Right, so we shall start with typical warnings, these words may be spoilers, avoid as needed.
Now an admission, I love the Terminator series, I will concede there are some weaker points in the films as they try to upscale the threat, but in the whole, I like them (not seen Dark Fate yet however).
Before we discuss the game, lets take a look at the trailer and we can discuss the game.
Boom, that’s a trailer, looks good right?
Well, I hadn’t even seen the trailer and got hyped up before playing the game, I came in with base-line expectations for a cinema tie-in game.
The game let me down, came in with low expectations and it didn’t reach even those.
Lets get one thing straight, this is a perfectly average shooter and it functions, heck I didn’t even encounter any bugs in my gameplay, but that’s all I can say about it.
Terminator – Resistance is a passable first person shooter.
After that everything else starts to fall apart.
Lets start, the AI is dumb, and by that I mean they patrol on set routes, don’t investigate, have a simple “detection meter” and essentially rush you.
If you want to run with an AI this simple, you need to make the enemy feel (but not be) indestructable, they need to be something that feels relentless but they don’t pose much of a threat, hell the game tells you repeatedly in multiple ways “Aim for the red spot!” in the span of about 10 seconds, the enemy AI seems like it’s designed to just path to somewhere it gets a clear view of you, no nuance, no.. anything, if the robots are really this dumb and this weak, I can’t see how the humans are losing the war here. (As an admission, I am only playing on Normal, I’m not the greatest with FPS games).
Second, visuals aren’t anything to call home about, they don’t look bad as such, but they look a little dated (with the game set up to ultra-high on my system, apparently), now I can forgive that I don’t need amazing graphics but there is just something unhuman about the NPC’s, their lips don’t entirely sync up with what they are saying, like a bad dubbing, having just completed Outer Worlds, this is a giant step down in quality as far as I can see and from a franchise like Terminator, that just had a film come out? It’s disappointing.
I’ll roll these into one, item spawns and save points.
Save points are done through the use of old style PC’s dotted around the landscape, I get the affectation of it, but the game feels like it’s set on the T2 timeline (which might just be from everyone dropping the term “Judgement day”) where PC’s as we know them weren’t common, so finding one in random buildings, when we’re 30-odd years after “judgement day” is just strange, not to mention there’s power for them, again I get it’s a visual design element, but it’s not going to help me with any suspension of disbelief here.
Items are dotted around, you’ll find typical ammo, weapons and crafting materials, then “trade item” exist everywhere, but there’s more stuff littered around that you just can’t pick up, even if it might be as equally useful in a post-apocalyptic setting to what the devs think you can.
I get it, having (what appears to be) a bottle of wine as a “trade item” indicates people can still have a good time, but why can’t I pick upempty bottles for the inevitable need to stock up on water, or for NPC’s to make their own wine? (I am spitballing justifications, there’s just a bunch of stuff littered around I thought I should have been able to collect)
Lets take a look at weapons briefly, the scroll-wheel on my mouse would only work in one direction, I couldn’t find a setting for it so I assume it was by intent but geez is it annoying having to scroll through all the weapons to go back a step, I get it we’ve got a Hot-Wheel for weapon selection, we’ve also got the numerical keys, but I think the scroll wheel might be the most common weapon change selection for PC players.
Want to do a crowbar run? Well, you can’t actually main a crowbar, you can use your melee weapon pressing the middle mouse button, but the switch between gun and crowbar is annoyingly long, just let me hold the damn crowbar, but that isn’t my main concern with melee weapons here.
There are so many cardboard boxes and crates laying around (apparently once exposed to the elements a box will decompose in 3 months, so why does Resistance still have them after 30 years?) and when you hit them they don’t break up, they don’t damage, you get a little “splash” animation of what should be damage, and occasionally you’ll get a solid impact noise, but the rest of the time it just sounds like you’re hitting the dirt.
You get given the ability to melee early on, but it becomes pointless almost immediately after.
We have ultra-vision! I have seen some people call it “night vision” and though it looks similar, the mode highlights any robot within range, as if it wasn’t easy enough to watch them walking in little circles and avoid them.
Which leads into Stealth, so this is an FPS with RPG elements, you level up and get upgrade points that you can put into things like.. more space in the Backpack (how does this one work?), doing more damage with weapons (again, how?) or stealth and I just have to ask, why bother with stealth? And if I can see Terminators through a wall, shouldern’t they also have some kind of heat vision, as standard, that allows them to see me?
Don’t get me wrong, Devs, I love stealth games, I love being able to get around unseen and not need to expend my resources to heal or fight, but this is a game focused on action, I am going to have to go up against enemies in both pre-scripted encounters and boss fights, if I choose stealth in this instance I am going to be making myself weaker in those encounters, it makes much more sense for me to invest in shooting and conserve health and ammo with a good offense.
Though there are plenty more small points I can raise, lets just go to the plot.
I’ll give a basic run down of a few elements, so this is going to be the spoilers we spoke of.
You start off on the ground, about to get killed by a T-800, when a conveniently located radio advises you to roll away as the Terminator gets shot, the voice on the radio knows who you are and guides you to safety.
I’m just going to straight up say it, I loathe this kind of opening, the “mysterious voice” trope makes me feel less like I am playing a game as a member of the resistance and more that I am the chosen one, there are plenty of games where I feel like a chosen hero, like I have a destiny and I don’t need that in a Terminator game, it doesn’t feel like I am an ordinary guy even early on.
After a few quests, you end up on the ground once again as a skin-clad T-800 verbally declares that you’re marked for Termination, then a truck smashes through a solid brick wall and defeats the robot, again the owner of the mysterious voice has saved your arse, but in this instance it pains me even more, how did they know you were on the verge of death, how did they get a truck up to speed and know where to hit, to save you, it just feels like a deus-ex-machina moment that the devs thought would make your jaw drop, when it just feels staged to me and I can’t stand it.
I have no doubt Terminator – Resistance will have fans, you get to see T-800’s walking by (and though you are right in their field of view, they don’t see you) and there’s some decent visual moments, but overall, the quality of this just feels like a decently done fan game and not a AAA-development.
But at least it isn’t an on-rails shooter, eh?
All in all, I am going to drop a 6 out of 10 on this, it’s a passable shooter, in a franchise I like, it may even pick up after the few hours I have played, but I don’t hold out hope for it and what I have seen so far doesn’t make me thrilled to keep playing it.
Now we’re done with this, I know it wouldn’t be as popular, but how awesome would a Terminator game be, in which you run a local Resistance cell, having to send out people on supply runs, getting missions from above and having to accomplish them in time, all whilst making sure you aren’t getting noticed by Skynet.
You’d have to weigh up whether it is worth letting some newcomer into camp (in case they turn out to be a T-800), and you’d need to scout out locations for a back-up base, just in case one of your scouting missions ends up with someone caught by Skynet, and you’re at risk of your location going public.
Now I think about it, this would actually be a decent game, if only I had the skills to build it.