08 November 2019 (released)
25 November 2019
So I will be honest and say that I had some serious doubts about this game. When I heard that the guys behind 2014’s awful Rambo game were behind this, an instalment of the beloved …. Well once loved franchise, my skin crawled a little. With Terminator Dark Fate being a flop and the previous games not being anywhere as good as they should’ve been. My expectations were very low. But then I started playing Terminator Resistance and thought, actually, this might be so bad.
Now the Terminator franchise is such a cluster **** with alternative story lines, canon being constantly changed and more John Connors than there are Doctor Who’s, it’s no surprise fans are fed up with it. This game is set a couple of decades after Judgement Day and follows Sgt Rivers as he helps out a small band of survivors before soon realising he was destined for greater things.
So when I began to play I wasn’t too impressed. Everything had a slight generic feel to it and a little underwhelming at best. The first hour isn’t anything special and it all reminded me of something more akin to a PS2 FPS game formula. The world looks ugly, cold and isolated with very little charm. But then I thought, shouldn’t it be that way? After the first hour and when I moved onto better things did I realise that the developers had done a decent job at making a Terminator game. Rather than sticky with just a linear formula, there are elements that include large open areas, multiple choices, down time with NPCs (yeah, literal down time if you count FPS sex!) and some RPG elements thrown in for good measure.
Running as a basic FPS, you’ll run, gun and even explore open areas for resources and loot. Whatever you find can be used for trading or crafting materials. Aside from using weapons like the pistol, shotgun and rifle, you get the classic Terminator plasma weapons as well as making and using pipe bombs, sticky bombs and something known as a Termination knife (it kills Terminators). Along with plenty to shoot, there’s plenty to explore and find. I will say that the open areas are nicely laid out with plenty to find. There’s a whole host of enemies to fight including those pesky T-800s who are utterly terrifying at times.
What the developers have done are basic and very safe, but I can’t help but feel comfortable in what they’ve made. I was really compelled to play through as it’s just simple yet very engaging. There’s plenty of action, exploration and a decent story to follow. While everything is set up nicely, I will admit the presentation is lacking, with a lack of textures in plenty of in game objects, character models looking decent but lacking that organic feel and some naff voice acting. Still I will give credit to the sound designer/composer who did an excellent job! The new rendition of the classic Terminator theme is excellent; the sound track is in keeping with the tone and style while bringing sounding fresh and original.
My only gripes with Terminator Resistance were really the following.
The campaign never escalates or changes things enough to keep it fresh. Often in the late game you revisit the same areas or just play levels which are no different from the last. I was hoping to see more of the inside of Skynet’s base or have to do a daring rescue at a camp like in Terminator Salvation. Basically the campaign does a decent job at implementing some neat, action packed set pieces and has a nice flow overall from start to finish. But there was never that big moment or there was a lack of tension even during the bigger battles. This might be most likely due to the difficulty not being as tough as it could be, or the way certain enemies are presented or fights are set up just feel generic. I remember seeing the T-800 as a kid and being terrified and here, the first encounter feels a little underwhelming. Say for the Terminator on the main menu scree. That is probably the creepiest main menu screen I've seen in a long while.
While the developers have put in a nice selection of mission objectives, there was nothing original or a memorable mission. Set pieces are fair and few in between and again nothing that really stood out. Fighting the classic enemies from the T-800s and the giant tank was fun but nothing highly stimulating.
I found the difficulty for anything under the hardest to be a little underwhelming and the developers could’ve made it much harder.
Lastly I felt more items of lore could’ve been placed in the game. Aside from some notes, there’s little to build the world or to treat Terminator fans.
But the big question I know you’re asking me is whether or not you should pick this up. While it’s nothing compared to certain AAA titles this year, I will admit I enjoyed my time with Terminator Resistance and it’s extremely glorious to see the developers of a highly renown bad game make something pretty decent. It’s nothing new and the present does lack in certain area, but it’s a solid game with good action, decent exploration and for fans of the series, this is by far the best Terminator game in the last 20 years.
++ Great atmosphere while capturing the style of the Terminator universe
+ Solid action, exploration and simple RPG elements
- Some areas of presentation lack polish
- Never builds upon its solid foundation
An Xbox review code for Terminator Resistance was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.