Terminator: Resistance – Enhanced Edition is a game by developers who are clearly fans of the franchise made for fans of the franchise. Unfortunately, their level of execution could not match the level of fandom. Completely average is an apt description for almost every facet of this game, except for the one that kept me personally engaged throughout, the fan service.
Mechanically the game is completely fine; you can explore the decimated Los Angeles environments while scavenging for crafting materials and shooting at hostile robots in the process. Levels possess a decent enough open structure and you will be encouraged to explore as resources are as scares as hope in this post Judgment Day existence. There is a little bit of variety injected into this game play loop with some lock picking, hacking and crafting included but don’t be mistaken into thinking that they don’t all serve the same purpose.
With the likes of T-800s and HK aerials patrolling the environments and refusing to go down without a stubbornly large amount of bullets passing through them you will need to loot every container, craft and spend lots of trade resource on just keeping munitions levels stocked. There are no super human abilities to gain or game changing mechanics to unlock, this is all about survival and in this world that means ammo, grenades and med kits. So while it can be fun to complete a Frogger like mini game when hacking or a straight up Fallout style lock pick sequence, you will quickly realize there won’t be many surprises waiting for you.
Customization is minimal and primarily exists to be included rather than to set any play through apart from another. The skill tree let’s you increase things like damage percentages, improve the previously mentioned skills or upgrade carrying capacity and while it is always fun to see experience gains and level ups, they ultimately lack a feeling of impact. By the end of the campaign, I had all but a couple levels in crafting unlocked and when using stealth for example, didn’t really feel much of a boost from the 3 points spent in it. When you eventually get your hands on plasma weapons in the game, they can also be expanded with chips looted from the machines but again it’s just a slight matching requirement to slot in different percentages of damage, clip size and fire rate.
There are a number of NPCs that you can interact with but dialogue choices are mostly an illusion. You can just exhaust every option until eventually you are faced with a rare decision to actually make but it’s between only two picks and neither will change your experience. Sure you might see a very slightly altered ending, open one of the completely unnecessary sex scenes or miss a side mission but otherwise it’s the exact same campaign regardless.
That campaign is the exact same one, of about an average of 10 very inoffensive hours, released over a year ago on the PS4 and Xbox One. Outside of the fact that load times only lasted a couple seconds and that the Infiltrator DLC was included, I was disappointed to see that there really wasn’t much of an upgrade when playing on the PS5.
The game runs smoothly but that should be expected as even when playing on a 4k display everything looked below average of the standard from even a few years ago at least. Unfortunately environment textures are bland, animations are still pretty clunky and the level of detail on NPCs is painfully inconsistent. Improvements in the graphical department for a next gen upgrade might be the biggest expectation of the audience and in this case it was a letdown.
Up until now it has all been pretty middle of the line, no reason to run out and grab the game but also no reason to go run and hide from it either. So let’s get into the reason that Terminator fanatics like me will enjoy this experience far more than the numerical score it will ultimately get, the story and the atmosphere.
You take on the role of Jacob Rivers, the sole survivor of a military unit that has been wiped out by the newly revealed infiltrator unit, the T-850. It’s been over 30 years since Skynet became self aware and began the war between man and machine, however previously the enemy was easily identifiable. The mission now is to meet up with John Connor in order to stop Skynet and prevent Terminators from being sent through the time displacement equipment to the past. It’s a story that’s done in a way the shows a lot of care and attention was put into it. By taking place in the future it strikes a perfect balance of not retconning any of the lore and also serving as a great companion piece to help explain the events leading up to the characters of the first two movies travelling back in time.
The music is exactly what it needs to be when it kicks in during battles and the sound of bullets flying illicit feelings of nostalgia and familiarity to their cinematic counterparts. Otherwise, you are left with only the sound of your interactions with the environment as you explore, heighten the feeling of despair that comes from the existence of a world with no future. From the second I heard the iconic main theme to when an NPC asked what they should name their dog, with Max and Wolfie being the options, I knew but more importantly felt that this was Terminator. This is not a game that can be recommended to everyone, even if it does nothing so wrong as to prevent just anyone from being able to play it. Fans of the franchise will probably enjoy it as I did but the shorter run time, lack of replayablility and two bugged trophies that prevent the platinum from being obtained warrant patience for patch deployment and price drops.