Light news week as Summer begins to wind down and we start gearing up for the Fall and holiday releases. This week I’ve got my review of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron so let’s dig in!
IN THE NEWS
New XCOM: Enemy Unknown trailer
2K Games and Firaxis Games have released the “Casualties of War” trailer for the upcoming action-strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. As the commander of XCOM, the lives of the world's best operatives are in your hands. Soldiers will fall, but it's up to you to recruit, train, and advance their skills and capabilities to counter the alien attack and minimize your casualties of war. XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be available in North America on October 9th for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
New Trailer for Borderlands 2
2K Games has released a new “Creature Slaughter Dome” trailer for Borderlands 2 that highlights the pre-order offer available exclusively through GameStop in the United States. Enter the Creature Slaughter Dome and face off against the toughest monsters in all of Pandora. Your efforts will not be in vain. Gain experience and gear to bring back into the main game. Endure the battle, and you will receive numerous rewards.
New Gameplay footage for Need for Speed Most Wanted
Gameplay footage of Criterion Games' highly anticipated Need For Speed Most Wanted showcasing open world gameplay. In Most Wanted all the cars are open from the start, meaning if you can find it, you can drive it. The action starts in an Aston Martin V12 Vantage before jumping into a Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series from a Jackspot. Mods are then added using the EasyDrive menu, instantly giving you a boost over the competition. In Most Wanted if there’s something to do there’s someone to beat. Utilizing Autolog 2.0, you’ll not only receive custom events and challenges, but also see personalised billboards that feature the face of the friend who tops the Most Wanted list.
Max Payne 3: FREE Disorganized Crime Pack Now Available
Rockstar Games is pleased to announce that the free Disorganized Crime Pack for Max Payne 3 is available today for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Featuring the new Hoboken Rooftops multiplayer map, this free DLC lets you battle throughout the remains of Max's dilapidated Hoboken apartment. Here’s a breakdown of the new map, in case you missed it yesterday.
New Skyrim Expansion pack coming in September
Hearthfire, the next downloadable expansion to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, will let players purchase land and build houses from the ground up. The add-on is set to release for the Xbox 360 on September 4 for 400 Microsoft points. There's no set date at this point for a PC or PS3 version.
Once you've found a lot, built the home and customized it to your dreams, you'll spend some time doing what every homeowner has to do: keeping the neighbors away. Bethesda says you'll have to "guard [your home] from unwanted visitors."
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Activision) Rated T PS3
Fall of Cybertron is the follow-up to the disappointing 2010 War for Cybertron and while it’s not going to make legendary status it’s definitely an improvement. I mean the mere fact that you can play as the Dinobot Grimlock and control the massive Metroplex is a huge step up from the previous game. The action takes place on a far glossier and detailed version of Cybertrton. You’ll get to control a wide array of Transformers throughout the dozen plus levels. Your choice is made for you and each level is designed to take advantage of a particular Transformers abilities. You’ll drive, fly, grapple with stealth, and pound your way across the Cybertronian landscape.
The game picks up where the last left off basically. With Cybertron no longer able to provide a viable home, the Autobots are looking to escape aboard the Ark. The Decepticons want to either destroy or make the Autobots subservient to them. I’ve never been a huge fan of Optimus Prime, but this is the big guy at his powerful, commanding best! He is the noble leader he was always meant to be, transforming quickly between robot and vehicle modes, crushing the Decepticon enemies. This is as much fun as I’ve had ever playing Optimus in a game. You’ll find that switching back and forth between robot and vehicle mode isn’t just a cosmetic effect but also a tactical one. You’ll need both to get through the challenging levels.
As mentioned some of the levels involve utilizing stealth which seems a bit odd for giant metal robots. And frankly, wading into battle on certain levels can get you killed quickly. While you AI partners will use cover to keep them safe from enemy attacks, too often you find you have to find a hideout in order to replenish your shields. This is one aspect of the game that is inconsistent. It’s awesome to be the jackhammer that is Grimlock, stomping, tail-smashing, and breathing fire down on the Decepticons, and this is where the Transformer vs. Transformer battle truly shines. Unlike the other Autobots, Grimlock cannot transform at will but has to accumulate enough rage to Transform into his Dinobot mode. The battle effects, the animations, the din of war all make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Transformers film (a GOOD Transformers film). These large scale battles are the best we’ve seen in any previous Transformers game. You only wish the entire game was built just like this. Sure there might not be a lot of strategy involved and it might be pure button-mashing bliss but damn it works so well.
This brings us to the one real weakness of Fall of Cybertron and that is the inconsistency of the level design. It seems just like when you’ve got the hang of playing Prime or just gone wild with the destructive Grimlock, you suddenly finish the level and now have to play as a different Autobot or Decepticon. It’s not just a change in characters but a complete change in the game mechanics that you need to use. So on one hand you don’t get to be too entrenched in any single character so there is a bit of a disconnect, but it’s a tradeoff to be able to play so many different transformers. The banter between the different forces conjures up memories of the original animated TV show. You’ve got Megatron as his usual egomaniacal self, Starscream again trying to usurp Megatron’s power, and Soundwave being loyal to his master and aiding him after Megatron is defeated.
The PS3 version does suffer from some frame rate issues and glitchiness that apparently is not as prevalent in the Xbox 360 version. Now I have not played the Xbox version and am only going on what I’ve heard. The technical issues are not a killer by any means but it’s definitely noticeable. The campaign is only for one player which is fine by me, not being a fan of co-op play anyway. However the good news is that the co-operative Escalation mode from War of Cybertron returns where up to four players take on their favorite Transformer and battle wave after wave of enemies. The competitive multi-player modes put you in the role of more generic Transformers as one of four classes: Scientist, Infiltrator, Destroyer and Titan in game modes like Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Conquest.
While Transformers: Fall of Cybetron doesn’t hit the ball out of the park. It’s a great deal of fun and a vast improvement over the previous entry in the series. Grade: B
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