Have You Played… Transformers: Fall of Cybertron?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Most Transformers games are awful, which isn’t enormously surprising given we’re talking about annual shooty-bang ties-in for bottomlessly stupid movies based on a toyline from the 1980s. But said toyline did inspire some excellent comics – including the current More Than Meets The Eye – so it’s not a given that retro-geek nostalgia about giant shapeshifting robots has to be appalling. Until this year’s cel-shaded brawler Devastation, Fall of Cybertron was about as good as got it (at least on PC – the old PS2 Transformers: Armada is extremely ambitious), in part because it embraced lore and classic characters in a way that earlier games hadn’t, but mostly because it managed a sense of scale. This last is particularly suprising given that FOC was not set on Earth and did not feature any tiny squishy humans to contrast against the Cybertronians’ immense scale.

Fall of Cybertron had several sequences which made the Transformers’ metal planet big and open-skied, made up of oppressively tall edifices, between which it would occasionally place even taller robots. Sure, Optimus, Megatron and chums feel essentially human-sized throughout, but by making their world gigantic, that key sense that Transformers are all about massiveness was retained. The core pew-pew action, pointlessly desaturated colours and predominantly dour tone I can take or leave, but FOC goes out of its way to make its location alien and enormous, and one that is on the brink of disaster at that. It cements my long-held opinion that there is so much more to be played with here, if anyone ever throws enough money at the license to make something other than a straight-up action game.

Also, Metroplex. They even made a new, 2 foot tall toy of him based on his FOC appearance. For some reason I didn’t buy it. Being a grown-up sucks.

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21 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    I just finished binge-watching the cartoon that follows on from these games on Netflix, maybe I should go and play them.

    • trivianinja says:

      Which one is that? There’s like 50000 Transformers cartoons and many of them are utter shite.

      • Optimaximal says:

        Transformers Prime, and it is completely non-shite!

        It’s a bit po-faced and takes itself too seriously, but damn, it’s the Transformers in the way most of us wish the Bayformers were!

      • Premium User Badge

        Oakreef says:

        Transformers Prime. It’s a 3D animation and contains a surprising amount of onscreen death (occasionally of humans too!). Transformers Rescue Bots is also meant to be in the same continuity. Rescue Bots is as far as I understand it meant to be more of a Thomas the Tank Engine or Bob the Builder type show meant for very young kids and it’s just the Autobots helping people out with no Decepticons to fight. Possibly amusing to consider that while that group is rescuing kittens from trees the main group of Autobots is busy fighting hordes of zombie robots and dealing with physical therapy from their war injuries (yes there is actually a plotline of one of them going through physical therapy).

  2. GernauMorat says:

    I’m afraid that I’ve missed out on these no doubt decent games for much the same reason as the Batman series: I find them so utterly cringe worthy I can’t even play them in private.

    • Psycold says:

      Totally agree with GernauMorat. I bought this game on sale and it was generic, boring, and wouldn’t let me rebind controls I wanted. I also bought the first two Batman games and finally learned my lesson after buying the 2nd one…realizing I would never play them for more than an hour or two. I’m not sure why people think the Batman games are so great, then again I’m not sure how people watch that Batman vs Superman trailer and think it’s going to be a good film.

      • GernauMorat says:

        I mean I’m not trying to be some sniffy sophisticate, but for some reason my personal geekery just runs in a different direction. Which is generally directly away from any overly earnest men in tights dispensing justice.

        • Premium User Badge

          Llewyn says:

          It’s simple: Arkham Asylum and City are two of the most enjoyable rhythm games available on the PC, and scratch an itch that only Guitar Hero/Rock Band otherwise get to.* For me it’s an added bonus that there are also some enjoyable stealth power fantasy sections and outstanding vocal performances from Mark Hamill, but it’s mostly about enjoying the combat.

          I couldn’t care less about the superhero aspect – I haven’t seen a Batman film since the Keaton days, as he at least seemed like an interesting Bruce Wayne – and I don’t find it any more cringeworthy than any other AAA action game (ie none of them are things I would discuss with non-gamers).

          Yes, I know some people complain that “the combat is one-button”. Sure, you can play it that way, but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to. And of course you can sap all the fun out of most games by refusing to participate in it. But if you try to play it well it becomes a thing of beauty as you draw on all the abilities at your disposal (15ish moves with all gadgets?) to keep fights flowing smoothly.

          *There are other excellent rhythm games, for sure, and I’m quite partial to Audiosurf and Bit Trip Runner. However there’s something about the Arkham games and GH/RB that feels comfortingly familiar alongside the challenge.

          • Unclepauly says:

            Agreed it’s a game that has a certain flow to it that works, keeps everything buzzing along. Never thought of it in rhythm way but maybe that’s what it is.

        • genericrpsh says:

          Har good one tarquin, these plebeians simply do not appreciate what it’s like to be one of us. They enjoy the unspeakably tepid ‘thrills’ of their laughable existences, packed into their dingy little estates, overflowing with the untermenschen who make up the majroity of proles (although surely biological effluence such as this is to be expected when you skim off the cream? har har such japes) without appreciating the intricate magnificence of the existence of ones such as us.

          Simply put, for the benefit of the other tedious middle-of-the-road readers (perhaps a so-called ‘bin man’ as i believe refuse scum are often referred to as by the other wastrels, or somebody who works in a shop? I really don’t sully myself by interacting with the service scum so I’ll leave these postulations up to your imagination my old chum hahaha) and I know you understand this as well as I do, but the transient interests of the great unwashed will never truly hit the heights that paragons of society such as ourselves enjoy.

          I shall see you and the chaps down at the club at the weekend, I trust, old man?

          ps. I had to Bertrand down at the weekend, he was becoming far too full of himself. The cad dared look me in the eye during the week just gone, I had him stripped and beaten with his body left in the lake when he finally lost consciousness. Egad he was a resilient bounder, I fear what he may have inflicted upon our poor women. You were right to recommend his eradication, although i must confess his peasant words nearly moved me to tears as he begged me to spare him whilst the flaying went on. I’ve had a drinking horn pouch fashioned from his posterior membrane for you.

      • Pulstar says:

        I really really enjoyed the first Arkham game, and not even a fan of the caped sociopath!

      • ShadyGuy says:

        [quote]I’m not sure why people think the Batman games are so great, then again I’m not sure how people watch that Batman vs Superman trailer and think it’s going to be a good film.[/quote]

        I’m not sure I can explain, but I’ll give it a shot. I’ve always loved superhero comic books. I grew up with them when I was a kid and as an adult I enjoy watching characters I know and love come alive on the big screen or on my computer. I judge comic book films by the standards and tropes of its own genre. And seeing the Batman V. Superman trailers makes me excited because it points to the story having some paralels with some comic book arcs I’ve enjoyed in the past.

        I know men in tights and spandex fighting crime is silly. But the child in me still loves that kind of thing. :)

    • PancakeWizard says:

      “I find them so utterly cringe worthy I can’t even play them in private.”

      As long as you’re aware that’s a personal issue and not a reflection on the games themselves, or those that like to play them.

  3. Pulstar says:

    I was more of a Voltron kiddo myself, even had the toys, but I admit I enjoyed High Moon Studios’ Transformers games without even having any enthusiasm for the vehicular overlords from planet petrol.

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  5. dawfydd says:

    I still have that Armada TF game knocking around somewhere, and your right. It was extremely ambitious for it’s day: Large, open form levels that you could return to once you had unlocked additional abilities? I should coco. I remember this and MGS3 hitting and showing off what the PS2 was capable off.

    On a FOC-related note, I feel I should point out that I’ve just finished a collection of all five of the Dinobots in the style of their appearences in this game from 3rd party TF maker Planet-X, including a version of Grimlock that far surpasses Hasbro’s own effort. Admittedly they’ve set me back the best part of £300 over the last year, but they are phenomenal works of engineering that are extremely faithful to High Moon Studio’s renditions of the team. The only part of my TF collection I’m more proud of now is my near-complete collection of Wreckers, including a stellar version of perennial bullet-magnet Impactor….

    (and yes, I appreciate that that paragraph was extremely nerdy, even for the denizens of this site. I regret nothing!!)

  6. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Yeah! I played this one co-op with a friend and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, given my mostly unjustified dislike of Gears of War style games. And I think the customary close, over-the-shoulder view of the lumbering characters helped lend them some of their sense of biggitude.

    • Xocrates says:

      You’re probably thinking of War for Cybertron. This is the sequel, and I’m pretty sure did away with the co-op campaign.

      They were both pretty good though.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        *research* Ah, yes, War for Cybertron is what I actually played. Shame they didn’t include the campaign in Fall’s co-op, but sounds like one for the queue anyway. (I played some of War single-player, and it was still pretty fun.)

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Yup. Quite enjoyable. It’s just a shame the multiplayer (which wasn’t exceptional anyway) was bogged down with unlocks and the resulting favour to the more experienced players by giving them more power.

  8. Jay Load says:

    There’s lots to love about the two High Moon games in terms of world-building and presentation but frustratingly the games never quite gelled into anything beyond an stunningly-average gameplay experience. The Bots looked great, and were a joy to watch Transform, but gunplay was mediocre and entirely too reliant on meagre scratchings of ammunition, while vehicle modes were insanely nerfed, being too slow, floaty and unresponsive, like driving futuristic supermarket shopping trolleys. None of the vehicle modes felt like vehicles, probably because none of the cramped environments – even the ones supposedly set outside – could cater to them if they did.

    Transformers Devastation has rightly taken the crown for the best TF experience on PC – by a considerable margin – despite having traces of the same issues. While many clamour for a third High Moon game I think it’s best to let this series assume its place in history and hope any potential Devastation 2 can raise the bar higher. Some Decepticons to play with would be very nice…