Just like their movie counterparts, I’m pretty confident that there hasn’t been a good Terminator game since Terminator 2 on the SNES. Like many fans of the franchise, I refuse to believe in the existence of any kind of Terminator media post T2. There will always be that glimmer of hope that something will come along to do it justice. Sadly, that is not the case here. Terminator: Resistance is pretty pump.
You wouldn’t think it, but Terminator: Resistance is running on the latest version of the Unreal Engine. Instead it looks like something straight out of the Xbox 360 back catalogue but with a HD polish. It just looks so… dated. Characters are badly animated with a constant ‘deer in the headlights’ expression as you seemingly surprise them with your witty banter. Not only that, but they just look rough. Once again, considering the engine and the fact that we are hitting the end of this console generation, there really is no excuse.
Your character even feels awkward to control. Every movement is stiff and it took some fiddling with the settings to get it anywhere near comfortable to play. Even with that, it still feels odd moving around the environment. There’s virtually no free of the likes we have come to expect from modern day shooters. I was there trying to recreate the best bits from Call of Duty and all I got was OG Duke Nukem.
Gunplay is fairly basic with your only enemy to worry about in the first two levels being a mini spider bot or a walking gun turret. You are explicitly told early game to avoid the Terminators at all cost because, you know, they are kind of dangerous death machines designed to kill humans. I thought ‘wow ok cool, we are going to make a thing of it. Excellent.’ Then, level four I pick up a plasma rifle and start mowing them down. Oh. problem solved then? Apparently I’m the answer to the entire problem. Now I see where the films where going wrong.
You play the seemingly indestructible Jacob Rivers, who initially holes up with some survivors before heading on out to find the resistance. Meanwhile, you are being chased by what seems to be a human/Terminator hybrid while being protected by a mysterious stranger. It’s all a bit jank.
What shocked me the most is the open-endedness this game tries to achieve. I expected it to be a linear FPS but Terminator: Resistance does throw a couple of curve balls in. Firstly, there are side quests! Because you haven’t got anything better to do, why not search that nearby town for little Jimmy’s chalk. I mean, WHY NOT, IT’S NOT LIKE I’VE GOT ANYTHING IMPORTANT TO DO. It’s not as if this is a RPG… Oh wait, there’s XP and a skill tree built in? Wowsers.
This made me laugh though because not only did I level up fairly quickly, but I was able to get the weapon damage upgrade to max by the fourth or fifth level making everything a bit of a joke. Everything in my path melted. You play FPS games for the shooting when the levels are being drawn out for the sake of it, it’s kind of annoying that the shooting doesn’t last long at all. And no, I really don’t care about the annoying NPC side quests. Bloody side quests. ‘Jennifer appreciated that’ with a massive heart symbol next to it. Really? Brilliant. But, but, you get to sleep with her later if you raise it high enough… WAIT, WHAT?
Yep, Terminator: Resistance has bloody sex scenes which are embarrassing. Now I really feel like I’m back in the old school era of gaming. The fact that they are here feels like such a tasteless afterthought. Like, I’m not against romance options and sex in video games, as long as it’s done well. Here though, couple with bad writing and a terrible engine, it just feels like it was shoehorned in because ‘huh huh, sex. Sex is good right.’
There’s crafting too which involves scrounging a bunch of materials from your travels and then knocking together some extra ammo or a pipe bomb. You can even pick up chips from enemy machines that let you upgrade your weapons. Finally, there’s mini games for lock-picking (this game has it all), and hacking (I’m bowled over at this point) which is basically Post Apocalyptic Frogger. These are fine ideas in practice but like the rest of the game, it’s just not executed as well as other games. It’s all been borrowed from elsewhere, thrown together and expected to work. Not good.
All these things are fine in principle but it all feels like 2015 ideas in a 2005 game. The amalgamation is so odd and you really do deserve more for your money in 2019. I can’t help but feel that this was rushed out because there is also a movie out at the minute. And we all know that is not a good idea.
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