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Review: Terminator Resistance

The Terminator franchise has been a huge staple in the world of sci-fi. From its iconic robotic design to its groundbreaking film-making and its unforgettable lines, the Terminator franchise has brought audiences into a battle through time, where there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. The latest iteration of this franchise is Terminator: Dark Fate, a film described as the “Star Wars:  The Force Awakens of the franchise”. To coincide with the release of Terminator: Dark Fate is the newest Terminator video game in several years, Terminator: Resistance. Reef Entertainment and Teyon have been working hard since their last release in the last generation of game systems, and with Terminator: Resistance, both teams have created something genuinely surprising and entertaining. Terminator: Resistance is an incredibly entertaining first-person shooter and the best Terminator-licensed video game in several decades.

Terminator: Resistance takes place in the Future War, in the year 2029. SKYNET wages its war against humans through a global world war. Machines roam the land in an endless crusade of death and destruction. The machines are numerous and nearly invincible, with new models being designed and deployed every day. The humans are sent to labor camps for labor, execution, and in some cases, far worse. From the ashes, a lone warrior emerges, John Connor, and through strength and tenacity, he leads the human resistance against the machine, forming the global human military, Tech-Com. Lost, cutoff, and in the surrounded by machines, players play as a lone Tech-Com soldier, determined to survive and defeat the machine. There is more to this war than destroying machines. The machines are destined to lose, but what will be the cost of victory? Through the devastating ruins of California, a mission of the utmost importance unfolds and will determine the fate of humans and time itself.

Terminator: Resistance is a first-person shooter with lite RPG and crafting mechanics. As a resistance soldier, players will gain access to a variety of firearms, including some from SKYNET, ranging from M16 assault rifles to plasma guns with a 40 watt range. Along the way, players scour ruins for items and scraps, using various items to craft items. These items range from ammunition to lock picks to pipe bombs and decoys, all of which are essential to successfully defeating the machines. Looting machines is important as well, as doing so gives players special modification chips. The mod chips can augment and enhance energy weapons that are accessed later in the game. Every robot downed and objective completed yields experience points to add to players traits, from more damage to better locking to better stealth attributes. Players encounter various characters on their mission, which will give certain objectives to accomplish as well as present choices to make. Completing these objectives offers more credits for weapon purchases and items for crafting. Most importantly, each character will have moments where a decision ill have to be made that will affect the sending of the game.

Terminator: Resistance faithfully recreates the feeling of the Future War in a way that has not been felt since at least Terminator: Dawn of Fate on the PlayStation 2. Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day portrayed a hauntingly believable apocalyptic future where unstoppable killing machines, from the ground and the air, wage war against a tenacious human army that uses every bit of resource available to fight back and win. In these moments, the presentation consists of a color palette of blues and blacks, contrasted against purple plasma fire and the polished chrome of robots. From the dystopic lighting and tones to a soundtrack that sounds nearly identical to Brad Fiedel’s score in T2, the presentation in Terminator: Resistance is on point and impeccable. The levels aid in this presentation as well. Lasers traps pierce a foggy, blue-colored prison. Laser fire punctuates the darkness of the night. The fire of a downed machine emits a hazy glow through the dust. The sound effects, most especially the plasma weapons, sound as if they were sampled right from T2.

From a gameplay perspective, Terminator: Resistance does a remarkable job in keeping the experience fresh, entertaining, and engaging. Initially, as the game begins, players use traditional non-energy weapons to fight, such as the Colt .45 and the Uzi 9mm. At the beginning of the game, players fight smaller, weaker enemies, from small drones to spider walkers, but soon enough, players come face-to-face with T-800’s, the classic humanoid killing machines featured in the movies. Around this time, players gain access to plasma weapons and can fight the stronger, more dangerous enemies of SKYNET. In some segments, the levels open up to become small maps, allowing players to explore and engage the enemy at their discretion. Some missions are more linear, forcing the player on a path, though the levels that act as open maps give the sensation that players are fighting on a larger battlefield. It’s in moments like these where Terminator: Resistance truly shines, giving players a chance to explore the world of the Future War, but also an opportunity to truly feel like a soldier, fighting against an unimaginable enemy.

Combat is strong in Terminator: Resistance. Each weapon feels strong and packs a punch, though the Uzi 9mm could use a bit more feedback as it feels like I’m firing a BB gun at times. However, after the games first hour or two, a mammoth ambush occurs which gives access to the plasma rifle. There are several plasma rifles in the game, and using microchips from downed enemies greatly enhances their combat abilities. Firing the plasma rifle is an absolute joy and feels as if it was teleported from the movies. In certain moments of the game, stealth becomes an option. Using decoys or instant-kill Terminator knives is important for survival and infiltration. The gameplay in Terminator: Resistance is not only supported by a sharp presentation but a smooth 60fps. I played Terminator: Resistance on PlayStation 4, so I imagine that the game looks even better on a high-end PC system.

The machines are no pushover, and in Terminator: Resistance, they will stop at nothing to see you destroyed. The initial enemies are easy to take down, as they are vulnerable to gunfire, but fighting the T-800 soldiers is much more difficult. They are invulnerable to conventional bullet-based weapons and need plasma weaponry to be destroyed. At times, the ability to hack an enemy machine appears. Players receive a hacking tool, which allows the ability to hack enemy turrets and machines to be used against the enemy. The hacking minigame plays exactly like the arcade game, Frogger, and is incredibly useful in combat.

An additional achievement of Terminator: Resistance is that it doesn’t follow the exact events of the films, as most Terminator video games do. Terminator: Resistance contains nods and easter eggs to the films, and includes mentions and lore as hinted at in the movies, such as Dr. Silbermen and John Connor. An original story is told in Terminator: Resistance, giving a strong sense of depth and to my complete surprise, having me care about the characters I interact with. Normally, every Terminator video game completely forgoes story in favor of full-fledged action and Arnold Schwarzenegger waging a one-man war against SKYNET. in Terminator: Resistance, the feeling of being part of this conflict, and the world it takes place in is incredibly immersive and intense. It’s remarkable what Teyon and Reef Entertainment have achieved, and as a long-time Terminator fan, seeing this accomplished game is incredibly rewarding.

The only, and biggest drawback of Terminator: Resistance is its scope and limited length of the overall gameWith all secrets unveiled and all achievements accomplished, Terminator: Resistance will clock in at a little over ten hours. There is no co-op or multiplayer. There are no minigames or expansions. Terminator: Resistance is a straightforward single-player experience and that is it. With that, I wouldn’t recommend Terminator: Resistance at the original asking price of $39.99, but I’d call it a must buy on a deep sale, especially at the $14.99 or $19.99 level. I would have loved to see more of Terminator: Resistance and have the game evolve into a longer Terminator experience, factoring the movies, the comics, and the thrill ride from Universal Studios. Perhaps pairing the game’s release with a re-release of one of the original Terminator video games would have been incredibly exciting.

Terminator: Resistance is an incredibly good Terminator experience and a surprisingly enjoyable FPS. The presentation and world are crafted with passion and enthusiasm, and the gameplay mechanics truly evoke the sense of being a ground soldier trapped in a futuristic nightmare. It’s clear that the teams at Teyon and Reef Entertainment have matured and organized themselves to deliver a top-quality game, and in the process, create a short but incredibly solid and worthwhile experience. This may be the very last Terminator experience in video games for the foreseeable future, as the film franchise is no longer going forward. If you are a fan of Terminator or are looking for a different type of game, Terminator: Resistance is a title you don’t want to miss.

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