previews\ Jun 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron hands-on

Activision is set to dominate in 2012 with new games in various franchises, including Spider-Man, Call of Duty, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Skylanders.  But perhaps the one that will be most noteworthy amongst hardcore 80s nuts is Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, the much-anticipated sequel to 2010’s War For Cybertron.  This time around, you’ll be controlling various characters on both the Autobots and Decepticons sides, getting a feel for their battle techniques.  Recently, Activision invited us up to a pre-E3 event to go hands-on with the sequel, and, yep, we loved it.  Not just for Grimlock, either.

There were various stages we got to play through in the demo.  Probably the most noteworthy one was the one featuring the newest addition to the franchise, Grimlock.  This fan favorite definitely lives up to the hype, as you guide him into a small pit area when he comes face-to-face with a few nasty Insecticon creatures.  The smaller ones are fairly easy to squash, thanks to your combination of sword and shield that simply wipes them away.  (Grimlock needs no gun!)  The bigger ones are a bit trickier, however, as you’ll need to roll out of the way when they charge, then strike them from behind until they’re nothing but shredded metal.

Once you beat enough of these enemies with your “rage” meter filled, you’ll be able to transform into Grimlock’s mightier form — a fire-breathing T-Rex with energy to spare.  Not only can his terminal breath turn enemies into ash, but he can also swing around his massive tail to clear the way and even bite an enemy in half with a vicious chomp attack.  Sadly, this ability is only temporary, but at least you can fill up your “rage” meter so you can do it again.

Another segment of the game will be familiar to those who saw the demo.  A pair of Decepticons find themselves tasked with taking down an Autobot space bridge, but it’s impenetrable from afar.  You need to fly one of the Decepticons in to take out turrets and enemies from above, then jump into ground mode and engage them in gun and melee combat before accessing some switches that will reveal penetrable parts of the bridge, which your ally can blast from afar.  This part of the game really introduces the multiple functionalities of your warriors; you can transform from robot to vehicle and back again with relative ease.  And no matter which form you choose, you’ve got plenty of firepower on hand.

Finally, there was the Bumblebee segment, which acts as the opening stage of the game.  As such, you’re treated to a small bunch of hints that tell you how to play, including how to melee and transform when the time is right.  This segment may have been shorter than the others, but it introduces the dramatic scope of Fall of Cybertron, as you’ll need to fight Decepticons on a space frigate and eventually take a blast for Optimus Prime in order to keep him safe to lead the Autobots.

Other segments of the game were also shown, including an impressive sequence featuring the nimble Cliffjumper (voiced by Uncharted’s Nolan North) and an all-out battle featuring Optimus charging a battlefield while issuing commands to an enormous Autobot named Metroplex, who trashes Decepticon structures in the distance.

Sadly, multiplayer had yet to be revealed for the game, but since its release date is coming up in late August, it probably won’t be long before we see it in action.  In the meantime, there’s plenty to be excited about with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, including great gameplay, much improved visuals, and the voice talents of Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime and Gregg Berger as Grimlock.  Talk about going old-school…

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