First up in the new year is Terminator Resistance a game that has average written all over it. Despite this, there are several redeeming features for fans of the films and of shooters in general.
Firstly, let’s get the negatives out of the way. This game feels like it was rushed, or the budget just ran out. The graphics while functional are missing a certain level of polish that should be there. T-800 units are dull and missing lighting features that would make them the iconic enemies from the film series and character models in cut scenes leave a lot to be desired.
Game design is also formulaic as there are a number of fetch quests and a crafting and lockpicking system lifted straight from Fallout 3 not even 4 and the first half or even quarter of the game is spent walking around the desolate landscape only glimpsed in the early Terminator films. All in all, there are enough faults to make most people discard this without giving the game a second look give it a chance, however, dig a bit deeper and we get glimpses of just how good this game could have been.
The storyline does a better job of explaining the complicated timelines of the Terminator franchise than any of the recent films do. You play Jacob Rivers a resistance fighter and survivor of the machine attack on Pasadena instigated by one of the first infiltrator or ‘skin job’ Terminators of which Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the film series. This character progresses through the game and becomes intertwined in the wider lore in a sensible, meaningful way. This storyline would have made an excellent film.
When we get past the first section in Pasadena and the T-800’s appear the game picks up the pace significantly. There are varied missions and worthwhile Easter eggs for fans. Robert Patrick’s likeness appears, we get to name a dog, Max or Wolfie and so on. It genuinely works for fans of the film series, especially the original two films. If you even have a passing interest in them and would love some expanded fiction, it is worth playing through this for its short duration.
When the game dives full-on into the Resistance and war against Skynet the set pieces are as thrilling and enjoyable as the previous limitations allow. You embark on recon missions, sabotage tanks and avoid Hunter Killers that patrol through the air. When you get plasma weapons the noise and music of the films kick in and for the first time, you get to experience what it could have been like. Pouring rounds into machines as they continue their relentless march towards you. Ammo is always at a premium, so you need to organise your backpack and expand it as you level up and many times you are forced to avoid and flee the Terminators to scavenge or craft more ammo.
Later levels focus on the counter-attack vs Skynet and take place over sprawling battlegrounds with multiple enemy types coming towards you. Luckily you can take a few hits as well unless the Terminator gets close. Then they grab you and can kill you instantly, something which ramps up the tension in the middle game stealth missions, where hacking enemy turrets or crawling through vents can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. This comes into its own when you take down Skynet outposts which look like the ending of Terminator Salvation as optional side quests.
Other than that, there isn’t much more to say other than this game is an easy Platinum trophy and a real bargain bin gem if you can see past some of the rough edges. If you have any interest in the expanded Terminator lore, then this will satisfy you until another special edition of the first two films is released.