REVIEW – Writing about Terminator Resistance game started as one of those usual things, but after three days, I managed to complete the story, and thus, I can express my opinion about it longer than how I tend to do.
It’s been common for me to deal with my thoughts only on the bare minimum character limit, as there’s nothing in it for me to do more than that, so it’s worthless to do more. This train of thought, which will go further than 12-13 thousand characters (more than that, be warned…), will be worthless once again, and then I’ll get in one day, or two, if I’m lucky, the usual pls (Dolan pls) write about this thing. However, now I feel like I have things to talk about, and I’ll follow the gonzo style, as screw the rules. Let’s hope that I can write about this game in my style, while I can express why I rated Terminator Resistance higher than most of the international media.
So the dear leadership started saying this game sucks. If it was bad, I’d have quit the game halfway through. Then I saw a video of the start of a mission with a dog having quite a PS2-like polygony look. Still, these things didn’t get me off the rails to take a look at Teyon‘s next game. The last time I looked at what they did, it was in 2014 with Rambo, which was a rail shooter. (I could quote what I wrote back then, but I won’t, because the mere pennies I earn here have been mostly – roughly 70% – spent on an HDD dock, and a middle finger for Alza for not allowing me to pay for it with PayPal…)
So the game starts with Jacob Rivers, a Private in the Resistance’s Pacific Division, gets cut off from his crew, which gets wiped out by an Infiltrator, the T-850 Terminator model of Skynet, complete with human skin on the machine body, making it a very difficult model to destroy due to its hyper alloy chassis. Jacob barely manages to get away from it, only to get a radio call from someone called the Stranger, who will be playing a pivotal role in the story until its almost complete. Via him, we get to a survivor named Jennifer, who is one of the two possible sexual partners in the game, and while I initially laughed my ass off seeing the act, at least it had nudity, which cannot be said about Ride to Hell: Retribution (which I have twice, no less, because I’m a crazy fuck, deal with it). There’s Patrick as well, who is his surrogate sibling, but they are acting like mother and son. With them, we get to a small survivor group, consisting of Colin, the asshat, Erin, the doctor, Ryan, the mechanic (whose bus will get sidelined quickly), and I think Mark, who you can get some medicine in a sidequest.
Now that I mentioned sidequests, yes, there are several of them in the game, and I strongly recommend completing them, and also, you should play the game on the hardest difficulty level. I played on Normal, and while I managed to have ammunition issues at two points in the game, that was mostly due to my defensive, later offensive playstyle, and after I managed to discover the first-gen (mk1) plasma sniper rifle with its red bullets, from that point until level 24 of 28 (when you get the chance to unlock the skill needed to use the second-gen, mk2 Skynet weapons with the violet ammo), I kept using it. At the end of the game, I used the sniper rifle once again, which managed to become such an OP weapon that a T-47 (a large machine with rocket launchers and plasma guns) was downed by SIX headshots.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. So, there are sidequests that will give you a ton of XP upon completion. You can level up after completing either one or two of them, and you get them by talking to the characters. Sadly, these are mostly boring fetch quests. For example, find a box of medicine that isn’t in the path of the main quest, or a radio. Later, the sidequest can consist of two parts: get from point A to point B on the map to complete the task there.
Alternatively, there are also the Skynet outposts – these are usually filled with turrets (which you can hack, but I never used this ability, as I found the game easy without it), as well as Terminators (T-800, T-825V, T-808 – the second carries the mk2 Skynet plasma rifle, the third one has a flamethrower), and around the region, you might also find Silverfishes (they are effectively rolling mines if you get noticed), flying, armoured drones, and Spider Scouts. These can be destroyed fairly quickly, especially with endgame weapons. I’m taking a break here to write news (or take a drink, as I’m translating at this point).
Well, it became a day later, November 23 (I wrote it a day before, but you get the point). So Terminator Resistance has a bit of RPG element, which allows you to improve Jacob’s character from several aspects. You can improve your backpack’s size three times, your endurance five times (the final upgrade, available from lv24, regenerates your health, effectively breaking the game from that point), you can earn 10% more XP (if you want to reach max level, which is 28, as fast as possible, concentrate on it; you get XP for everything from lockpicking doors to crafting to even blowing up Skynet’s plasma containers), then crafting has five levels (the last one, from lv24, halves your crafting item requirements – you should always get some red, then later purple plasma ammo and medkits crafted, and I know it sounds weird), explosives has three (allowing you to deal more damage with grenades, plus disable or even remove laser traps), lockpicking has three (easy, normal, hard, like Skyrim – very easy needs no skill), weapons have five (make sure to keep a skill point for lv24 to unlock the violet weapons – believe me, Skynet’s mk2 weapons are far more powerful than the mk1 ones, and you can even do some sequence break and be able to use them before you even get the codebreaking done!), and stealth has three.
However, I never cared about that, so I updated that last, and I only got one skill upgrade there. Stealth only felt important in the hospital, when Jacob had no plasma weapons yet, meaning the Terminators couldn’t be damaged with regular machine gun ammo. If they catch you, they stare at you while you get suffocated – this scene happens in the beginning and at the end of the game as well, but without Jacob dying. That totals up to 30, but you get 28 levels, so a few might be left out unless you find skill books that allow you to instantly unlock one of the skills. These are mostly hidden in rooms only accessible via air ducts, and one time, Patrick can dig it up for you from a place you can otherwise not access. (And you only get one shot at getting this book.) I think I found four books, and two Stealth skills were left locked. Something doesn’t add up here. Eh, whatever, my point is that you can’t unlock all skills by default.
On the loading screens, the game says that your decisions have a lot of impacts or something like that. The ending will change two or three ending images in the slideshow, and you get a choice at the end of the game, and I’ll say it: if you make the characters to stay at the Resistance base, you’ll effectively screw with all four of them. So you might either see this in your ending: dead, dead, both dead, or I don’t know where he is and I hope he’ll forgive me; she lives in a false illusion and hope; I hope I can see both of them. One of the characters, Commander Baron, always has that unknown outcome in my opinion.
Then there’s this dialogue system, which also feels undercooked. Most of the time, you’re okay if you pick the top option. One time, with a side character that you’ll interact with only that time, will get a good outcome by choosing the bottom option. WOOOOOW, what a change. The bracket options make the characters talk about their background stories, which they will appreciate (but you can skip them with the Enter button in case you don’t care, lol). With these, and the sidequests, you can get the characters’ trust, and the game throws you off the rails at this point, as you should send them all away. The dialogue system is not Mass Effect-like. Don’t replay the game because of the two options, as you’ll always end up with the same outcome.
I also should talk about weapon upgrades. These are only available for the mk1 (red) and the mk2 (violet) Skynet weapons. Skynet’s machines drop chips in damage, stability, fire rate, and clip size categories. These chips have a symbol in both sides. The two connecting sides of the chips have to have the same symbol (it’s a circuit board). Here’s an example with letters: | a b | b c | c a | – yes, the two edges also matter. If there are no symbols, then that is a joker chip, and you don’t have to worry about it. With the upgrades, at the end of the game, I took a mk2 sniper rifle, which managed to become so broken that the AI had no chance: the damage went from 800 to 1273 (the Quartermaster at the Resistance base has a 41 or 43% damage chip for 6000 resource points – guess who bought that?), and the fire rate got improved as well, mhm.
Resource points? Yeah, there are items that you can pick up on the maps that are effectively Trade Resources. These will be your currency, so if you look into each corner, you’ll find a lot of them, not to mention the things you need for crafting. With crafting, you just click on what you need, then click the craft button, and you got what you wanted, given you have the needed resources. However, you’ll have to keep track of your backpack, as it might get full fairly quickly. I always ran to each killed enemy, clicked E, then E again to take all items, as a stupid maximalist.
I should continue the story. Whatever, probably nobody is reading by this point (typical: you do something out of passion in detail, and nobody cares, or you get the stupid statistical excuse; or something old becomes „popular,” apage Satanas), so I’ll keep using spoilers. You get to the Resistance base, where Commander Baron will… let’s say, she’ll be on your ass all the time (she’ll reveal why she was jealous in her last scene), you’ll become a Tech-Com soldier, and you’ll start to look around in Pasadena and the downtown. Meanwhile, a T-850 Infiltrator will keep tracking you (this is the one that wiped out Jacob’s division), and at one point, you’ll have to fight it. Oh you son of a bitch, yes, without censorship: it was really kind of the game to give it unlimited mk2 plasma ammo and grenades, while I had a piece of shit mk1 gun by that point that barely even scratched it, and I had to keep running around in circles so it started using grenades, and I had to pray it kept damaging itself. I swear, this is the only so-called boss fight in the game, but its HP was ridiculously high. Then, you get to someone called John Connor, who previously forced Baron to promote you from Private to Sergeant. Connor reveals that Skynet – as a last resort effort – activates its TDE program. The very program that sends Terminators back in time. (Three are sent back. One is to deal with Sarah Connor, the second one has the young John Connor as a target, and the third’s target is Jacob.)
You’ll learn where Skynet’s central core is, only to not find it at that location. The Stranger, who dies at that ambush, gives you the real location, you meet Connor, who then reveals he was you all along from the future. After the last offensive, you have to decide if you back in time or stay in the present. Kyle Reese, a certain Arnold Schwarzenegger-acted Terminator, and either you or an unnamed Resistance soldier are the ones sent back in time to combat the three Terminators and defend the three people that were marked for Terminator. Connor is number 1, we’re number 2 (number 3 at first, but we’ll swap placed with Baron, who informs you about it in her last cutscene, she’s also your second woman to have sex with – this is her bargaining chip to make you kill Mack, who is hiding in Hollywood Hills. Don’t do it. He wants the T-850’s CPU from the base by turning up Ryan’s radio so loud that Alvin leaves the room. Mack will reprogram the CPU for the greater good.)
Now, on the fifth page, I should perhaps talk about the other aspects of the game… the graphics (Unreal Engine 4) aren’t as bad as what I have seen in a YouTube video before I installed the game; I mostly got high settings after the autodetect, even though I have a 5+ years old computer by this point. (Then again, I mostly use it for music production and video editing, because those pay better.) It’s not ugly, but I think Terminator Resistance isn’t looking the best, but they managed to make the T-s look nice. Including the one on the title screen. The environments, however, are mostly brown, green, or grey – grey is mostly in the urban areas, where it’s quite monotonous. The animations also didn’t feel that good – especially during the skippable dialogue, you can see that the characters’ mimics have zero emotion, and they just get through their speech, which feels sad. The cutscenes aren’t that much better either, but with all due respect, Teyon seems to have used some self-deprecating humour with one scene, where Baron goes HE’S A MAN, NOT A GOD, which is a reference to Rambo, where on the last stage (which was ridiculously hard and unfair), the enemies kept repeating this: HE’S A MAN, NOT A GOD, COME ON, COMRADES! Amazing.
The voice acting also doesn’t feel that great. I don’t even recall anything memorable of it aside from Baron’s quote. However, with the music, they managed to drop the previous approach of using some low-quality VHS rip. Instead, they took the effort to recreate the motives from the first two movies. When you launch your final offensive against Skynet, you will hear the theme from the movie. It’s packed with ambience! (Aside from when enemies continue to attack you, which always swaps to the same motive. That is a bit bothersome.) The game’s strongest point is the ambience. The complete hopelessness and dire situation in the first half of the game are fitting. I think Terminator Resistance defeats the previous two films. Not Salvation, though, but the soundtrack and the ambience bring it close to him. The fans will recognize the tunes, and that’s what matters the most.
Back to the past
In my opinion, Terminator Resistance is what did not manage to come to fruition in 1989. Back then, Sunsoft (or Sun Corporation of America – Sunsoft is the game development arm of Sun Corp.) managed to get the Terminator license from Helmdale to make an NES game adaptation. Imagine what the Sunsoft sound engine would have been with the film’s title theme… but, for some reason, Sunsoft lost the license, which is why they had to redesign to game in 1990 to Journey to Silius or Rough World in Japan – the apocalyptic style, and the final boss (a Terminator) are the last living memories of what Sunsoft could have done. The Sunsoft that was on the up at that time (Batman, and Batman: Return of the Joker are still considered as classics on the 8-bit platform!), could have done something outstanding that ended up as something that never meant to be.
But, Terminator Resistance closed the circle. This game laughs circles around Dark Fate. Fans should not go to the cinema but to Steam, PlayStation Store, or Microsoft Store instead. Although my rating is a 6.5 out of 10, fans could easily consider it a 7, or even a 7.5 out of 10 – unfortunately, the AI was quite dumb, and I think it was a bit easy, but maybe it might have been because of my systematic, defensive, later quite offensive playstyle that made me rip through everything by the end of the game?
One of the game’s folders has a txt file that shows my playtime. For me, it is twelve hours and three seconds (how did I manage to pull THAT?), and in this period, I roughly beat the game to 100%. The hardest difficulty level (I think it’s called survival?) could push it to 13-14 hours. You might run out of bullets or medkits here and there, but Teyon’s game can be considered as a bit of mindless shooting. I believe that the team took the right direction after Rambo. If Rambo had this approach, it could have been much better. Thank God we did not get a rail shooter. Style-wise, it follows Homefront: The Revolution, it feels more polished. Thirty years after Judgment Day, it is an enjoyable experience. The Americans have to wait until December, though!
Come on men, push forward, we can do this…
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+ Excellent ambience
+ The soundtrack is mostly great
+ The fans will enjoy it far more than the previous two films
– The AI is a bit dumb
– Your choices don’t seem to have that big consequences as promised
– It looks a bit ugly
Publisher: Reef Entertainment
Genre: FPS, RPG, crafting
Release date: November 14, 2019