Terminator: ResistanceNovember 15th, 2019
PlatformPC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
In the modern age, it's a stretch to pretend that the Terminator franchise is anything other than a cheesy sci-fi series with angry robots. The original movie and its sequel are revered, quite rightly so, but there have been several movies since then and they're pretty mediocre at best. This is why I can't help but feel that Terminator: Resistance, the new video game from Teyon and Reef Entertainment, is actually an incredibly fitting addition to the Terminator series.
Terminator: Resistance only stays true to the canon established in the first and second Terminator movies, and plays out years after the Skynet apocalypse with a group of survivors trying to, well, survive in the harsh wasteland that remains after the nukes dropped. You play as Jacob Rivers, a Resistance soldier who, after being saved from certain death, seeks to put an end to the Skynet oppression of humanity.
The game plays out as a first-person shooter-RPG hybrid. You will be shooting, sneaking, and scavenging through levels, either leaving a trail of robotic corpses in your wake or silently moving through without any combat whatsoever. At least, most of the time, but we'll get to that. You'll leave camp with a few quests given to you from other survivors, grab some medicine, supplies, the usual, and then you'll be heading out into fairly large and open areas where you'll be dipping into buildings to check every corner for loot, and shooting robotic creatures.
Terminator: Resistance gives you the ability to approach most situations in a manner of your choosing. Well, yeah, it's basically either stealth or shoot in a majority of robot encounters, but you will also get your options of how to deal with other areas. For example, I found a locked robot compound to destroy, but couldn't get in because my hacking skill wasn't good enough. I left and only returned once I had the hacking skill I needed, but it was only after that when I noticed there was a destructible wall nearby I could've thrown a grenade at to avoid the whole ordeal. There's not a massive amount of gameplay variety, but it does allow you to have some autonomy.
Once you're back at camp, you chat with survivors, sell items, craft ammo, and rest up. The survivors all have their own stories you can discover if you continually chat with them throughout the game, but they are all the same brand of "and that was when a robot killed my relative." The worst part of the survivors is their faces, though. The facial animations are practically non-existent, which leaves the robot enemies feeling more human than your comrades. Voice acting is also very flat, with some incredibly poor audio mixing in places resulting in hurt ears.
It all might sound a bit bland and unimpressive, but that's also because it all is. At the same time it is, however, all decent enough. Take the shooting, for example. Guns feel decent to wield, if not amazing. They have a decent amount of audio feedback but are fairly flat in terms of recoil. Plasma weapons are introduced later and they are arguably far worse, somehow. But overall, it's fine. Inoffensive. Feels a bit like the original Borderlands, in that way. The environments are fairly ugly and plain, typical post-apocalyptic stuff. Just, so much about this game is passable but unremarkable.
When you actually just play Terminator: Resistance though, you can find yourself in a decent state of flow, moving from building to building, looting everything you find, shooting down robots in between. But there is a complete lack of tension. You do eventually start coming up against the T-series of robots from the movies, which are initially very intimidating, but soon after you'll be given a plasma weapon which tears through them, and they suddenly become gun fodder just like every other enemy. In Normal mode at least, this game is too much of a breeze. These stealth systems and the variety of weapons and items you are given are just a waste because you will never need to use them, it's all just superfluous. On higher difficulties, this game could shine, at least in these sections.
When it comes to action setpieces though, oh boy, these are pretty bad. Any section where you are forced to shoot down enemies is just so bad. Enemies spawn in, act like bullet sponges, provide far less of a challenge than you would hope, and then just die and you move on. The game spends a good deal of time hyping up how intimidating the enemy robots are, and then suddenly you're just mowing through them like a super-soldier. It doesn't feel consistent at best, and it robs the game of any and all agency at worst.
But, once again, this actually fits the franchise as a whole really well. In the modern-day, the Terminator movies are hardly the biggest films to hit the cinema, and honestly, they're all pretty average at best, serviceable but unremarkable and forgettable. And that really does sum up Terminator: Resistance. This game has nothing original or truly interesting going for it, but at all times, it is competent. Just competent enough for a mid-tier budget game. Except it's not being sold at a budget price. So yeah, maybe wait for a good sale if you're still curious about this decent, but not great, Terminator game.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (code provided by the publisher).
Terminator: Resistance is the kind of shooter-meets-RPG hybrid you've seen a dozen times before, and isn't a particularly impressive one. But everything it does, it does well enough to pass. I can't bring myself to hate Terminator: Resistance, I think it's a fun, cheesy game, but I also wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I recommended that anyone bought it at full price.
- A decent entry into the Terminator franchise
- Variety of weapons to use and skills to improve
- Looting and upgrading feels satisfying
- Enemies are boring bullet sponges
- Smacks of missed potential
- Consistently mediocre at best
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