Review – Terminator: Salvation
Shit movie tie-in of a shitter movie.
The pain of watching Terminator: Salvation in the cinema last week still smarts a little. A terrible film that lazily ruins all the potential that those apolyptic future scenes from T1 and T2 had by making a shambles of a road movie that very occasionally throws a Terminator in just to remind you why you’re in the cinema and then dumbs down Skynet so badly that you could imagine beating it in a game of chess whilst it decides to dance around your king rather than taking it. The good news is that the game is better than the film. The bad news…
Well, everything about this game is bad news. It’s set before the events of the film and sees John Connor as a no-mark resistance fighter whose incredible destiny seems to have mirrored the average X-Factor contestant’s. Instead of giving the orders he’s following them, at least for the first couple of levels. After that he decides to spew out all that ‘every life is sacred’ bollocks from the film and go on a suicidal rescue mission deep into a Skynet facility.
The game plays out as a bare-bones third-person shooter. Think Gears of War but with zero levels of polish and you’re on the right lines. As with the film, there are no pulse rifles or funky laser weapons. Instead you’ve got a less-than-helpful machine gun, a fairly substancial shotgun, a rocket launcher (useful but lacking in ammo), a grenade launcher and a couple of grenade variants. This means that you’ll be spending a lot of time shooting one target waiting for it to fall over although the game tends to bark orders at you telling you to flank your targets. Unfortunately your AI buddy has her IQ set to ‘Fuckwit’ and rarely does anything more useful than occasionally distract the enemy.
The enemy types are very disappointing. Most of the time you’ll be facing ‘Wasps’ which are shit flying things that are easily taken down or ‘Spiders’ which are shit Dalek things that have to be shot from behind or blown up. After a while they’ll throw in T-600s and to come and mess with your life. You’ll need explosive weapons to take these down before their stop-motion looking animation makes you vomit your way into a coma. These guys can be a prick though, especially if you play through the game on Hard difficulty as I chose to (for the achievements, naturally).
The occasional HK (the better flying things), Harvester (the giant thing that looks like it belongs in the Transformers movie) and those awful motorbike things turn up but not very often and usually during the mandatory turret sections that pop up just when you think the game can’t get any worse.
Gameplay-wise, that’s it apart from a functional but no thrills cover mechanic. Yep, as I said… barebones. The levels themselves are either set in grimy looking buildings or out in the sunshine-drenched city that McG (the cunt who directed the movie) inexplicably thought post-apocalyptic LA would look like. These are very linear and any tension is dissipated because as soon as you see a crate or something else that be used as cover, you know a battle is coming.
Ah, a movie license. I’ve not played one of these for a long while. They’re usually shockingly bad or merely adequate, and this rests somewhere in between. The running time is an incredibly short five hours (on hard) and that’s with deaths and retries included, the fighting is repetitive (only having five types of enemies doesn’t help) and generally overly easy apart from the odd annoying difficulty spike here and there.
I did enjoy not having to search for collectibles for no reason other than to get achievements, generally having the right weapons at the right times and fighting within a decent squad. They’re not going to do the job for you by any means, but often enemies will die with only minor intervention from you. Turret sections are pretty horrible (if very short), it can be quite difficult to tell if you’re getting hit whilst you’re firing a weapon and don’t get me started on instant death kills from Terminators just walking up to the cover you’re behind and punching it.
If you are a die hard Terminator fan then maybe, just maybe this is worth a rent as killing Terminators as the familiar tunes play in the background can feel pretty good, but unless you are looking for a relatively easy 1000 achievement points, I’d say leave it well alone.
Secondary Score: 4/10
Whilst this game is fairly easy to complete (no more than seven hours for the full 1000, whorish chums), there are some spikes in the difficulty, usually due to crossfires that the Terminators like to set up or the turret sections which are usually only difficult because of the equipment you are using rather than any clever AI routines. If you die you’d better hope you’ve not just had a cut-scene as invariably you’ll have to sit through them every time you restart and yes, they’re unskippable. Hngh!
One of the real gripes with this game has to be the graphics. It mimics the already awful look of the film but resembles a ten-year old PC game rather than anything current-gen and everything moves around so shoddily that you’d imagine this game was thrown together in a couple of weeks. Even the Terminator skull that graces the HIGHLY FUCKING INTRUSIVE loading screens looks like it’s been sent forward in time by a self-aware PS2 in order to stop your eyes from watching any more shit Terminator movies.
That’s it really. No online modes to speak of. Just a scruffy offline co-op mode which shortens the game’s life by 50% unless your buddy is thicker than the Terminators in this game which is unlikely unless he was bottle-fed petrol as a child. It’s mercifully short and Christian Bale’s likeness is nowhere to be seen, so that’s a positive, but this really is one of the laziest games to make it onto the 360, second only to Jumper in the list of inept movie tie-ins. In the meantime, you’re traded in… Fucker.