Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Fall of Cybertron


I will say it now, Transformers is my absolute favourite cartoon of my childhood.  Optimus Prime kicked ass, Megatron was cool and Starscream got screwed in the movie.  Yes it was all just a shameful promotional item for Hasbro to sell toys, but so what, it had giant robots with lasers, rockets and energon axes and they transformed into vehicles.  Oh and I cried when Optimus died, but who didn't who was a fan of the show?
An awesome game get it now

Admittedly I don't have a room just full of toys and other memorabilia and I dislike the films, and more recent cartoons.  I guess I am a purist preferring the days when the robots looked like they did in the G1 era, and not that CG crap like Beast wars or energon.  I originally liked the live action films, but found that the third one shat so heavily on the franchise I turned on it.  Those films should have been about the Autobots and Decepticons fighting it out on Cybertron, millions of years prior to ever meeting any human with the surname Witwicky.

Luckily there was one group of people who agreed with the fans and that group comprise High Moon Studios.  They answered the call and produced a game that stuck to the original show by updating the G1 characters, but still keeping the look similar enough that they didn't become unrecognisable.  The game was Transformers: War for cybertron.  Set millions of years before arriving on earth, the civil war has raged for centuries and is coming to a head.  Megatron has learned of the location of a very powerful and dangerous material known as dark energon, and plans to use it to finally win the war and end the stalemate.  In this we see how Starscream became a decepticon, Optimus before he was ever called prime, the beginnings of Bumblebee's rise amongst the autobots and more.
Character designs are fresh while still keeping the G1 look

The game was a third person shooter using the Unreal engine, and is to date probably the best transformers game ever made.  For a start it allows you to transform at anytime during a level and use different weapons while in vehicle mode.  Sections of levels are purely for driving and flying around so you get some use of the vehicle modes and the combat plays out in a fast visceral style.  Bots have abilities such as cloaking, buffing, deploying shields and more.  And if anything gets too close you just smack them with your energon melee weapon.  Levels where huge and took a good thirty to fourty minutes each to complete and took you across many different areas of Cybertron.

The voice work was brilliant, featuring Peter Cullen as Optimus and the rest of the cast being filled by people who had been given enough direction to give the characters their personalities from the G1 series.  Yeah Starscream doesn't sound like he did, and I do wonder why no one has tried to immitate Chris Latta, but the character is still the same manipulative, sly usurper he always was.
Combat was frantic requiring both robot and vehicle modes

Multiplayer was fun, allowing you to pick a chassis from one of four classes - scout, scientist, leader and soldier.  Each class had unqiue abilities and transformations that if used together would dominate online matches.  It would have been nice to be able to create your own avatar rather than just select say Ironhide and just recolour him.  Multiplayer also followed the now regular perks, levelling up and unlocks system of shooters even having a "prime" mode allowing you to reset and unlock everything again.  There was also a horde mode that allowed players to select one of the autobots and decepticons and try to survive over twenty rounds of progressively harder enemies.  The only downside was the huge lag the host would suffer as the rounds got bigger.  High moon released DLC that added more characters for Multiplayer and maps.

Earlier this year High moon revealed Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.  This game is set to improve and expand greatly on the original games formula, introducing a completely redesigned multiplayer, bigger levels (apparently the largest the unreal engine can handle) more weapons, new characters and the dinobots.

Bruticus will be immense fun to play as
Although details on the multiplayer are still pretty short, we have been assured by the games director Matt Tieger that the multiplayer will now allow you to create your own bot, from varying pieces.  Once you are finished the pieces will work together to create a vehicle mode that looks right for your creation.  Obviously all the parts will have been designed to work in a way so that no matter what you choose it will always create a certain vehicle.  Most likely the body section you choose will determine the vehicle, since the arms and legs pretty much vanish anyway, but its the fact that we will be able to create a character rather than just choose a premade one.  Other details such as gametypes, player numbers and progression have yet to be revealed, but since the game is out this year I expect some details at this years E3.  My only hope for multiplayer is that all of the characters from war for cybertrons character select will brought over for this multiplayer outing.
Jazz will have more vertically oriented levels using his grapple line

The singeplayer campaign will play like one long unbroken narrative.  War for cybertron had two seperate campaigns that could be played in either order, but fall of cybertron will have you jumping back and forth between the autobots and decepticons.  The main highlights so far being the ability to play as the Combaticons and Bruticus.  The dinobots also make their debut as part of the main story.  The story will detail the last days of Cybertron as its energon begins to run out.  The autobots have been stockpiling for years while secretly building their escape ship 'the Ark'.  Megatron on the other hand is determined to wipe out Optimus and his remaining forces while also seeking a new source of energon.  On a third plot thread, Shockwave is searching for new energon to heal the planet, subsequently discovering earth in the process and begins to experiment.  His experiments create the dinobots, using the captured Grimlock and crew while observing the prehistoric creatures on earth.
If he looks like this in game, it will be amazing

So confirmed new characters are:
AUTOBOTS

Cliffjumper - Appears visually similar to Bumblebee but has more of a combat focus
Jazz - Technically new since he is now in the singleplayer, where as he was only in multiplayer previously
Perceptor - Although not yet seen, his artwork has been spotted in videos posted by High moon and Prime speaks to him in a gameplay video.
Grimlock - Voiced by Gregg Berger the original Grimlock, he plays very differently, now having to charge a transformation meter before activating his T-rex mode.  He also is entirely melee focused.
Swoop - The flying dinobot, now a pterodactyl.  Images of him are on facebook and briefly seen in gameplay.
Slag - Artwork and now screenshots on facebook are available.
Sludge - Artwork and now screenshots on facebook are available.
Snarl - Artwork and now screenshots on facebook are available.
Wheeljack - Not officially confirmed, but artwork that resembles him has been seen in videos.
Metroplex - A city sized autobot who assists prime by firing huge weapons at marked targets, or simply crushing them with his fists.  Unseen on footage, but mentioned by several game previews.

DECEPTICONS

Onslaught - The leader of the combaticons was originally playable in multiplayer in war for cybertron, but now makes his fully voiced debut.
Swindle - Shown in artwork and the image (right) and as part of Bruticus, it is assumed he will be playable in singleplayer at some point.
Swindle looks like the best of the combaticons in my opinion
Vortex - Seen as playable and also being revealed as a triple changer, vortex can switch to jet and helicopter mode in the air, while being a deadly melee combatant in robot form.
Blast Off -  Not seen as playable, but makes up part of Bruticus, artwork is available for him.
Brawl - Not new but it would seem weird to miss him from the list of combaticons.
Bruticus - The combined form of the Combaticons, he huge and immensely powerful.  His segments in the singleplayer are too show off his power and give you some sections of invulnerability to just stomp and have fun.
Shockwave - Another multiplayer character from war for cybertron, he now plays a part in the story.  Sadly he will not be voiced by Corey Burton.
Yellow decepticon - This decepticon has been spotted much like wheeljack as artwork only, meaning he may be post launch DLC or an as yet unrevealed character.  I think he is Dragstrip from the stunticons, keeping with war for cybertrons inclusion of dead end and Breakdown.
The original artwork for the combaticons.

There may yet be more characters to reveal, and multiplayer may have unlockable ones also.

Singleplayer will also revamp the weapons found in game.  Now by taking them to teletraan points in the levels you will be able to permamently assign a point to a chosen weapon, thus increasing damage, adding new effects or attacks and increasing accuracy.  These upgrades are permament and will likely be hidden throughout the levels.  I am not sure 100% sure but these may also carry over to multiplayer.  The weapons themselves are a mix of old and new.  The scrapmaker returns as the minigun choice of the soldier class, but now with the upgrades can be even more effective.  New weapons include a rift gun that creates a blackhole that crushes enemies before exploding.  Things get pretty inventive here compared to war for cybertron and its more earth like weapon setup.
The rest of the dinobots are shown on the official facebook page

I am pretty hyped for this game personally, having already pre-ordered all of the related toyline and waiting for Activision to announce a special edition or pre-order bonus before I make mine.  August isn't that far off and leaves plenty of time for those of you who haven't tried War for cybertron to see why this sequel will be one of the best games of 2012.






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