Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the follow up to High Moon's earlier Transformers: War for Cybertron. Since developing said predecessor, the studio has developed a movie tie-in for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. So, given the extra experience at developing Transformers titles, it should be asked if High Moon has avoided repeating the mistakes they made on War for Cybertron. Fortunately, it seems they have; even improving on the gameplay variety, while keeping the combat familiar to anyone who skipped the movie tie-in.
Fall of Cybertron's campaign begins with a level based on events towards the end of the story, then rewinds six days to recall the events leading up to what happens. Its singleplayer is more streamlined than War for Cybertron's; instead of having two huge boss battles for each side, there's a mid-boss and final boss fight in the final chapter.
The game spans 13 missions, split between controlling multiple transformers on either side - in a similar way to War for Cybertron. In typical 80s fashion, some new characters show up out of nowhere while a couple of decepticon jets from War for Cybertron are nowhere in sight.
Boss battles scattered throughout the campaign include simple quick-time events - typically involving waves of strong enemies to kill before you watch a cut-scene - which may include a button push, an attempt it let you feel like you're pushing the metaphorical red button to drop a nuke on someone. The final boss battles are slightly better, where you have to fight the bosses directly before finishing them off. There are two endings and, once you finish one, you can simply continue and fight through the final battle again, making the "other" choice to unlock both.
Although it offers a little more freedom in level design, Fall of Cybertron is about as linear as War for Cybertron. In addition, levels are pretty short; this isn't necessarily a bad thing - just as you're sick of using one Transformer, you're moving on to the next. When it comes to taking on the hordes of enemies, you can tackle most skirmishes in either robot or vehicle form. Both have their drawbacks and advantages; in vehicle mode, you can move a little faster - in some cases fly, but you can't use the special ability; whereas in robot form you move slower, but you can zoom in for more precise aiming.
While Fall of Cybertron's arsenal is pretty generic - covering rocket launchers, grenades, and sniper rifles - there are a few upgrades to be purchased at "Teletraan 1" stores. These upgrades increase your character's ammo and accuracy. In one particular level, I came across a situation where the game would keep spawning grunts until I took out a turret, so I was able to keep collecting more and more energon - I would have been able to max out every weapon. Although, that would have taken a while (and I hadn't died - a lesson learned.)
Unfortunately, Fall of Cybertron has its issues. You may get stuck on an object or on the wrong side of a booster pad and need to slide to get out of it - this could easily get you killed if decepticons are around. There are also plenty of cheap traps - such as Transformers bursting out when you flick a switch, reducing it to trial-and-error in parts.
To its credit, Fall of Cybertron has addressed one of the key problems with War for Cybertron; the shortage of ammo in heavy firefights - maybe a little too well. Ammo is almost in abundance in every combat situation and visiting a store instantly restores your health and ammo to full. In addition, you can swap your weapon for something more lethal - so on your second playthrough you can trade anyone's gun for a good old riot cannon.
Visually, Fall of Cybertron is about as colourful as you would expect, for a game based on a robotic world anyway; much of it is either brown or gray. The Transformers bear their mutual team colours - mainly red for autobots and purple for the decepticons - along with a few other variants. However, being on a robotic world doesn't excuse the hideous low resolution ground textures and aliasing you will come across throughout; if only the Matrix could antialias our jaggiest of edges... or lamest of puns.
Speaking of classic Transformers references, there are dozens of lines from the movies and nods to the cartoon throughout the game. While a remix of Stan Bush's The Touch is played during the credits, the Transformers do things they probably shouldn't - canonically speaking, at least - in the background.
On the multiplayer front, Fall of Cybertron has you create a character from four different classes - infiltrator, destroyer, titan, or scientist - and pick everything from their guns, to personality. The modes on hand include team deathmatch (kill 40 people), conquest (control multiple nodes and accumulate 400 points to win), capture the flag ( the first player to 3 points wins), and headhunter (gain 30 points to win).
You will die a lot if you start out leveling your classes in multiplayer - fortunately you gain levels even if you lose. Rounding up the multiplayer modes is the returning escalation mode - in which you and a friend take on waves of decepticons.
Overall, it's a superior game to War for Cybertron - from fixing the ammo situation to having a more variety in gameplay. The fact that you aren't playing through two campaigns which are virtually the same helps. It still offers up more for the aging Transformers fan, than the younger shooter fanatic.