- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
he makers of “Terminator Salvation” had the right idea in trying to get around the usual pitfalls of creating a movie-licensed game. By setting the story before the events of the film, they prevented themselves from being restricted by any set of rules or regulations that might normally exist. Unfortunately, while the idea of a new “Terminator” game sounds simple enough in theory (if the success of “Halo” and “Gears of War” has taught us anything, it’s that we like our sci-fi war games), the latest attempt is an uninspired blob of mediocrity that is to generic first-person shooters what the McG-directed action film is to generic summer blockbusters.
The story opens post-Judgment Day in 2016, with John Connor as just another soldier in the human Resistance. When his unit intercepts a distress call from a group of fellow fighters trapped behind enemy lines, however, he disobeys a direct order and leads what many believe to be a suicide mission in order to rescue them. What follows is a monotonous series of fights with the same basic structure: run, cover and shoot. Rinse and repeat. Though there’s supposed to be a strategy to all of this (the main enemy you run into along the way is a stubborn robotic spider that can only be defeated by shooting it in the back), the flanking system is stymied by some of the worst AI of the last few years.
For some reason, the mechanical spiders take an especially keen liking to you (even if you’re hiding behind a giant wall), and so you’re forced to rely on your teammates to help draw some fire. Unfortunately, it seems that even if you’re positioned so that the entire back of the enemy is exposed to your teammate, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to shoot at it. Sometimes your teammates will save your life, but more often than not, they lead to you dying in a hail of bullets. An in-game HUD that let you bark out orders to your unit would have worked wonders to fix such an unneccesary problem, but alas, you’re stuck with a majority of the heavy lifting throughout the game.
It wouldn’t be such a big issue if the battles were actually fun, but apart from the fact that you do the exact same thing every time, there isn’t a very big variety of enemies to fight. Actually, there are four total: flying scouts called Aerodats, the aforementioned T-7-T Spiders, and two variations of the T-600. You do get to take on some other machines in the game’s vehicle sequences, but while they help to shake up the otherwise dull ground battles, they’re much too abrupt to make a significant difference. Of course, the game itself is a bit on the short end, which means that unless you’re a diehard “Terminator” fan, there’s really no point in paying the scandalously high full price. Then again, between the short campaign, the lack of any unlockable extras, and the complete absence of Christian Bale (though Moon Bloodgood and Common do reprise their supporting roles from the film), “Terminator Salvation” doesn’t do enough to earn it.