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Review: Terminator Salvation - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 - 5.1

24 maja, 2009

Terminator Salvation is simply a waste of money that is rarely fun.

When a studio juggles multiple projects for release within months and weeks of one another, one would expect that the quality of at least some of these games would suffer. Unfortunately, this is the case with Grin’s Terminator: Salvation. Amounting to nothing more than a Gears of War clone, Salvation is a derivative slog through a short campaign that simply isn’t worth the asking price.

Set two years before the film, the game follows one of John Connor’s most important adventures, one that highlights his rise to a leader of humanity. This story is told through a combination of realtime and recorded in-engine cutscenes, with mixed results: the real-time ones are hurt by glaringly stiff movement while the recorded scenes make the facial animation weaknesses of Grin’s Diesel engine even more apparent. The dialogue in these scenes isn’t particularly memorable, and it’s hurt even more by the fact that Christian Bale doesn’t even lend his voice to the legendary protagonist.

The majority of the action in Terminator: Salvation has you fight through a multitude of city environments through the use of cover-based combat mechanics. The movement from cover to cover is well-complemented by a radial system that shows you and allows you to move to where you want to hide. Unfortunately, this system gets slightly cumbersome at times and can get you suck in corners. In addition, your teammates do lend the occasional helping hand, but they are overall inconsistent and cannot be relied upon.

There are only three types in Salvation: flying drones, T-7 crab robots, and T-600s (the predecessors to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 model). They all have specific weaknesses, meaning gameplay will eventually boil down to rinsing and repeating a set of strategies that ultimately give the entire game a sense of monotony.

Unfortunately, the only ways that you can be consistently killed by are getting caught in the open or meleed from 5 feet away by a T-600. Most enemies will hang back and happily wait for you to chip away their health while they fire ineffectively at your cover.

In addition, there are some on-rails vehicle segments (another Gears of War staple) that break up the on-foot action. While a good change of pace, they are just as lackluster as the rest of the game. Shooting is difficult due to a strange tendency for the turret to drift in certain directions at certain times. Everything that had the potential to be cool is conveyed through cutscenes that pull you out of the action.

Unfortunately, Terminator also doesn’t look too good. Grin’s Diesel engine manages to render some nice environments, but little else is up to par. The PC version also has little-to-no scalability, offering only resolution options to tweak the graphics.

In the end, Terminator Salvation is a derivative waste of money that does little to set itself apart from the crowd of other third person shooters.

Score Breakdown:

Gameplay: 4.5 – Boring third-person shooting punctuated by boring on-rails segments.

Presentation: 5.5 – It truly says something when your protagonist isn\'t voiced by the actor that is in the film.

Graphics: 5.5 – Horrible animation and facial movement. However, the environments do look wonderfully post-apocalyptic.

Sound: 5.0 Nothing much to say about the sound besides a lack of important voice actors.

Value: 5.0 – No unlockables, no collectibles. Only five hours long. Quite frankly, a rip-off.

Final Score: 5.1 – Terminator Salvation is simply a waste of money that is rarely fun.

Marcin Skok
"The Gaming Corner