It is ironic how many gamers know about the
“curse” of movie based games and after the triumphant attempt of
Activision’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, some thought that this
curse has finally been lifted. Unfortunately Arnold Schwarzenegger’s
famous catch phrase “I’ll be back” has hit Terminator Salvation
with a vengeance and what initially felt like a promising game is a
lacklustre affair that really is a post-apocalyptic disaster.
The story is based on the upcoming movie of
the same name which revolves around John Connor’s fight against the
nefarious computer Skynet. The title uses in-game cinemas and voice
acting to progress the game as the player eventually makes their way to
root of all evil.
The game itself is a third person shooter that uses a mediocre gaming
engine which feels unfinished and quite limiting. The design of the game
feels like a predictable path as gaming objects and invisible walls are
put in place to ensure that your character goes in the right direction.
It’s basically move, cover and fight, then repeat.
When it comes to weapons, the player does
have access to a variety of different weapons that include shotguns,
rocket launchers and the like. Of course, you are limited to what you
can carry. Thankfully you do have some assistance from your fellow
freedom fighters that actually do kill some enemies.
Apart from running around all day and shooting futuristic crafts such as
the Wasps or metal endoskeleton Terminators, there are some missions
that include vehicles that feels tacked on and an afterthought of the
developers. Level design seems repeat after repeat which is hampered by
the carefully staged story which has nothing in terms of surprises or
It is a very linear experience.
Although taking on the Terminators
initially was quite fun early in the game, these enemies generally don’t
change, whether you are fighting the fast flying Wasps, the lumbering
Spiders or the classic Terminators, it is unfortunately quite limiting
to the amount of enemies in the game.
The saving grace of the enemies is the occasional boss battles that does
help break away from the monotony of the stock standard foes and some do
require some careful thought in engaging them. Thankfully the game is
littered with numerous checkpoints so if you do happen to find yourself
getting killed, you generally don’t have to back track too far.
In comparison to Wanted, another movie based game, Terminator
Salvation uses a similar cover system to this game which is actually
the highlight of the gameplay, however it unfortunately doesn’t mesh
with the 90% of the other gameplay because it’s easier to just stand and
blow your enemies to kingdom come, using unbreakable objects in the game
Apart from a single-player mode, the title also supports a co-op mode
for local play and attempts to create a Gears of War experience. For
instance, one person can fire at the enemy while the other attempts to
move closer which is kind of cool. If you do get shot, your friend can
heal you, provided he doesn’t get killed in the process. This is
probably the saving grace of the title, not because misery loves
company, however it makes the gaming experience a more enjoyable one.
In terms of graphics, the game looks dated
on the PlayStation 3 with poorly detailed textures and the human
characters looking like the undead with their lifeless expressions and
movement. The gaming environment is very basic that is hampered by the
almost low resolution textures.
The in-game sound effects of the title are actually quite decent which
does make use of the surround sound capabilities of the PS3. The music
is reminiscent of the movies, however the voice acting is extremely
forced and clichéd and unfortunately the voice of Christian Bale is
nowhere to be found. For a game based on a movie, it’s a shame that the
actors were not available.
At the end of the day, Terminator Salvation is a strange game,
it’s definitely not the best movie game and it’s also not the worst,
however it’s closer on that end of the spectrum. For a next generation
console, the graphics and gameplay are lacking and hopefully one day, we
can see a really impressive Terminator game. Alas… not today! Some fans
will investigate this title, especially the casual gamer, however for
hardcore gamers and true fans, this is one title that unfortunately I
It has it's moment, however these are
unfortunately far and few. It's a shame because this is one of the
greatest science fiction franchises.