Wednesday evening I went to the second half of the High Moon Studios Event (read my first half here) which featured the Multiplayer options and I was not disappointed by the results! Here are my observations and reveals of the evening’s events:
The Movement of the characters in the game feels like a cross between Transformers War For Cybertron
(referred to as WFC herein) and the Transformers Dark of the Moon The Game
(referred to as DOTM herein) game that came out last year. I hope this doesn't down play the game at all; yeah, it was a movie game but it did do a few things right. Although the multiplayer options paled in comparison to the WFC ones, I think High Moon Studios have taken the strengths from what they learned in DOTM and added a few tweaks. As far as I can tell the double jump is no longer available in the game anymore. But there is dash for ALL characters now, and if you hold this option down through the dash you can sprint. (The only downside that I found was that while in sprint it’s hard to maneuver. You can go in a straight line no problem, but try and go around a corner, not so much.)
Where are my weapons? If you had a chance to play DOTM, you may recall that the extra options like overshield and shields with buffs (an increase in an ability’s strength –ed) in the game glowed a bright color so you could see them and find them. FOC seems to do this as well but it's not as lighthouse beacon bright as it was in DOTM. It's very useful to help you find weapons, more ammunition, and health. It's in both the Multiplayer and Campaign modes. It's either blue or yellow. And I'll describe in each Multiplayer, Campaign or Escalation descriptions how that helps you. The downside, in WFC multiplayer when an opponent expires they leave behind their weapon which you can then pick up and use, this is no longer an option in FOC. (And I only say it's a downside because it was taken out of the game, because I'm pretty neutral about its removal.) I did ask about it to confirm my observation and it seems it was a conscious decision to keep things balanced.
Another thing about the weapons is that there are so many of them! And they do a variety of SO many things it almost seemed that every character I played had something new I hadn't seen. Because of this and the short time I had to play the Multiplayer options, I can't tell you about how awesome a specific weapon was. I'm sure the longer I play I'll find my favorite one that fits more to my tastes as a player. But the point is there are SO many options. And part of the fun is discovering these weapons for yourself!
I played the opening Bumblebee chapter of the campaign, which serves as the opening tutorial that I previewed earlier
in the day and a portion of a chapter within the middle of the game with Megatron.
TIMED SEQUENCES AND ANIMATIONS
The tutorial level did feature the timed action sequence options that I mentioned in the Grimlock level in my previous article. There were a few places where it was used. And I liked it. Also this may be a tutorial-like chapter but it makes sense, and it's not overly instructive. They do make it apart of the story in the way it is presented and I wasn't bothered by it. And Bumblebee does NOT talk in this game. (It’s explained in the first few minutes that his vocals were damaged.)
What I did notice that makes me a little sad is the fact that the animations for characters interacting with the environment aren’t as interesting as it was in WFC. For example, in WFC, when you came to a door, you were required to push the X button on the Xbox 360 controller and the character’s arm would attach to the door lock and unlock it. It always just felt right to me. These are Transformers and their environment should be intuitive like that. Now in FOC, the interaction seems less about transforming and interacting and I think it will take getting used to it a bit, but it was missing at that point and I found it charming in WFC.
As I mentioned about the weapons and obtaining ammunition earlier. While playing Megatron I got points for dispatching Autobots and when they expired they left ammunition to pick up. (Mostly blue.) But there were yellow options lying around as well, I just didn't get a chance to interact with them nor Teletran I, but red glowing objects you want to avoid as they may blow up in your face.
This is when I got the chance to play with the character customization while we paused between matches, and it's definitely a place where a Transformer fan can EASILY spend hours making your character look just right as there are THAT many options. I failed to point out in my joy over how impressive it is in my last article
to include you can even customize the voice as well!
The downside to customized characters is that it’s hard to figure out who is on who's team when you are playing against a Decepticon that looks a bit like Bumblebee. Sure you can wave your aiming reticle over the character and if it blinks red, you've got an opponent. But sometimes those extra seconds count! (Hehehe) It does add an element of fun to the Multiplayer options though.
I recall the failed disguise buff in WFC that became easy to see through this almost takes that ability back as you could have the luck of the draw while in Multiplayer. It means you need to pay attention to those around you. Just because there is a bot with a Megatron head is paired with Autobot colors and features, doesn't mean he's your enemy or your friend. And it certainly won't stop some from switching to another character after they expire to throw you off.
DEATHMATCH AND CONQUEST
I played several rounds on Multiplayer Death Match and Conquest and it seemed very much like the WFC versions, which is good, because it is the Death Match I know and love in WFC, minus the expired characters weapons drop. On one map, when you need to jump to a second level, there is a bumper-like light shoot that seamlessly shot me into the air and to the second story. (Reminding me just a little of Halo Reach which did something similar.)
Multiplayer fanatics should be happy to hear that host migration has been included in multiplayer so the host quitting won't end a match. And it appears that if you use the Shield buff, you can shoot through it although your opponent cannot. So not only does it shield you, but you get an advantage as well.
I played as Bumblebee, Perceptor, Soundwave, and SAW Wheeljack! (Which made me very happy! Sporting what I saw was a Prime like influence.) There are some changes in this all-out co-op survival mode. It is absolutely designed to make the players work as a team. If you are the lone wolf-type you will only frustrate your fellow players and end up expiring early.
There are 15 waves of combat designed to challenge you as a team. You have a healer, a munitioner, a shield, and a C.L.U.T.C.H. given to a specific character. Along with the options that I reported in my last article
there is a new option that I found interesting.
You have three chances to beat a wave as a team before the wave CLEARS. That means that if you get to level 5 and all die on that wave, you have two more chances to come back to that wave and repeat it as a team before the game ends and you have to start completely over. Also when you get to the last 3 opponents of the wave a red beacon goes out over the screen signaling three opponents remain and the AI is programmed to bring these last three to you. This effect does not end until the last antagonist is disposed.
High Moon seems they have actively found a way to solve some of the frustrations of Escalation and end the camping-out effect. If you expire before the end of the wave and your team has to do it without you, you may still have to wait but hopefully not nearly as long.
You also only have two weapon types. A primary weapon and a heavy weapon, which require two separated kinds of ammunition; the primary weapon's ammunition is blue, the heavy color is yellow. Everything else about this mode seems similar to its previous incarnation. You pool your resources together to open doors and buy weapons or buffs for yourself. (Not sure if you can buy it for your team mates anymore?)
I certainly can't wait for a chance to play it again and if I'm lucky and the booth isn't overly packed at SDCC I just might swing by for another game or two while I'm at the convention.
As far as I'm concerned High Moon Studios has made another amazing game that I can't wait to get my hands on. Certainly there are differences, and certainly I see that I'll need to spend time learning my weapons, creating my own character, and building up my Multiplayer skills again, but bring it on! August can't come soon enough!
Transformers Fall of Cybertron comes out August 21, 2012 on Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3, and PC.