2010’s Transformers: War of Cybertron was the best Transformers game ever made… or rather, it was the best Transformers game ever made. If the demo that I just played is any indication, it seems like the upcoming Transformers: Fall of Cybertron will surpass its prequel in every single way.
The demo begins with a scene that should be familiar to old school Transformers fans: with Cybertron’s natural resources exhausted, the Autobots decide to look for a new home in a massive space ship known as The Ark. The Decepticons catch wind of their plan and attack forcibly boardthe Ark as it leaves Cybertron, and a massive battle aboard the ship ensues.
The intro level puts you in the role of Bumblebee, the heroic gold-plated Autobot scout, as he fights off a Decepticon boarding party that’s infiltrated the Ark’s bridge. For the most part, the third person shooting mechanics felt identical to War for Cybertron, but Bumblebee has added a dash move to his repertoire that allows him to move forward with a quick burst of speed. The dash move can be chained with a melee attack to do a rushing charge attack. Like War for Cybertron, there is no cover mechanic, but your characters maneuverability and speed still give you plenty of defensive options during a firefight. Fans of the first game will also be happy to know that ammo is a lot more plentiful now: not only are there more spare clips laying around, but your gun seems to hold more shots as well. Where as running out of ammo was an almost constant annoyance in the original game, it seems like Fall for Cybertron is glad to give you more guns and clips than you will ever really need.
The other part of the E3 demo took place in a later part of the game, and this time I was given control of the fan favorite leader of the Dinobots, Grimlock, as he fought his way through a swarm of arachnid-looking Insecticons. Where as the other Autobot’s vehicle forms mostly exist for speedy transportation or evasive purposes, Grimlock’s alternate mode (where he transforms into a giant, robotic t-rex) gives him access to a new set of attacks. Grimlock can breathe fire in his dinobot form, and he can also perform a brutal execution attack by biting his foes in half, which also refills a bit of his health. In his robot form, Grimlock uses his iconic flaming sword and is absolutely unstoppable in close-range combat.
While the fun and satisfying combat was definitely the best part of the Fall for Cybertron demo, the game managed to deliver on the audio-visual front as well: the graphics on the game are a huge improvement over the game’s already good looking prequel (for instance, you can actually see a bit of the environment reflected in Bumblebee’s golden armor plating,) and Peter Cullen, the iconic original voice of Optimus Prime, is once again reprising his role for the game.
All in all, my time with Transformers: War for Cybertron was enough to convince me to buy the game the day it launches later this summer. It looks like it’s going to do what every sequel should: manage to recapture everything that was good about the original while at the same time fixing everything that was wrong with it.