"We have no choice, Bumblebee. The war is lost. Leaving our home is the hardest decision I've ever had to make. It has been a long, painful war with the Decepticons. Whatever lies beyond that portal is our best - and last - hope, my friend."
The sequel to 2010's Transformers: War for Cybertron, this game shows the tailend of the war before it left for Earth. Technically the Decepticons have won, but since Cybertron is screwed, it becomes a race to gather what Energon and survivors they can and get off the planet. Because of this, it's Darker and Edgier than any other Transformers game.The game opens with the launching of The Ark, a massive city-ship meant to transport as many Autobots off world as possible. Intending to look for a new world to colonize, they are suddenly attacked by Megatron and his Decepticon forces. After some time fighting them off and Optimus personally battling Megatron, the game then jumps back some time before they left Cybertron and details the major events that occurred to get them to this point. This involves the player taking on the roles and detailing the stories of many other characters including Jazz, Grimlock, Starscream, the Combaticons and Cliffjumper.High Moon Studios has revamped the gameplay system extensively from its predecessor, changing quite a lot of the fundamentals to the point it is more of a natural successor rather than a true sequel. The gameplay is more varied, as the abilities of certain characters will factor into the missions and different characters will have different gameplay styles, e.g. Jazz makes use of a grappling hook to reach higher vantage points to avoid snipers and Grimlock will only be able to transform into his T-Rex form once he smashes enough enemies and gets angry enough.As is traditional for Transformers games, the player can play as both factions, but instead of having separate Autobot and Decepticon campaigns (splitting the game down the middle as WFC did), it intermingles the playthrough to create one complete story told from different perspectives.The debut trailer is here and the E3 2012 trailer featuring Metroplex here.Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark was released in 2014, featuring segments both on Cybertron (though these segments take place before the events of this game) and Earth and is a Crossover between the game's universe and that of the live-action films, specifically Transformers: Age of Extinction. The announcement trailer can be found here.
Advertised Extra: Bumblebee appears on the cover, but he has an extremely minor, non-speaking role in the game.
A Father to His Men: As always with Optimus. It shows with Bumblebee in the first trailer and hinted at in-game with the other Autobot soldiers.
After the End: Following the events of the first game, Cybertron is in the process of shutting down and energon is in desperately short supply. Thick layers of ash cover much of the land, and many of the Tron Lines that were so prevalent before have gone dark.
Art Evolution: The characters have changed appearances since War For Cybertron and seem to be a combination of the WFC designs and Transformers Prime. Optimus in particular looks a little more lanky with larger shoulder pieces and Megatron is a little bigger and bulkier, and his armor also has spikes. Also of note, Cliffjumper shares a body with Bumblebee, like his toy and appearance in the DS version of WFC, but his head design has changed from the G1-esque look he had prior to a look far more similar to his Prime appearance. Considering that the games and Prime take place in the same continuity, it's likely an intentional change.
In general, character proportions are much more slender and the art design meant to evoke a more colorful Cybertron (in comparison to the various shades of gunmetal in the first game).
Ascended Extra: Several DLC/multiplayer only characters from WFC - namely Jazz, Onslaught, and Shockwave - have prominent roles in the storyline.
Attack Drone: You can use these to attack your foes and draw their attention away from you.
Autobot Titans can deploy repair drones to make themselves near-invincible.
Attack Its Weak Point: Leapers and Insecticon Bruisers are near-invulnerable from the front, but take huge damage when attacked in the back.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bruticus is much bigger than he should be, meaning, as Matt Tieger put it, enemies that are your size before are just a minor hindrance.
On the Autobots' side, we have Metroplex, a transforming city. Optimus Prime's special ability is to call down attacks from Metroplex, who can often be seen walking around in the background of stages.
Authority Equals Asskicking: This interview pretty much says that some level designing was devoted specifically to making Optimus this and is why calling on Metroplex is his special ability. If a huge, immensely powerful city-sized Transformer will obey Optimus Prime's every command, he must be badass.
On the Decepticon side, Megatron has a healthy dose of this. He kicks the ass of the half of his army that thought it was a good idea to stick with Starscream after Megatron is rebuilt.
Ax-Crazy: Grimlock is implied to be a borderline case at the very least, even before he became a Dinobot. Specifically in the first mission after the prologue, if you go into Grimlock's room, you can open his locker to find a cache of severed Decepticon heads. After that little reveal, Optimus states that Grimlock's anger issues make him a danger to his fellow Autobots as well as the Decepticons.
Kickback and Sharpshot, the latter devolving into outright sadism.
Badass Boast: When Optimus and Megatron come face to face for the first time.
Berserker: Grimlock has so far been stated to be very angry with a lot of things and his ability to use his T-Rex mode is, plotwise, triggered by him getting very angry.
Berserk Button: Don't hurt Grimlock's team, especially right in front of him. It'll be the last thing you ever do.
Big Bad Wannabe: Starscream wants to be leader not because he's a better leader or commander, but just for the sake of being the leader. At first, Onslaught puts up with him, devising the plans, but letting Starscream take credit for them. Later on, when Starscream proves just how incompetent he is not only as a commander, but as a leader, Onslaught calls him out on it in complete and utter disgust.
Bad Boss: For reference, Starscream started backing out of his own op while Megatron leads from the front lines in any mission he leads. Megatron may also execute his men, but not needlessly for the most part, while Starscream ended up jailing the Combaticons for salvaging a mission that he screwed up. And all round, he manages to be an even bigger jerk to the point where Onslaught barely hides how much he hates his guts.
Epic Fail: The Decepticons have more weaponry, soldiers, and Energon. Yet his leadership has been a "complete disaster" according to several Decepticon mooks, and as far the player can tell, Starscream was only in charge for a few days.
Even worse, he doesn't even have a long term plan to defeat the Autobots beyond trying to hold onto a supply of energon that according to Megatron, he wasted most of. He apparently also thought that using the space bridge to raid a new planet for energy was a waste of time. He prefers using energon to fill Kaon with statues of himself and constantly broadcast needlessly long self-admiration speeches that the common mooks imply happen routinely. Even Megatron considers this a waste, though that's arguably hypocritical.
Pointy-Haired Boss: When Starscream takes charge, he leads a mission to recapture Energon from the Sea of Rust. Onslaught devises most of the plan and the Combaticons put it into motion. When Starscream orders an attack, Onslaught protests, saying that there are too many air defense cannons. Starscream calls him a coward and sends in the troops, who promptly get slaughtered. Onslaught salvages the mission with just his 5-bot team and manages to get away with at least half of the Energon. Starscream blames him for the failure, saying half the energon was destroyed when they brought down the transport, and Onslaught points out the Autobots would have gotten all of it if his team followed Starscream's orders (plus losses would probably have been even higher), and Starscream has him and the other Combaticons arrested for insulting him - obviously a leader can't take insubordination but Starscream clearly can't think of a better way.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Insecticons make an appearance in hordes. They're bigger than scout sized characters and creepy as hell.
There's one variety called Bruisers that's bigger than Grimlock's robot mode.
Big Damn Heroes: Metroplex in the ends of both chapters he appears in. Chapter 2 has him transforming and driving off a Decepticon attack on the Ark, while Chapter 3 has him saving Optimus Prime by pounding Megatron into the floor. Plus Optimus can repeatedly call on him to target groups of Decepticons through his levels.
Book Ends: Optimus words to Bumblebee are some of the first lines in the game, and the last during the credits.
Starscream's segment begins with the player switching to a new character and doing something painful to the 'bot they had just been playing. It ends the same way.
Bull Fight Boss: Leapers and Bruiser insecticons attack alot by rushing the player and Optimus will try to ram Megatron if you play as him.
Canon Welding: While part of the Transformers Aligned Universe, the stories were intended to be fairly distinct from each other and within their own "bubble" of continuity. Possibly following some strong fandom reactions to the idea they are in the same universe despite such major differences, this game is intending to bridge some key elements with Transformers Prime. Specifically, the opening level shows Bumblebee has lost his voice, a key characteristic of Prime!Bumblebee.
Other elements include Megatron taking a more spikey-like design, Trypticon becoming the Nemesis, Shockwave's arm ripped off and space bridge technology being one of Shockwave's many incredible discoveries/inventions.
Bullying a Dragon: When Megatron is Back from the Dead and crashes Starscream's coronation, some of the Decepticons willingly attending are stupid enough to actually to try and fight him. Eventually they take a hint and leave Starscream when they see him for coward he is.
Also, just about anyone trying to fight Metroplex is effectively performing this trope. It takes an enormous cannon to take him down, and even then only temporarily.
Shockwave seems to make a point of provoking and talking down to Grimlock after he escapes, even though he basically built him to be the ultimate fighting machine. He believes that he can control him he can't.
Starscream's treatment of Grimlock. Grimlock is restrained, but that doesn't change the fact that Starscream's plan to convince him to work for him involved a great deal of INSULTING HIM TO HIS FACE, and he doesn't think it would backfire.
Character Customization: Improved over the previous game and the DOTM tie-in. Previously, multiplayer characters would be identical to other characters save for their weapons, abilities and color schemes. This time around, various pieces are available to further customize your character.
Chekhov's Gunman: Several enemy types and characters appear during the first mission without explanation or fanfare.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: As with the first game, Autobots and their equipment tend to have red running lights while Decepticon lights tend to be purple, just like the traditional colors of their logos.
In multiplayer you can set the colors to either absolute (red = Autobots, purple = Decepticons) or relative (blue = allies, red = enemies).
Bumblebee has lost his voice by the time the events of the game take place.
The Nemesis is almost completely identical to its appearance in Transformers Prime. Furthermore, Trypticon's body is rebuilt into the Nemesis, he transformed into it in Transformers: Exodus and it's hinted at in Prime.
Occasionally when Optimus accesses Teletraan-1, the computer will refer to him as Orion Pax before correcting itself and calling him Optimus Prime instead. Orion Pax was Optimus's original name and identity prior to becoming an Autobot warrior, in which he worked as a data archivist for the Hall of Records where the computer was maintained. His history as an archivist is also mentioned in a data log by Ironhide, and mockingly referred to by Megatron in their final battle of the game.
Optimus Prime's primary weapon for the game, the Path Blaster, is reportedly modeled on the weapon he's seen using in Prime, with some sources even suggesting it's the exact same weapon, give or take.
Cliffjumper's head is now virtually identical to his Prime appearance.
When Optimus is brought before Megatron, he references the fact that this is the first time they've met since Optimus became a Prime and is still in the same body he possessed in WFC. After Metroplex pounds him into the floor, Soundwave recovers and revives him with a body that aesthetically looks far more similar to his Prime design than his previous body.
Insecticons can be found in stasis pods, much like they are in Prime.
During Megatron's forceful taking back of his leadership from Starscream, he notes that the arena he's in is the same gladiatorial arena that he formed the Decepticons from. Ironhide even mentions his former name, Megatronus, in a data log, as well as how Megatron came to start the war after being rejected by the High Council, events that were more clearly detailed in Exodus and Prime.
During one of his logs, Shockwave notes that Insecticons communicate via ultra-sonic frequencies, which with the exceptions of Hardshell, Kickback and Sharpshot, whom are more evolved, is what he uses to control them. Whilst being a possible Mythology Gag to the G1 Insecticons, it also provides further explanation as to how Airachnid is able to control Insecticons in Prime, as well as why she lost control of them when she was trapped in stasis. It may also be a more direct reference to the distinctive shriek uttered by the Insecticon drones in Prime.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Grimlock and his team (pre-Dinobot forms) vs the Insecticons, they got thrashed, though we don't know how many of them there were. Later, while searching for his team, he tore them a new one. Jazz and Cliffjumper can fight of the Insecticons that captured Grimlock's team. Justified because they were sort of informed by Sludge's memory banks, and Grimlock was made a lot stronger by Shockwave, and Jazz and Cliffjumper just made a run for it.
And of course when playing as Grimlock, he'll single-handedly lay waste to a small army of them.
Converse with the Unconscious: Rather than repair and reactivate him, Megatron tells Trypticon his plans for him while he is still in stasis. Granted he's not sure if he can here him or not.
Critical Hit: The Path Blaster's aptly named "Gambler" upgrade makes a random shot in it's clip take 2 rounds instead, and does enough damage to instant kill Mooks, cripple Giant Mooks and blast open large sections of room.
Cruel Mercy: Megatron recovers Trypticon, only to berate him for his failures and convert him into the Nemesis as "atonement". It's noted by Soundwave that with the damage Trypticon's taken, the change would be permanent.
In Megatron's opinion, keep in mind, this is actually an act of compassion, because he's giving Trypticon a chance to atone, considering what he usually does if somebody displeases him.
Everything trying to stand in Grimlock way ends with him delivering this.
Cutscene Power to the Max: Much better about this than the previous game. Most are only somewhat more nimble and Grimlock's T-Rex mode really is that much more powerful than his normal mode. And Optimus was pissed when he punched Megatron 100 meters back.
Darker and Edgier: Fall of Cybertron is this to War For Cybertron. It's a far more violent, graphic, and much solemn and sadder tale. In fact, It is arguably the darkest Transformers story ever told. Among other things:
The game no qualms about showing both Autobots and Decepticons dying in horrific ways. Not to mention that some sections of the game are littered with Autobot and Decepticon corpses
Shortly before the final battle, Optimus Prime briefly loses its temper and threatens to kill Megatron, after the latter almost kills Bumblebee
It has an outright Downer Ending that leaves the fates of several characters deliberately ambiguous
Deadly Disc: One of the newer arm weapons that fires buzzsaw blades.
Demoted to Extra: Some of the playable Transformers from the last game get only few scenes devoted to them, namely Soundwave, Ironhide, Ratchet, Bumblebee, and the Aerialbots.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: During the final chapter, after the player beats the Final Boss fight between Optimus and Megatron, the game has a checkpoint right before the fight that lets them replay it as either character without having to go through the whole level again.
Disney Death: Megatron, who gets pummeled by Metroplex early on in the game. A few levels later, he's rebuilt by Soundwave.
Disney Villain Death: What (presumably) happens to Shockwave and Grimlock. Though the tower's destruction looks a little suspect and given Shockwave's appearance in Transformers Prime, it may not have really been the case.
What also happens to all the bots knocked loose of the Ark and the Nemesis' artificial gravity like Bruticus. Though the only thing to fall to is the unstable wormhole sucking everything in.
The Insecticons are this to the Decepticons despite them being on the same side, with one audio log from a Mook commenting that they just do what they want when they want and Shockwave isn't really controlling them, and going by most of what we see, he's half right, the Insecticons will attack most anything except Shockwave. Sharpshot is a pretty nasty case in that he's so sadistic even Shockwave is unnerved by him.
Dueling Player Characters: The finale involves the player selecting to control either Optimus Prime or Megatron as they have their final battle before the Space Bridge portal.
Dumb Muscle: Grimlock, although it's specified that it's mostly just a difficulty with talking. Due to Shockwave's modifications, 98.7% of his power is dedicated to his combat systems, leaving very little for other functions. He's certainly filled with rage, though Optimus implies he's always like that, but he proves to be fairly clever at times.
Easter Egg: A few levels have semi-hidden rooms where games can be played, small robots dance and a sneak peak at Metroplex's fortress mode can be seen. Here are some examples:
In Starscream's chapter, players can find the same crown he was given from Megatron's first chapter.
In Jazz's chapter, a tap-dancing robot disguised as a lever can be pulled to reveal a huge Energon cache.
Optimus has a holographic shrine to his old axe from War For Cybertron hidden near the start of said character's chapter. Optimus says "Your sacrifice won't be forgotten old friend." upon activating the shrine, indicating he lost it in battle. Soundwave makes a cameo disguised as a turret in Optimus' second chapter as well; a homage to G1.
Shooting two targets near a Teletraan I terminal in Megatron's first chapter uncover's Megatron's secret crane game room. Find four dolls (Onslaught, Soundwave, Starscream, and Megatron) to win a big Energon prize.
Before leaving with Warpath in Optimus' first chapter, a door can be found which leads to Grimlock's room, which contains a free weapon stash and a TV where you can relax for a while. It also has a locker full of Decepticon heads that Grimlock keeps as trophies.
At the very beginning of Optimus's chapter, Metroplex in his inert fortress mode can be seen to the right as soon as Optimus is playable.
The Autobots get the Titans, plus-sized robots with large chainguns that can deploy both explosive player-seeking mines and floating drones that give them an overshield.
Emergency Transformation: Megatron starts out with his design from the previous game, but after Metroplex wrecks him, Soundwave and his minions rebuild him, taking the liberty of making some improvements in the process.
Enemy Chatter: Mooks can be heard talking about the current situation and giving their two cents to each other in certain chapters.
Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Dinobots. Why the Cybertronians know of dinosaurs is actually explained; Shockwave has been observing the fauna of far off planets.
Expy: The Path Blaster and Riot Cannon are these for Optimus' Ion Blaster and Megatron's Fusion Cannon respectfully.
Extreme Melee Revenge: Grimlock killing Sharpshot, where he bites but doesn't completely crush him, thrashes him around breaking his left leg off, slams him into the ground, and then stomps on him. This was after he had been taunting him the whole level, then tortured and nearly killed Grimlock's teammate Snarl right in front of him. There's also his attack on Shockwave, where he tears Shockwave's arm off and then smashes him with his tail.
Foil: Optimus and Megatron both do nearly opposite actions at the same crossroads in the war. Their use of the City-bots being the most notable. Both use them to change the flow of the war and both ordered theirs to attack the other. But where Megatron attacked fleeing civilians, Optimus gave the Decepticons and their leaders the option to flee when he could have ended the war right then. Both have parallel achievements in the missions involving their city-bots and both sacrificed them to reach the portal in different ways, with Megatron sacrificing his as a Kick the Dog only finding him for his power, and Optimus sacrificing his only because he insisted.
Grimlock and Shockwave serve as opposites as well. Shockwave is calm and composed, but also heartless. Grimlock is short tempered, but ultimately a good guy underneath.
Giant Mook: The Autobots have the Titans, massive (around the size of Grimlock), well-armored warriors packing tons of firepower and plenty of repair drones. Use Splash Damage to take care of both drones quickly.
Decepticons, in addition the Leapers above (which are larger than any of the playable characters except Grimlock and Bruticus), have Insecticon Bruisers, which about the size of Grimlock when he's in robot mode. They can dish and take a ton of damage, as well as being immune to Grimlock's robot mode executions, but their attacks are limited to head on charges so they're easy to dodge, and Grimlock in dino form can take them out in a couple hits, or can do an execution where he bites them in half.
Groin Attack: One of Starscream's animations for stealth-killing an enemy is to kick them between the legs and attach a bomb to them.
Hammerspace: Grimlock's transformation into a T-Rex borrows from his G1 transformation, with his arms turning into the T-rex's legs and his legs in robot mode forming the tail. However, he has some bits of this with his tail, head and T-rex body. Partially Rule of Cool, but mostly because the designers wanted to make sure the design doesn't block the player's view during gameplay (they noted that if they copied the G1 design too much, all the player would see of Grimlock while controlling him is his back).
Several levels have places to plant det-packs about the size of their torso. In the final battle Megatron and Optimus will pull out shield after shield when the last one is destroyed.
Heroic Sacrifice: Metroplex willingly transfers all the power he had left so that the Autobots can power the Ark and try to beat the Decepticons to the space portal to Earth.
Horror Hunger: The Insecticons. Shockwave's logs say they can eat nearly anything, audio logs from an anonymous Decepticon outright terrified of them because of it thinking they'll turn on them, and come chapter XII, they do, going wild and attacking the Decepticons as well as Grimlock. During that chapter a bit chatter coming from them can heard, all of it regarding Grimlock as a meal.
How We Got Here: The game opens with the Autobots launching the Ark and beginning their exodus, followed immediately by the Decepticons sending a force to board and destroy the ship. Most of the game is a flashback that starts when Megatron joins the invading force and critically injures Bumblebee, leaving him on the verge of death.
Hypocritical Humor: When the bridge that the carrier is about to pass needs subterfuge to dismantle, Vortex brushes off Brawl's attempt to help. When the carrier is nearly there, Brawl decides to blow away all the present enemies. Vortex asks why he didn't do that earlier.
Cold Open: Subverted. The game begins at the very end, when the Decepticons aboard the Nemesis attack the Ark, as seen from the eyes of Bumblebee. The rest of the game shows the events building up to that point; the events Final Chapter shows what was happening on the Ark while Bumblebee was trying to get to Optimus.
It's All About Me: Megatron has an ego the size of a mountain. He seems totally convinced that he and only he can restore Cybertron and lead the Decepticons. Given Starscream's rule, he might be right about the latter at least.
Starscream manages to be a bigger case. He doesn't even bother to hide that doesn't care about the fate of Cybertron, or anything, but himself.
Irony: Before even having a tail, Grimlock says the only reason he would turn tail is to hit a Decepticon with it. Shockwave was working on the weapon that would permanently be his arm well before he needed it.
Just Before the End: The story focuses on both the Autobots and Decepticons trying to gather enough energon to escape Cybertron before the planet shuts down.
Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Leapers and Insecticon Bruisers are near-invulnerable when attacked from the front. Only Megatron's tank mode, the Path Blaster and Riot Cannon's special shots, and Grimlock's Dino Mode are the exception.
Grimlock especially. His method of transformation? First, he roars at the sky, then he pounds his fists into the ground. This is after he makes slag out of his opponents.
"Metroplex heeds the call of the last Prime!"
Leeroy Jenkins: A minor example, as they never actually mess anything up (aside from getting captured by Shockwave), but the Dinobots, sans Grimlock, have a tendency to charge forward without much regard for the dangers ahead (though to be fair, they are capable of handling a lot) while Grimlock yells at them to wait up.
Cliffjumper displays a few shades of this when playing as Jazz.
Starscream refuses to listen to Onslaught's warning about the energon transport being armed with heavy artilery, and charges headlong into battle with the rest of the Decepticons forces. They get their skidplates handed to them, leaving Onslaught and the Combaticons to salvage the mission.
Mook Horror Show: Starscream's level has him taking out Shockwave's minions while cloaked. To some extent, Cliffjumper's as well. You can also hear the absolute terror the Autobots have when it turns out that Megatron is alive again, which he takes full enjoyment of and when playing as Bruticus. Some of Grimlock's enemies simply cut and run while trying to avoid him likes he's a mechanical mini-Godzilla.
Not only do some of Grimlock's enemies cower in fear of him, even flat running in fear, his revenge on Sharpshot plays out like something out of Jurassic Park. Not that Sharpshot didn't deserve it.
Moral Dissonance: Cliffjumper finds Sludge still alive, but in stasis lock. Cliff indicates that he'll come back for him once his mission is complete. Later Jazz floods the area leaving no survivors left inside. What really hurts is the fact that neither Jazz or Cliffjumper seemed all that bothered by leaving one of there own behind to die. They don't even mention his name again afterwards.
Mugging the Monster: Megatron decides to slap Optimus around, not realizing that Metroplex has just recovered from being blasted by the warp cannon.
Mythology Gag: A tradition for Transformers, but even the trailer already has some, with transformation sound effects from the live-actions films and Optimus Prime turning his hand into a gun very reminiscent of the arm cannon his Transformers Prime appearance has, except much larger.
Weapons named so far include the Path Blaster, the name of a gun from the G1 Marvel comics, the Energon Havester, a reference to a MacGuffin from Transformers Prime (though in this game, it functions as a shotgun that restores the health of the player using it), and the Dinobots being Autobots that were captured and experimented on by Shockwave references their origins from the Marvel comics and IDW's G1 universe.
Slug knocks a door down on top of Kickback and says "Excuse me" to the Insecticon as he enters. The same thing happened to a Quintesson in Transformers: The Movie, only the context in which the line was spoken appears to be more self-aware and sarcastic in the game.
Various forms of DLC and unlockable content include a G1 skin for Optimus Prime, a G2 paintjob for Bruticus and guns based on the alt-modes of Megatron and Shockwave from the original cartoon note The Retro Laser and Electro Bolter are Megatron's pistol mode and Soundwave's gun, respectively, while the Sling Shock and Glass Gas Cannon are Shockwave's gun from this game and Optimus's G1 rifle adapted into the Glass Gas Cliffjumper used.
There's also the 'Cesium Salami' and 'Beryllium Bologna' argument between Grimlock and Slug which is taken almost word for word from the movie.
Right before Grimlock kills Sharpshot, we also get a shot from the inside of Grimlock's mouth like during one shot from the movie. Difference here is that the Sharticon he tried biting ran away, Sharpshot doesn't get away.
In the G1 cartoon, Shockwave was originally shown with two functional hands, before showing he'd had his left hand replaced by a gun arm in the 4 million years he'd stayed on Cybertron, with no explanation as to what happened to make such a change. The game actually gives this universe's Shockwave an in-story reason for why such a thing might be necessary. His left arm is bitten off and eaten by Grimlock in his T-Rex form.
One loading screen makes reference to the P.O.K.Enote Punch of Kill Everything with a beta version available as the special upgrade for the Neutron Assault Rifle, which greatly increases melee damage.
The loading screens often contain information right off of G1 toy packaging, such as Air Raid's profile quote, or (also G1) More Than Meets the Eye profiles, such as the source of Barricade's name.
The Nemesis as Trypticon's new permanent form assaulting the Ark not only references how the G1 series began, but also the fate of the G1 Ark.
Soundwave drops "Soundwave superior, Autobots inferior." a few times.
And Rumble onceagain says "Get ready to crumble, before Rumble!" and "First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside!".
The changing faction decal when the storyline shifts from one to the other brings to mind the screen wipe from the original show.
"Coronation, Starscream? This is bad comedy."
Never My Fault: Despite being the main reason for the loss of a large amount of Decepticon forces and the failure of a huge operation, Starscream doesn't take the blame for doing so and blames the Combaticons (who were the ones who bailed said operation out and clean up after Starscream) by tossing them into jail for insubordination.
Megatron considers Cybertron's state of shutdown all Optimus's fault, saying that he's stopped him from returning Cybertron to its natural state when he stopped the Core's corruption from Dark Energon. Already an absurd statement which is even more absurd when Dark Energon literally is Unicron's blood.
Arguably, Shockwave for turning Grimlock and his team into Dinobots in the first place.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Pick Optimus for the final boss fight and his button pressing sequences can be summed as these in a nutshell. In more detail, the first one has him pin Megatron against a large object and pummel him before tossing him across the area, and the second has him pin Megatron to the ground and impale him through the arm, then grab Megatron by the head and repeatedly slam his face into the ground before Megatron throws him off.
Picking Megatron comes off this way as well. Heck, at one point, he lands some good blows on Optimus while he has a sword through his abdomen.
Optimus Prime: "After eons of conflict, I finally see the truth of your words, Megatron."
Megatron: "And what might that be, Optimus?"
Optimus Prime: "This universe, no matter how vast, will never be big enough for you and I to coexist!"
Off Model: It's not really noticeable in the campaign, but sometimes in multiplayer, you'll have parts that simply don't match up well with your bot's alt-mode. So the transformation animation will be rather choppy, the worst offenders being the Dinobot DLC models. It's a known issue, though, and is being worked on.
Oh, Crap: When the Decepticon troops see Metroplex in the E3 trailer, they wisely begin to retreat.
On the other side, the cutscene in which the Combaticons combine to form Bruticus features several Autobot troops completely freaking out.
The general reaction of the Decepticons to seeing Grimlock break out.
Even the The Spock Shockwave has one (seen in slow motion thanks to the game's quick time events) when Grimlocks breaks his restraints by transforming.
Ominous Walk: Rare case from a non-villain, Grimlock, in dino form, does this, slowly walking towards a terrified Sharpshot before dismembering him.
One Bullet Left: The Riot Cannon's "Planet Buster" upgrade makes it's last shot do 5 times the damage of a normal shot.
One-Man Army: Metroplex, who takes on the entire Decepticon army and hands them their skidplates on a silver platter.
Definitely justified, this being a rare case in which the one man is literally the size of an army.
More traditionally, Grimlock proves to be next to unstoppable in his missions. Especially when he shifts into beast mode. When Cliffjumper and Jazz find a huge room littered with Decepticon parts and debris, they immediately recognize it as Grimlock's doing.
Bruticus, who is of the strongest usable characters in the game.
Only a Flesh Wound: The characters often take damage that would kill a human outright, though justified since they are robots. Special mention goes out to Megatron. After he gets smashed by Metroplex, he'll keep firing, at least after the first punch. If you pick him for the final boss fight, he manages to beat Optimus upside the head while impaled with a sword.
Only Sane Man: Onslaught and the other Combaticons take this role during Starscream's reign.
Painting the Medium: Grimlock fights a lot of flying insect enemies. Given that he has no ranged attacks, this can be quite irritating to the player. But a horde of frustrating enemies makes sense for a guy whose character is based on the theme of anger, and whose Dino form can only be accessed when he's really, really pissed off.
Pet the Dog: Both Soundwave and Megatron have options to pet Laserbeak. While Laserbeak snaps at Megatron, it says alot that Megatron doesn't blow him away. He actually seems rather amused by it.
Grimlock rescuing his team and preferring to not have them involved when he goes after Shockwave shows that he cares about them more than he hates Shockwave.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Decepticons, as usual, have this as per default. However, the Autobots also have certain members of the Dinobots displaying this trait as well (and they're traditionally more dangerous and/or aggressive in combat than your typical Autobot).
Certain members indeed. In the second trailer, Swoop and Slug have blue eyes. The latter case is very interesting, since he's traditionally one of the most aggressive. (Grimlock has red in both modes, as if his sheer size wasn't enough.)
Not to mention Metroplex's eyes glow red. But with him, that's not so much the real warning. Him transforming at all is the real warning in and of itself.
Remember the New Guy: All of the new Transformers introduced are treated as if they've been in the war since the beginning despite not being mentioned at all. Justified as it's a large scale war and they would've most likely been fighting somewhere else off-screen.
Metroplex is the exception, seeing as he spent all of his time before this game as a city with no one the wiser. The Autobots are just as surprised by and in awe of him as the Decepticons - probably even a little afraid of him at first, as a few of them express relief that he's on their side.
Replacement Scrappy: Starscream is this in-universe for the Decepticons after Megatron is killed by Metroplex, with them getting sick of him after what could only have been a few days. During chapter 9 after Megatron sends him running scared talking to the other Decepticons, notably the Combaticons, and they'll go into how much they hated him with Brawl saying he wanted to smash Starscream's statue the moment he saw it built.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Aside from rescuing his fellow Dinobots, this is pretty much the gist of Grimlock's missions. His targets? Shockwave and the Insecticons.
Secret A.I. Moves: During the boss fights at the end of the game have characters that were playable early use attacks they couldn't use when controlled. Bruticus uses the cannons on his back (which up to this point served no purpose) to fire shots into the air that come down on random spots. For the Final Boss fight with Optimus and Megatron, AI controlled character will use an attack that has them using their vehicle mode (the player can't transform in the fight), Optimus will try to ram the player and Megatron will sit back in a corner and shoot at them. Optimus also use the Shockwave ability and attack where he does a jumping slash, Megatron uses the Whirlwind and Hover abilities, along with a grenade that screws with what the player can see.
Sequel Hook: The game ends with both the Ark and the Nemesis falling into the portal, with a line from Optimus' opening dialogue with Bumblebee being repeated: "Whatever lies beyond that portal is our best - and last - hope."
Shaggy Dog Story: Grimlock's attempt to find energon ends with his team in stasis or captured. The investigation goes to bust when the Combaticons take down the carrier. Shockwave's towers are destroyed indirectly however.
Shield Bash: Both Grimlock and Bruticus can do this with their respective shields. Optimus Prime and Megatron can do this as well during the final boss battle.
Shapeshifter Baggage: The Combaticons get at least twice as large when they combine into Bruticus. Trypticon is slightly smaller than the Ark when he is turned into the Nemesis. Oddly enough, its his dinosaur mode that is the one that removes baggage, as his station form in War was that size.
Most of the Dinobots are a good deal bigger in dino mode than robot mode. Slug you can actually see grow bigger when transforms.
Snark-to-Snark Combat: Of all times and of all bots, Optimus and Megatron trade barbs and blows with each other during the final battle.
Megatron: Impressive for a data clerk... You should've spent more time in the pit!
Optimus: You should've spent more time in the library!
Autobot Mook: "Optimus! There are reports on the battlefield that Megatron is alive!"
Optimus (via Holographic transmitter): "Are those reports confirmed?"
Megatron: "Here's your confirmation!" *Blasts the autobot mooks to bits*
Two Decepticon Mooks talking about Starscream, right before he murders one of them.
Mook 1: "Hey- you hear about Starscream?"
Mook 2: "Hah! That idiot finally got what's coming to him!"
Starscream: "Do tell."
The Starscream: Starscream as usual, after Megatron is seemingly killed by Metroplex and there's an achievement called 'Starscream's Betrayal'.
Stealth Expert: Cliffjumper and Starscream, with both levels playing as them involve sneaking around and picking off your enemies one at a time. Cliff's level in particular bears some familiarity with Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Suicidal Overconfidence / Shooting Superman: Yes, Megatron, stand and fight the city-sized Autobot under the command of the guy you just insulted and berated. See how well that works. You at least went for bigger weapons when fighting Omega Supreme.
Starscream doesn't think much of the reports on the carrier's weaponry and issues a full assault regardless. This ends badly for the airforce and the Combaticons are forced to bail them out.
Summon Bigger Fish: With the Autobots in very limited numbers, Optimus has one chance to hold off the Decepticons and thus activates Metroplex, a city-sized Autobot that single-handily balances out the battle.
Sword Fight: The final boss fight with Optimus Prime and Megatron, where both have triple their normal health. The player can chose which one they control, which doesn't affect the fight much beyond some of the attacks (Megatron will turn into vehicle mode and fire his cannon, Optimus will ram the player). Regardless of who the player uses, the ending cutscene will depict whoever was chosen about to finish off their enemy, but the portal that the ships are approaching pulls both ships through and thus, they can't finish the fight.
Symbolic Blood: There's some pretty graphic depictions of robot dismemberment. Also, when you get melee kills, like in War for Cybertron, your screen gets blue-ish water-like liquid splattered on the screen. That's energon, folks; literal blood of the Transformers.
Taking the Bullet: Bumblebee takes a blast from Megatron that was meant for Optimus. Cue Optimus going to town on Megatron.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Grimlock's executions in robot mode. For Insecticon Swarmers, he impales them with his sword, tears them off it (which rips them in half) and then slams their top half into the ground. For normal Decepticons, he impales them, then stabs them repeatedly. From the Shotgunners, he lops off their heads and stabs them. In Dino mode, he bites things in half or he spears Leapers on his tail and roasts them.
Metroplex fires a full barrage from his shoulder cannons at whatever Optimus targets, resulting in a massive string of explosions that whites-out most of the screen. Even if the target is a single Decepticon mook.
Metroplex killing Megatron. Megatron was still alive after the first punch, but the third and forth seem a bit much, not that he didn't deserve it. And despite that, Soundwave still managed to fix him, though he did say he had to use a bunch of new parts.
Third Option Adaptation: Rather than a conventional Final Boss fight the player chooses to be either Optimus or Megatron for the battle.
Took a Level in Dumbass: Brawl was an effective field commander in the previous game, to the point where he had more in common with Onslaught than the typical dumb killing machine his incarnations usually are. However, probably because of the actual Onslaught's debut, Brawl is demoted to being a dumb bruiser, back in line with how he's always portrayed.
Too Powerful to Live: Metroplex, literally. With energon in such short supply, just activating him leaves the Ark without enough power to be launched, much less make it to another world. In the end, he gives up his energon to power the Ark.
Transformation Is a Free Action: Metroplex, quite easily. Not that anyone could have stopped him. Tripticon is reformatted into the Nemesis without trouble despite being in the middle of one of the few remaining places under Autobot control.
Undying Loyalty: Soundwave going behind Starscream's back and secretly reviving Megatron.
The Unfought: While there's a chapter about Megatron taking control of the Decepticons back from Starscream, the closest thing we have to a fight is Megatron going into vehicle mode and shooting him.
Other then Hardshell, Grimlock does not have boss battles against the other Insecticons or Shockwave. But this is due to his sheer power, the moment they get into range Grimlock takes them out in a cutscene easily.
Unstoppable Rage: Grimlock is this by default. Also, Optimus does not take Megatron nearly killing Bumblebee very well.
When Megatron is rebuilt and discovers that Starscream has taken over, he is not amused.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Playing as Grimlock provides the player with some fun with this. When you start using him, the first few Decepticons you see won't attack him because they're too scared of him, and sometimes enemies in the level will beg for mercy when he grabs them and will also try struggling to get free. While in dino form, using his flamethrower on anything will cause it to run away in fear, mean you can cruelly chase them down and roast them alive without them putting up a fight.
When Grimlock gets free, a lot of the 'cons at the facility are just cowering in fear.
Virtual Paper Doll: Your multiplayer character. Obviously, you can customize your weapon and upgrade loadouts, but the sheer amount of parts you can unlock just by playing (and earning energon shards) is staggering. You can even add subfaction decals. Wanna make your Autobot Titan a Wrecker? Go right ahead.
Wham Episode: Chapter III: Megatron has been killed by Metroplex, but the Autobots' Energon reserves are exhausted.
Chapter IX: Megatron has returned with a bang, Starscream is now an independent, and Megatron moves to leave Cybertron immediately.
Chapter XII: Grimlock was able to destroy the Space Bridge, but he, the Dinobots and Shockwave are now MIA. Sludge is also presumed dead. Metroplex sacrifices his life so the Ark can launch, but it's a very heart-wrenching moment for the Autobots.
What Could Have Been: In-universe; Shockwave did have designs for Sludge's Dinobot form. But he probably perished during the Insecticon attack. So we only get to see his new form in the credit ending and official artwork.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Starscream's fate is ambiguous. We see him try to talk Grimlock into joining him, after which he gets too close and Grimlock grabs and throws him at the control panel that powered his restraints. After this, he's not mentioned for the rest of the story.
Breakdown, Barricade, Thundercracker and Skywarp are the only Decepticons not to return from the last game. Slipstream and Arcee also aren't seen anywhere.
Grimlock never manages to find the last Dinobot, Sludge. For the record, Cliffjumper and Jazz find him in Chapter 5. He's in stasis after a failed battle against some Insecticons.
Jazz later floods the area with a severely caustic liquid, so even if he was Only Mostly Dead, he probably didn't survive that.
Grimlock's fate is also ambiguous. After he defeats Shockwave and destroys the facility, everything starts breaking apart around him. The last we hear of Grimlock, the platform he's standing on falls out from under him and he ends up falling to his apparent doom. His fate is never mentioned, though most hardcore Transformers fans know Grimlock could survive that fall; barely, but he could, especially after all the mods Shockwave gave him. Also a burst of light launching to the space bridge could imply he was beamed through it to Earth.
The rest of the Dinobots are last seen watching Grimlock's fate. They are a safe distance from the tower, but it seems unlikely they could have made it back to the Ark in time for its launch. Later IDW comics show that they all managed to survive (even Sludge, despite dying before they're even made into Dinobots), but remained on Cybertron all the way until Prime's team restored it.
Subverted with Omega Supreme. While there is no mention of him in the game, collecting an audio log reveals that he was so heavily damaged from his last battle that he was in permanent stasis.
Alternatively, he says, "If you want my attention, Optimus, simply ask."
An example that's not as bad is when Kickback is trapped under the door Slug brought down. If you manage to land a hit, he says "Ooooh, feisty!" or "This will not do!"
With This Herring: Justified. The currency used to build upgrades and weapons are Energon Shards. With the supply of Energon so low for both sides, even Optimus Prime and Megatron can't be given freebies.
The Worf Effect: The Insecticons make their debut in the war taking out and capturing Grimlock's team, the heavy combat team of the autobots. Cliffjumper actually notes this before Jazz has to have a round with them.
When Grimlock first encounters a Bruiser, he briefly grapples with it before it tosses away. The 2nd one the player sees will likely be this to Grimlock's dino mode.
You Have Failed Me: Megatron states that a combination of this and failing to stop the Autobots despite his immense power is why he salvages Trypticon to build the Nemesis.