To quote Mitchell Chapman’s Review of “Terminator: Dark Fate”; “The Terminator franchise has become the equivalent of coming back to an abusive relationship, hoping things will change and be as good as they were in the beginning of the relationship, only to have them display the same toxic behavior that pushed you away in the first place.” Now take that sentiment and here comes a 2019 video game tie-in that has had little to no marketing and was developed by Teyon, whose last big title was “Rambo: The Video Game” in 2014 which was so buggy and poorly made that you cannot even buy it on Steam anymore. You can tell my impressions going into this game and that my primary reason was more morbid curiosity than anything else.
If you remember the future scenes from the first Terminator movie or just the premise of “Terminator Salvation,” then you know the setting for this game; It’s the dark future where the A.I Skynet has nuked the world and launched an extermination war against humanity using machines. You play as Jacob Rivers, a private for the California branch of the resistance who for some reason is highly targeted by Skynet for termination, how high you may ask? He’s 3rd in line only behind Jessica Baron, who’s your commander and John Connor himself.
In order to avoid spoilers I’ll just say that the story plays out like a mixture of the premise of “Terminator Salvation” with the imagery and setting of the future scenes from the first movie. There’s no mention of any of the plot points from “Genisys” or “Dark Fate” and the fact that the game states that judgement day was August 29, 1997 means that you probably only need to know the first two movies for reference. The big set pieces where you do stuff like fight alongside the resistance in an abandoned highway or infiltrate a hospital full of terminator while having no weapon that can damage them at that point are two of the best highlights I have while playing this game. There’s a lot of callbacks to the first two movies and the ending itself is interesting to say the least. There are also branching decisions you can do that will affect the lives of other characters and multiple endings depending on their outcomes giving you can excuse to go back and play the game again to see the what ifs.
I want you to think of the most generic FPS (First Person Shooter) with RPG elements such as crafting and perks, this is that game. To give credit to Teyon It’s not horrible and in comparison to their last game “Rambo: The Video Game,” it is a vast improvement. You have an array of weapons such as pistols, assault rifles, shotguns and energy weapons however all of the other weapons aside from the energy weapons become completely useless as soon as the Terminators appear and ammo is abundant enough that it doesn’t harm you focusing on just enough one or two weapons and in fact, it’s optimal considering ammo is abundant and you can use the spare slots for gathering resources, medical packs, bombs, etc. …
Combat itself is simple as it can be; you see an enemy and you can shoot at it with your weapon at hand damaging it depending on the weapon itself and if you hit the enemy’s weak spot then you’ll cause critical damage. The Terminators themselves aren’t affected by conventional guns and have to be dealt with energy weapons or explosives like pipe bombs and trip mines. Stealth in this game is based on line of sight and gunshots; there is one enemy that is altered but majority of the time you can ran to avoid being detected with no penalty aside from losing potential XP which considering the fact that you need XP to level up and get perks means that you’ll be handicapping yourself more than not.
Overall I think that “Terminator: Resistance” is a cheap and decent ride if you’re a fan of the original Terminator games, the gameplay itself is nothing memorable and the smaller moments will feel very mediocre. However, the overall plot and the big set pieces are going to be the highlights of this game, you can tell that the dev team at Teyon love the original movies and spent time trying to make an authentic experience of what it would be like fighting in John Connor’s Resistance and basically making their own Terminator 3. There are some technical flaws and design drawbacks that makes the game a bit of a hassle to play in my opinion. However, I should mention that this game that Despite my seemingly mixed response to this game, the Steam Customer Review board hold this game in very high regards with overall positive reviews reaching 93% and GOG giving it 4.1/5 Stars as of the time of this review. The standard price of this game is $39.99 on PC and $59.99 on Consoles which to me is a bit steep however, it have been on sale for $29.99 and I would say that is a much better situation to buy this game. If this is game is any sign of Teyon’s improvement and potentially doing more licensed movie based video games, then please give us a Blade Runner or Robocop based game and I’ll buy it day one.