Last year's movies and games were horrible but despite those let downs, I fly to New York City and Comic Con with an open mind to see what Activision and High Moon Studios are cooking up for the next instalment of the eye-deceiving robots.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron luckily doesn't have much to do with last summer's boring movie licence Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Instead Fall of Cybertron is sequel to the 2010 Transformers: War for Cybertron, which was a significantly better game.
The story picks up almost exactly where the War left it. Countdown to the total annihilation of Cybertron has started and Autobots, lead by Optimus Prime have no choice but to try evacuate and save as much of the their mechanical civilization as possible. It is not going to be easy with diminishing resources and Decepticons hell bent on destroying every Autobot even if it costs the destruction of several planets.
Director Matt Tieger's presentation was filled with enthusiasm about the upcoming game. After the last couple of games the studio now has more time and resources for the new title and their aim is much higher than before.
Tieger told us that the key element and focus is in the variety both in story and game play. "Mindless action and blowing stuff up is fine, but we want for the players to care about what is going in the game even if the game is esentially about two robot factions going at it. Pacing the story with lows and highs are a must, otherwise it would be to easy to get numbed and bored by all the action.", explained Tieger.
The same goes for game play. There is going to be a lot of different playable robots with distinctive levels. Tieger also had footage to back up his claims. Even though the release is a year from now we got to see a lot of gameplay. Over all an hour from six different levels, that really indeed had a nice amount of variation.
Tieger didn't want to reveal the entire roster of Transformers, but in addition of Optimus Prime we got confirmation for Jazz, Cliffjumber and Bumblebee. Also for the first time we'll get to play as our favourite mechanical T-Rex Grimlock, whose back story is also a big part of the main plot of the game.
On the Decepticon side players get to roll and fly out as a special strike force called Combaticons, who as a special ability can combine and transform in to a massive battle bot called Bruticus.
Every playable character have their own special abilities and a somewhat different approach to the levels. Optimus' level was full-on assaults where he could order in artillery strikes to blast through resistance. Cliffjumber was all about stealth and sneaking up to enemies with the help of cloaking device. Jazz on the other hand relies on a totally opposite approach. He's armed with a Samus Aran style grappling beam and sniper rifle. Grimlock's speciality is of course the super destructive T-Rex form, but it differs from all others so that he can only use it when his rage meter is completely filled.
High Moon hasn't forgotten the multiplayer and even though no MP game play was shown, Tieger had one big announcement to make. For the first time it players get to build their own Transformers. MP features four classes: infiltrator (car), destroyer (truck), titan (tank) and engineer (jet).
Every bot consists of six parts: head, hands, legs, torso, wheels/wings/tracks and weapons, and new parts on each category become available by playing the single player campaign. At the moment there are six choices in every category so that would ad up to over 45000 different Transformers. We asked how extensively players can modify the colours etc., but Tieger couldn't yet answer that.
Much thanks to Matt Tieger's energetic and friendly presentation and good amount of game play, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron left me with a positive first impression. Action looked a lot like in War of Cybertron, but the variation in levels and bots was much better than I had anticipated. High Moon Studios seems to have loaned many aspects from other games, but that is not a bad thing. The release of the game is still very far away and it is impossible say if the game will make or break it. It may not be much, but at least I can say it looks better and promises more than any of the previous Transformers titles.