translating a venerated franchise into videogame form while never making series newcomers feel anything less than involved. The love High Moon Studios has for Transformers shines through at every available moment, and no one who's ever held a beloved action figure or toy in their hands will be able to miss it.

Bottom Line: Whether you know all five Combaticons that form Bruticus by name, or have never seen a robot change into a car outside of a Shia LaBeouf movie, it's hard not to love this fun action shooter from High Moon Studios.

Recommendation: Unless you have fundamental problems with the third-person shooter genre, you'd be remiss not to give this passion project a playthrough.

This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Game: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Genre: Shooter
Developer: High Moon Studios
Publisher: Activision
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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