Xbox version tested
Ever since James Cameron introduced us to a bleak and terrifying glimpse into humanity’s future with 1985’s The Terminator and his followup 1991 Masterpiece Terminator 2: Judgement Day, fans have been waiting for a worthy extension to the story. With Hollywood bastardising the franchise with a chain of terrible sequels that turned the hulking metal reaper that once terrified an audience into a slapstick comedic hero that makes Ryan Reynolds seem entertaining by comparison, we may finally have the entry we have been waiting for. Developed by Teyon, a polish developer that made their debut in 2007, Terminator: Resistance appeared from out of nowhere just like a naked muscle-bound Austrian in an attempt to give fans what they deserve, which is frankly a relief after the abomination that was Terminator: Dark Fate.
Set in 2028 during the original future war, Terminator: Resistance follows the story of Jacob Rivers. The game opens during a desperate escape, as Jacob witnesses his friends being terminated by the dreaded T-800’s, a voice comes over the radio guiding him to safety. As the screams of the hunted echo all around you must duck and dive through ruined buildings and debris in what essentially formes the tutorial, along the way you acquire a pistol and the classic “UZI 9mm” (hard not to say that in Arnie’s voice) which can be used to despatch the smaller Skynet drones that take the form of Spider Bots and Hovering Sentinals.
After the tutorial, you meet up with a ragtag group of survivors and flee the city to the confines of a safe house. Here is where the game opens up in a way I didn’t expect. What could have been a straight forward on rails FPS, Teyon have gone for a more Wolfenstein approach, between missions you can roam the safe house and later the resistance shelter and interact with the survivors and soldiers you meet, the majority of which will present you with some good back story on themselves and their experiences since Judgement Day. Although none of their stories are as bleak as having to watch Terminator Genisys, they are well written and voiced adding a good level of depth to the world and emphasising the horrors that people have seen with optional dialogue options and choice making that can affect not only your fate but theirs as well.
They will also offer additional objectives to complete during your main missions. Each level takes place in hub areas located in and around Pasadena that you can explore at your leisure. As you progress you gain access to hacking tools and explosives which can be used to gain access to storage lockers for supplies and ammo as well as creating short cuts while finding documents that provide a bit more back story and easter egg’s for fans, like a patient review from Dr Silberman for one Sarah Connor. Side objectives are highlighted in blue on your minimap where prime objectives are highlighted in Yellow. Mission’s can vary from taking down Skynet outposts, photographing defence capabilities, rescuing prisoners to the good old fashioned find a big robot and blow it up.
During the first few missions, the team did a good job of enforcing how threatening the Terminators are and taking them on with conventional weapons is suicide. As HK’s roam the skies and T-800 patrols appear you must use cover and stealth to sneak past. The darker side of the Terminator lore is also explored as you begin receiving reports of experiments on humans taking place. People having their skin removed and blood drained hints at Skynet’s early research into creating the T-850 infiltration unit.
The core gameplay takes the form of an FPS with an array of weapons to collect. Utilising a weapon wheel you can carry up to four primary weapons with a selection of explosives and distraction items to choose from. As you explore you can gather resources to craft ammo and harvest chips from defeated machines to upgrade your weapons. All this add’s a good level of depth to the experience but ultimately feels a bit unnecessary due to the sheer lack of challenge on hand. As mentioned before, the T-800 models are not to be engaged with regular weapons but once you get your hands on some Skynet tech you can take them down to the point that they pretty much become fodder. Ammo crates and supplies are plentiful throughout meaning the crafting system is rarely required and although health is replenished manually by using health packs, these too can be found in high supply throughout the ruins of Pasadena.
That’s not to say the game is a complete walk in the park, although the T-800 models become about as threatening as a stormtrooper at a firing range, the advanced models and eventually the T-850 present a tougher challenge that spikes very suddenly but once again drops off when you acquire better weapons. A few “Boss” battles stand out, defeating a HK Tank is treated with the right effect of hiding from its surveillance lights while waiting for the right moment to strike. Everything about Terminator: Resistance oozes fan service with locations from the movies being faithfully recreated, plot points being created and expanded on based on dialogue and hints that were given throughout the movies, such as how Skynet managed to learn at a geometric rate. Even the vehicle wrecks strewn throughout the levels harken back to the classic Station Wagon used after escaping Pescadero Hospital and the truck model used during the Bull Creek spillway chase sequence, one nod I really liked is the first T-850 you encounter wears the same outfit Arnie had on during the Tech-Noir scene. All this drives the emphasis that the team at Teyon are huge fans and made this for fans. The story picks up pace especially in the second half and both I and SauronsGirl found ourself engaged in the plot and looking forward to seeing if our theories about the outcome were going to come true based on the locations we had been to.
Apart from the game not offering much in the way of a challenge, the main caveat is the presentation. Coming from a relatively small studio the game does look like it belongs on the last-gen. Textures are grainy and animations are a bit rigid though as most of the game is set at night this is not always as noticeable. Some of the lighting effects do a good job of illuminating the ruins as the menacing red eyes of Terminators twinkle in the shadows. Overall gameplay feels a bit sluggish at times with a few issues of latency and some long loading times between levels but this wasn’t enough to ruin the experience.
As a huge fan of the first two movies, I found a lot to love about Terminator: Resistance. To quote a great man “She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts”. The story was pleasing and although elements were predictable it gave enough twists and turns to keep you engaged and thinking. Visiting familiar locations and knowing the fate that awaits them gives a great sense of foreboding and despite the lack of challenge the narrative drives home the fact that Terminator is a dark story about mankind’s self-made destruction. Though it may not win any awards as a standout shooter, if you can set aside how spoilt we have all become with high budget titles with ultra-realistic graphics, there is a good experience here for any Terminator fan with the added bonus of having what might be the best rendition of the theme tune to date.
TBG Score: 7.5/10
Genre: Shooter, Action
Publisher: Reef Entertainment
Format: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Download link: Microsoft Store