Well, I was warned by several poor reviews, not least by my good friends at Beyond The D-Pad, but I ended up giving Terminator Salvation a spin for myself.
Could it really be a bad as everyone said?
In a word, yes.
It’s pretty poor and while there is technically nothing wrong with the game itself, the way it’s been designed leads me to believe it was rushed out to co-incide with the film.
Ok let’s start at the beginning. The game opens with minimal fuss and a few enemies to show you the controls etc. At this stage the cynic in me was beaten back a little as I quite enjoyed taking down the enemies.
Graphically the game isn’t too bad – during gameplay at least. Cut scenes aren’t great, almost all the characters have those creepy ‘dead eyes’ that move but add no realism whatsoever.
After a quick 5 minute blast the first level came to a close – ‘bling’ – trophy. Only, hang on a minute… that looks like, it can’t be… yes folks it was a GOLD trophy For completing the tutorial. Level completions are bronze trophies, with a silver or gold maybe for finishing the game. We all know that – it’s a logical state of affairs.
This just makes a mockery of the whole trophy system. I finished this game (albeit on easy, I wasn’t willing to put too much time into something every single review had slated) in 3 and 1/2 hours – I got 9 gold trophies for my ‘trouble.’ That’s roughly 2.57 gold trophies an hour! There aren’t even any skill based trophies, just the level completions and a medium and hard completion gold trophy.
To be fair they’d have had trouble including skill based trophies anyway. Terminator Salvation makes it extremely difficult to hit any target accurately as the aiming system has to be dead centre to hit anything. You’re a little to the left? Tough no hit. This is incredibly unfair and annoying with the flying drones who are constantly moving.
Yes there’s a buzz when you take down your first Terminator but it really doesn’t last long as you’re then bombarded with the spider bots.
It doesn’t help that the spider bots can only be killed from behind. A shot to front will shut them down for 3 or 4 seconds so someone else can take advantage and shoot the back. Only it has to be you because your AI buddies don’t have the skill or intelligence to do it.
The levels fly by and are broken up by the on-rails driving sections (car/train etc) where you use an artillary gun to take down chasing enemies.
This was done brilliantly in Resident Evil 5 but here, well it was certainly fun at times but there was just no danger – fair enough it was on easy but I’d expect if I didn’t shoot them, even on the easiest setting, that they would cause some damage to the vehicle/me.
One thing that was quite well implemented was the cover system, which has been refined since these guys made Wanted: Weapons Of Fate. You attach to cover with X then at the edge of cover you use the analogue stick to choose another piece of cover, press X and John Connor automatically runs and slides into cover there. It’s a good system and offers you a little more protection than just running between cover yourself.
I think the real problem with Terminator is the fact it’s so ridiculously repetitive. There are, I think, only 3 or 4 enemy types in the whole game (Drones, Spider Bots, Terminators and flying harvester ships). There aren’t any ‘boss battles’ per se. You get more of the above thrown at you.
I mean, come on, the last level – it’s all Terminators yeah but where was the last boss? Where was the secret mega Terminator they’d been creating? I’m not going to say anymore so that peeps who do want to play through (hello Trophyitis sufferers ) can do without me ruining the end.
I think we need to move away from film tie-ins now for games. Let’s get the licence and make something original. Or based on another facet on the film’s universe. I know it’s not out yet so could be rubbish but look at Batman Arkham Asylum. That looks brilliant and isn’t tied to a film.
This was a wasted opportunity in my opinion. The Terminator universe deserves a great game made for it. Hell, if you’re gonna tie it in why not just do a game based on the first few films for the new generation of consoles.
It certainly couldn’t be much worse than Terminator Salvation. This is a game where you will have the odd moment of fun in amongst repetitive mindless gunfights. Sadly I think there were more gold trophies than moments of fun.
I can stomach a bad/broken game that has some great ideas (Hi Alone In The Dark ), at least they are trying something new. But the most damning thing about this game is that it isn’t a bad game as such, it’s just boring.
And that for me is the worse crime a game can ever commit.