Platforms available on: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: High Moon Studios
Genre: Third-person shooter
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron builds on the great work started by 2010's Transformers: War for Cybertron - namely, making a game based on battling, shapeshifting robots that does not totally suck. After years of limp movie tie-ins, the Transformers property has finally found a custodian in High Moon Studios that not only gets the property, but also loves it.
The new game continues all the excellent aspects of its predecessor, but also introduces new ideas and tweaks within the Gears of War-style third-person shooter action, along with a much darker edge to the storytelling.
While it never truly dazzles in the same vein as Rocksteady's Batman games, the game certainly lives up to the Transformers legacy in every nut and bolt.
Each chapter involves playing a specific Autobot or Decepticon; a change that might sound limiting, but actually allows the experience to be tailored to each character's skill set. Yes, this is a more linear game than Transformers: War for Cybertron, but it is much more pleasing to engage in combat and action specifically orientated to the likes of Optimus Prime, Jazz or the dino-bot Grimlock.
The story will not win any Academy Awards but it rumbles along pretty nicely. Picking up from events in Transformers: War for Cybertron, the robot planet is still locked in a civil war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. With a rather grim tone, the game deals with demise of the world, as the Autobots attempt to flee while the 'Cons' continue to pursue the elimination agenda.
As with all good games based on popular franchises, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron excels by really giving the fans what they have always wanted. Fancy unleashing Optimus's massive megabot Metroplex for some giant destruction? Go for it. Want to obliterate everything in your wake as Bruticus? Why the hell not.
The action is certainly scripted and more linear than the previous game, but Transformers: Fall of Cybertron offers some truly fantastic set-pieces, starting with the breathless opening played as Bumblebee. This is underpinned by quality and well-designed action that most importantly handles the shift from robot mode to vehicle without feeling jarring.
Each robot's arsenal can be upgraded over the campaign by earning currency and then visiting dedicated terminals. For the collectors, there are lots of audio logs, weapon blueprints and Energon shards to pick up throughout the world.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron brings back the excellent Escalation mode, taking its inspiration from Gears of War Horde. Up to four players must fend off up to 15 waves of robots of increasing difficulty. As before, there are lots of tactical options available that can boost the chances of survival across the well-designed maps.
The online competitive game includes the usual deathmatch, conquest, capture the flag and headhunter modes given a Transformers twist. Many players will embrace the character creation and upgrade tool, which offers some excellent ways to upgrade and personalise a bot in exchange for Energon.
Overall, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron continues the great work of its predecessor and also takes that to new heights. The campaign is visually rich, highly playable and gripping throughout, while the multiplayer offers incentive to come back for more. Most crucially, though, High Moon Studios has again done justice to these much-loved, shapeshifting robots.