We didn't hide our love for Transformers: War for Cybertron when it released in 2010. High Moon Studios delivered a better Transformers game than we thought possible, and even though it had a number of flaws, we were still impressed with the outcome. For the sequel, Fall of Cybertron, the developer is planning on rolling out a slew of additions and changes that look to make for an even stronger game, adding in updates to the AI, massive modifications to the campaign, and a giant space T-Rex that shoots fire, among other things.
Here's everything you need to know to get caught up and hyped for the game, which is due out later this year.
1. The plot begins immediately after War for Cybertron
The Autobots lost. The war for Cybertron is over. Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons kicked their metal butts all over the planet, and at the end of the last game, Optimus Prime and a number of other Autobots promised to stay on the falling planet until all of their remaining allies had been rescued, and that's just what they're going to do.
But the Decepticons aren't content with letting the Autobots escape. Now that they've stomped their former foes into the ground, they want to finish them once and for all, meaning the battles should continue to be absolutely epic even though the actual war is, for all intents and purposes, over.
2. It has one campaign with different characters
In War for Cybertron, the story was split into two parts. The Autobot and Decepticon sections were separated, and could be played in any order to offer players more flexibility. This seemed like a good idea at the time, apparently, but High Moon Studios admits that it caused some issues. Two campaigns meant two tutorials, two slowly-rising stories, and two conclusions that needed to make sense independently of the other. It meant two short, good games, instead of one long, great one.
This time around, you'll still be swapping between characters and factions, but it'll all be in one flowing, coherent story. The way the transitions between characters happens seems interesting, too - at one point, we saw the player-controlled Starscream taunt a trapped Grimlock (more on him later). Midway through the conversation, button prompts began transitioning the player's control from Starscream to Grimlock as he broke free. High Moon even baked some tutorial elements into the act of escaping, which seamlessly taught the player how to use the character. If every transition is as cool as that one, we're in for a treat.
3. At least one Transformer has more than two forms
For the most part, the Transformers in the game will only have one transformed form. Optimus turns into a truck, Megatron a jet, Soundwave turns into an iPod or whatever, and everything is simple. At least one Transformer, however, will have three forms to switch between. During our demo we saw the Decepticon Vortex run around on the ground killing enemies, only to jump into the sky and transform not just into a helicopter, but into a jet as well.
It might seem a little redundant to transform into two different aerial vehicles, but after seeing it in action it makes complete sense. Vortex is able to hover in place to shoot at enemies as a helicopter, switch to a jet to fly between areas extremely quickly, and then jump back to his robotic form when he wants to take down foes on the ground. It's cool, and we're hoping more characters have this capability.
4. Every Transformer has a unique ability
High Moon Studios didn't really like how the abilities worked last time, and wanted to create more variety in Fall of Cybertron. In order to do this, it weaved together the campaigns into one, and gave each playable Transformer a unique ability. One shoulder button will let the Transformer sprint, while the other does, well, something completely different.
This means that no two segments of the campaign should really play alike, as they'll each include a special ability that the last one didn't have.
5. Like Jazz's a grappling hook...
One ability that was shown off was Jazz's grappling hook. Apparently, at one point in the many years of Transformers comics, movies, cartoons, and toys, Jazz had a grappling hook, so High Moon took it and ran with it. Sure, why not? Sounds good to us.
The segment that was shown off had Jazz fighting against more than a dozen sniper enemies. He needed to continuously leap between different platforms with his grapple, avoiding fire and returning it whenever possible. It was dizzying at first, but eventually turned into an awesome, tense battle that was unlike anything in War for Cybertron.
6. Or Optimus Prime's control of the massive Metroplex...
Since Optimus is the last of the Primes, his special ability gives him control of a massive, "city-sized" Transformer named Metroplex (not pictured, sadly). Metroplex is absolutely colossal, and by targeting an enemy, building, or location with his special ability, Optimus can call in the support of the goliath.
His support comes in a few different context-sensitive flavors. Sometimes he'll unleash a barrage of missiles from off-screen, acting like air support in a war game. Other times, he'll directly interact with objects, punching buildings or stomping on enemies. Metroplex is absolutely massive, and we can't wait to order him around like a pet, destroying our foes while we ramble about freedom being the right of all sentient beings.
7. Or the Combaticons' ability to turn into Bruticus...
Even cooler than controlling a massive Transformer from afar is actually being one, and that's just what the Combaticons can do. We watched as five Transformers became one, Voltron-ing together into the brutal Bruticus.
This, alone, was awesome, but the way that High Moon used each of their abilities was really what got us excited. The helicopter Combaticon, for instance, latched onto the arm, and let Bruticus use his blades as a shield. It's efficient, and makes complete sense... you know, for a game about giant robots.