More Than Meets the Eye

Some franchises are what Comic-Con was made for. That perfect pop culture blending of action figures, video games, comic books, cartoons, and movies ensuring that they resonate with fans of all kinds on at least some, if not all, of those mediums. Transformers is one of those franchises and they kicked off SDCC 2012 with a bang.

On the heels of their major announcement that they’re actually moving Transformers: Fall of Cybertron’s release date up a week to August 21st, High Moon Studios and Activision invited us for a chance to go hands-on with not only some of the single player campaign, but dive into their revamped multiplayer modes and new Transformer customization feature for the first time. And this new time with the game only makes me wish they moved it up even further because Transformers: Fall of Cybertron looks to hit every major note with fan boys and hardcore gamers everywhere.

I started my evening by jumping into the single player campaign and trying my hand at some missions midway through the game. My first mission threw meright into the pilot’s seat as I went flying for the first time with Combaticon Vortex through Cybertron and mowed down Autobot grunts with machine guns or dropped some devastating bombs on them that wiped out chunks of the battlefield. What was amazing about this mission though was how critical Vortex’s vehicle mode was as the battle took place across platforms of varying altitudes. As I transformed and let out a circuit shattering shockwave, I immediately had to leap and seamlessly transform back to vehicle mode and start climbing to take down grunts with rocket launchers before switching back to robot mode and moving further into the base. It was crisp, clean, and felt damn good.

I then skipped ahead a little further and if Vortex felt good, playing as Megatron felt down right badass. With his massive tank cannon I turned countless Autobots to slag as their puny pistols bounced off my frame. And then with his new hover mode’s stomp ability, I was able to literally crush them beneath my heel as I continued on my path to counteract the Autobots master plan.

After getting only a taste of the campaign, I hurried off to Team Deathmatch. But before I even had a chance to explore one of the ten maps the game is shipping with, I played around with the Transformers customization mode where I mixed and matched different body parts on one of the four returning classes to make a Transformer truly unique to my style. And announced at SDCC was the Insecticon and Dinobot customization DLC pack that would add features to this mode. While it may sound like a costume pack, which I admit isn’t something I typically get excited for, to make my own personal multiplayer avatar look like one of these iconic Transformers definitely piqued my interest.

So, once I made a red and blue Autobot Infiltrator with a Short Fuse EMP Grenade and some massive shoulders, I rolled into combat and wreaked havoc (I was match MVP with 15 kills to 7 deaths with 6 assists, but my team lost 33 kills to 30 before time ran out) in what is still a tremendously tight mode.

Admittedly angry over my team’s loss, despite my personal domination, I tried out the Conquest mode next. Set up as your standard Capture the Point match, we were required to capture three possible stations and scored points every few seconds for each of the three we had. First to 400 points was declared the victor. Again, a very tight take on a classic versus multiplayer mode, but this time my team was victorious although my K/D was a lot worse. I shared the MVP award this time with EGM News Editor, Eric L. Patterson as I captured the most points, but he dominated on the K/D front.

Finally, we moved over to the revamped Co-op mode, Escalation. Although featured in War for Cybertron, this Transformers take on Horde mode has a new twist in that each player is required to fill one of four positions. Only one person can be a healer, one can be a gunner, one can be a shield, and one can deploy ammo. This forces a lot more teamwork and communication than in the previous version of the mode and deters anyone from being a lone wolf. Eric and I found this out the hard way as we couldn’t even get past 10 waves before succumbing to the Decepticon onslaught. Traps of all kinds littered the battlefield that we could activate for a price, and each unit had a special power to help turn the tide of battle, but even on Easy Mode, if you don’t work as a team, you’re just booking yourself one way tickets to the scrap heap.

When all was said and done, I don’t think I could have been more impressed with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron as a whole. I can’t wait to see the full campaign and how everything ties together and I really can’t wait to spend a night just making a dozen different personal Transformers for multiplayer. I think that any and all Transformers fans out there, no matter what medium may have drew them into the franchise, will find something to love about this game and am really looking forward to getting my hands on the full thing next month.