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.