Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Hands-on Preview

Emphasis on Abilities

Last time we ventured to Cybertron, High Moon gave us the opportunity to play as a number of Transformers. The first half of the game was made up of a Decepticon campaign; the second half put players in the role of Autobots. And while playing through the game let us take control of a number of different Transformers, for the most part, those Transformers were pretty similar. Weapons were available throughout levels, for example, so it was possible to play every Transformer in pretty much the same way except for some specific vehicle stages.

In Fall of Cybertron, things are a bit different. For one thing, rather than dividing the game starkly in half, High Moon is intermingling the Decepticon and Autobot campaigns together throughout the game. Each new level puts you in the role of a single character, so you’ll experience events from various different perspectives, both good guys and bad.

The focus on a single Transformer means each level is specifically geared toward that Transformer’s abilities, Della Penna said. You won’t be finding weapons on the ground anymore; instead, you’ll be seeing more emphasis on what makes each Transformer unique. There are ways that you’ll be customizing your load-out, however — an in-game store where you’ll purchase weapons, for example.

Third-Person Underpinnings

The portion of the tutorial level with Bumblebee we saw started on the Ark, a spacecraft leaving Cybertron that the Autobots had taken. After being attacked by Megatron and overwhelmed by Decepticons, the Ark was suddenly being flooded by boarding Decepticons. Taking control of Bumblebee, we started with a slow-motion segment in which we had to blast several attacking Decepticons before they could manage to wreak havoc on the bridge.

The rest of the level had us working through the ship, following Autobots into battle and fighting off Decepticons. For the most part, it was pretty straightforward and felt quite a bit like War for Cybertron. High Moon has made a third-person shooter at its heart, with similar controls to most other games in the genre. The level found us heading outside to fight on the surface of the Ark, with some pretty impressive views of the two ships tangling with each other.

That level didn’t have much in the way of transformations because of the tight quarters, but the second portion we saw was mostly about playing in vehicle mode. During a quick hands-off demo we were shown, it was mentioned that Fall of Cybertron will allow players to transform a lot more often than War for Cybertron did, and in fact using the vehicle modes will be a viable strategy a lot more of the time, Della Penna said. “Transformation is a key strategy in the game, and the levels are built around giving the players the ability to think and use those abilities like transformation to succeed,” he said.

As the helicopter transformer Vortex, High Moon pretty much gave us the run of how to handle a series of objectives. The level involved taking out a series of anti-air weapons and activating some switches, making use of Vortex’s special bombs to do the job. Fighting through it pretty much gave us free run for how to do things — I could fly around the level, blasting at Decepticon ground forces with bombs and missiles, or I could land and take the fight to them.

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