When I was but a wee lad back in the early 90s, I remember my Dad giving me a bag full of games for the Sega Megadrive we had in the living room. This was a time when most homes only had one TV and one console. These days, I’ve got seven consoles littering my house, and half as many televisions.
I don’t think my Dad realised what was in the bag that he’d been given by a friend, but one of them was a Terminator game, and another was Robocop. I was thrilled. Being a seven-year-old boy, the idea of fighting against evil robots was top-shelf stuff, and I happily sat and played it for hours on end. If memory serves, it was a really good game. Though that was more than 20 years ago, so I’m sure if I was to boot the game up it wouldn’t last ten minutes in my grumpy, weathered old hands. Besides, there’s something new, shinier and more to my tastes available: Terminator Resistance.
I was very sceptical of Terminator Resistance when it was announced. Everybody was. The developer, Teyon, had previously given us a bag of cack dressed up as Rambo, and not much else since. I wasn’t optimistic, so when the code came through and I sat down to play one evening, I was ready to write it off as another poorly produced licensed game. I was wrong.
Terminator Resistance doesn’t hold a flame to modern shooters, and it borrows heavily from the best while never reaching those standards. But it’s a decent game, all the same, helped greatly by the fact it’s got the Terminator license slapped on it. By today’s standards, and without the license, Terminator Resistance wouldn’t get a second look.
Set in the future where Skynet has done the dirty on the human race, Terminator Resistance puts you in the boots of a rookie soldier amid the Future Wars. You meet up with other survivors as you all journey across America to get to Los Angeles. Along the way, you’ll make friends, foes, and even bang a couple of your female comrades. No, that’s not a typical crude joke from Chris, but an actual statement of facts. To be fair, you do have the choice to get down and dirty on those occasions, and naturally, I did it both times. I only bring it up because it was so out of place and, not wanting to come off as a prude, it just didn’t feel right with the story. You spend so much time with your fellow survivors and one particular lady who the game clearly earmarks as a love interest for later on, that it comes off as incredibly shallow when you hop into bed with another woman, only to then bump uglies with the original love interest later on. I’m down for a bit of bump and grind, but it wasn’t needed on this occasion.
Perhaps the developers played a little too much of The Witcher 3 and Mass Effect? They’ve certainly taken some ideas from other games, so it’s likely.
The game’s story is spread out over 10-ish hours and big, open-area levels. Each of these levels comes with main story missions that you complete to push the narrative forward, as well as some optional side-missions that you can do for your fellow survivors in return for rewards. It plays out a little Metro: Exodus crossed with Far Cry. You’ve got these large open-areas with things to do and collect, as well as crafting and resource management. The problem is, none of it is done memorably. It all works, mind you, but it feels like fluff to tick a few boxes on the marketing hot sheet. Crafting? We got it! Open world? Er, we kind of got it! Lite RPG mechanics and upgrades? You bet your little tits we got it! Dialog options with NPCs? Lifted straight from Mass Effect, sir!
I may be going in on the developers a little hard there, but it’s all true. Had the game stuck to the basics, I’d have fewer things to poke fun at. I’m fair, though, and I’ll give credit where it’s due because it’s obvious that the developers are big fans of Terminator, and if you’re a fan of James Cameron’s second-best creations (Titanic all the way, fight me) then you’ll be surprised at just how good this game is, but also a little bummed by how much better it could have been.
The majority of gameplay can be boiled down to typical first-person shooter stuff. Go here, shoot baddies. Go there, shoot some more baddies. Try and sneak past the evil robots, fail, and then realise there’s no point in sneaking anyway and proceed to shoot baddies. Rinse and repeat.
It’s got the ingredients for a decent game, then, but some of those ingredients seem to be a little bit past their best before date. The graphics are serviceable, but at times laughably bad. Those sex scenes I mentioned earlier? They all take place in first-person, meaning you get right into the action with some very 2008-era lady faces and animations. If you don’t look too closely, it’s fine. Let your eyes linger too long and you’ll soon see the budget was nowhere near what it needed to be. But again, that’s to the developer’s credit. It’s not a AAA blockbuster will millions being poured into it, but instead a passion project by fans of the franchise.
My biggest gripe with the gameplay is that the Terminators aren’t all that terrifying. The first couple of times you come across the actual walking metal skeletons, things get hairy, but once you’ve got the appropriate weaponry (plasma rifles) they become nothing more than another distraction as you move towards the end goal. That’s the real shame. The game nails the atmosphere of bleak hopelessness through its art direction and characters, but it’s let down by the star of the show, the actual Terminators themselves.
The highlight is the game’s story. It’s nothing exceptional but it ties in nicely with the earlier Terminator movies, and if you’re looking for a little extra Terminator lore without having to sit in a cinema with 300 other people for two hours of buyers remorse, it’ll do nicely. Personally, I’m hoping Teyon have another crack at it, and if they do, I’ll be back.
Terminator Resistance PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
Terminator Resistance flirts with some great ideas and gameplay, but never goes fully in for the kill. Instead, the narrative is left to do the legwork while gameplay and presentation drag their feet all the way back from 2010.
- Plenty for Terminator fans to enjoy
- A surprisingly good story with a satisfying tie-in to the earlier movies
- Developers nailed the bleak atmosphere of a robot-ruled future
- Gameplay and graphics aren’t up to modern standards
- Missed opportunity with the Terminators being watered down and too easy to tackle head-on
- Survival and stealth elements are pointless
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.