Terminator Salvation was a game that looked good, not great before its release. The screens that were released a while ago looked fairly promising and the cover system seemed to control nice and smooth. I was hoping that this game could curb my need for shoot big robots in a post apocalyptic world. Unfortunately this game is the biggest disappointment of this generation for me.
Oh Grin what are you doing to yourself? You show the ability to make a decent game if you assembled parts of your two other mediocre 2009 releases, Wanted: Weapons of fate and Bionic Commando. You would think if they combined their recourses onto one game they could make it good. Well that was until Terminator Salvation came along. I will get this out of the way quickly; I had almost no enjoyment playing through this game and the best thing I have to say about it is that it’s lucky it only lasted 5 hours on the hardest difficulty.
Terminator Salvation’s story picks up before the movie following John Conner before he becomes a commander. Your job is to venture back into Skynet territory in search for a Squad stuck behind enemy lines. It’s a very plain story that requires the battles to create the intensity, which is something they don’t do very well. Because the game is so short when the token deaths of characters happen you have made no connection to them so what was the point? When the main actor of the Movie, Christen Bale as John Conner, refuses to do the voice of his character in the game you know that something is wrong.
Cover combat, the staple of a third person shooter ever since Gears of War stormed in with its excellent cover system. That was all the way back in 2006; this is now 2009 am I right? So I must ask why Terminator’s cover system feels like it was lifted straight from a PS2 or Xbox game? I had many deaths because the game wouldn’t let me re-enter the same bit of cover I left 30 seconds ago when I ran for ammo. Also the Terminators have the power to swing their arms within 3 meters of your cover and it becomes a one hit kill. One positive about it is the quick cover system letting you chain cover using a simple on screen display. But a thought that came into my head while playing was that Wanted: Weapons of Fate, a game that was released earlier this year from the same developer did cover really, really well. It does take something from Wanted, really bad turrets. Why do all turrets sound so weak in gaming lately?
The game has a few good set pieces it throws you into; you get to take on a Hunter-Killer while it is shooting your building and you are being assaulted by a lot of machines while an NPC is trying to rig up some explosives. The problem with having these nice scenarios is that the game can’t give you that WOW factor because the visuals are so uninspiring and the whole game has a slightly blurry look. Also the weapons sound and feel so weak, when a T-600 takes 4 pipe bombs to the chest to kill it, it seems they are just trying to make each encounter last longer. The Machine Guns do not sound like anything more powerful than a peashooter. But of all its combat faults Terminator Salvation does one thing that is worse than all of those faults; overusing vehicle sequences. It felt at one point that after every other cut scene there would be a tacky vehicle sequence.
The level design in the game is uninspiring and very repetitive considering each type of enemy, of the three you fight on foot, takes a different strategy to defeat. The Spiders need to be assaulted from behind; the Wasps need to be hit with the shotgun and the T-600’s need attention from grenades and pipe bombs. After you have started the game and found all the problems the only reason to continue is that the game is so short and the Achievements/Trophies are all unlocked when you beat the game on hard, which is unlocked at the beginning.
Vehicle sequences are the only thing that variates the game play from walk forward, kill everything, walk forward, in a game that can be completed in around 3 hours even less in the, split screen only, Co-op. And ultimately that is the theme of this game, doing something only half way. This is the ultimate example in recent memory where a game could have been awesome and has not delivered on any of its potential. I’m sorry this review is so short but there is nothing else to write about. Expectations for games, even movie games, have been increased. If you really need something to play look at the fantastic back catalogue from last year. I guarantee something you missed will be better than this. With all the games coming this year Terminator Salvation isn’t even worth mentioning. This game is so short, it doesn’t have any replay ability and is such an uninspired game that it’s not even worth a rent. There are B movie games and then there is Terminator Salvation.