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Terminator Salvation
Terminator Salvation

Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Developer: Grin Official Site: http://www.terminatorsalvati...
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interac...
Terminator Salvation

Genre: Action
Developer: Grin
Official Site: http://www.terminator...
Publisher: Warner Brothers ...
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Terminator Salvation Review
Review By @ 04:25pm 22/05/09
Given the raised bar of the videogame film license thanks to the recent efforts of Raven Software's interpretation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I had high hopes other massive blockbusters built from solid cult foundations would equally follow suit.

All of the media in the lead up to me reviewing Terminator Salvation actually had me excited for the game, but now I see my folly. The problem now is, middleware and HD are so evenly intertwined, you can literally polish turds (even to the trained eye), if you're showing them in the light you want to. It's like a photoset - proper make-up, only the good angles and features and most definitely selective viewing. The reality is though, most models or photosets are the absolute poorest representation of the real-life product, and in the case of Terminator Salvation, this has utterly rung true.

Most people who grew up with James Cameron's original vision of a future decimated by machines and AI have wanted to see MCG's Terminator Salvation realised. Forget Arnie, forget liquid metal and forget Guns n Roses – it's all about HKs and T-800s tearing through what's left of Downtown Los Angeles to get at the human resistance. To get at John Connor. And in a very, very short time, that is exactly what we're going to get.

In the meantime, however, Warner Bros. Interactive and GRIN (Bionic Commando) have crafted the videogame license to the film with some very stand-out omissions. For one, the game lacks any likeness or relation to Christian Bale as John Connor. There's also a seriously lacking portion of cinematic story-telling and throwback fan service.

Instead what we're left with is a game of tag, where players are literally stopping in one spot, fighting until the next movement is triggered (or you're 'tagged') and then it's on to point B. At no point throughout the experience do you feel any of Cameron or MCG's vision is expanded upon and as a result, you're going to feel pretty cheated.

It's difficult to say if this was a result of short development time, a lack of backing or divulgence on the film's side of things to GRIN, or just plain bad design, but you have to realise at some point someone, somewhere with money signed off on this thing and they really ought to be fired.

The game itself has many enjoyable action moments. The sort of atypical segments of ferocious battle and exploitation, but they're hardly original, cerebral or memorable. It's all fleeting and arbitrary once the game is finished, but through a few key moments of tried and tested gameplay, you're allowed to think (if just for a minute) you're not playing a half-assed blockbuster movie license cash-in.

Technically the game looks very good in many parts. Connor's cover animations are pretty cool, and the action, when it wants to, can be pretty intense. But it's never consistent, and for every one moment of cool, or awesome visuals or sound or whatever, there are several flaws and major problems. Glitches or just pieces of videogame or narrative simply lost in the machine somehow. It's almost as if someone (or something) from the future came back in time and wiped out some key development code, or worse still, a member of the development resistance bent on crafting an intelligent and solid product that would clearly stand alongside the film.

Unfortunately, adding to much of this is some really cheesy dialogue along with some equally cheesy characters. It's bad enough John Connor is no former Batman, but such an iconic character (who existed in the first movie in name, reputation and action alone, and retroactively I might add) should not be as wooden or, well... forgotten as this. Beyond our hero, obligatory action game characters pop-up such as your country hick with his last-century one-liners and so on – at times you almost want to start rooting for the machines because these guys really don't put in a good resume for the continuation of the human race as key species (bring it on SkyNet - we'll even help you by bringing down the resistance from the inside).

Skirmishes do offer something of a unique all-round experience. Instead of advancing forward, you're somewhat encouraged (or forced) to utilise the entire action area to outflank and outmanoeuvre the enemy. The Terminators and other machines aren't necessarily overly smart, but they're tough with tough defences and can take quite a bit to take down.

Still having even said that, the entire game can be finished in around five hours, and if you're really good, much less than that. Dying just adds to frustration as gameplay never shifts dynamically, meaning for the most part you're just playing a series of the same action progression lines, leaving the aforementioned skirmishes as the only place with a little room to move and breath.

To add insult to injury, there are no videogame hallmarks added for extra value. There are no hidden goodies, no awesomely secret Achievements of Trophies and there's absolutely no exploration. The entire experience is a really fast-paced marathon, likely built that way to allow you no time to realise you're playing a lesser videogame.

It's a shame, because as I said, the trailer leading up to the game's release really did paint a much different picture. And if, like me, you're uber-jazzed about the movie, it's an even bigger let-down because of pretty much everything this game gets wrong – and there's a lot of it.

Really, you're better off just accepting that in the videogame universe of the Terminator series, the machines won. Time to move on.
What we liked
  • T-800s everywhere
  • All-round skirmishes in large areas are kind of cool
  • Two-player co-op (local only)
What we didn't like
  • No Christian Bale
  • Very, very short
  • No hidden goodies
  • Co-op is only local
  • Cinematics and story are seriously lacking
  • Can look really shoddy a lot of the time
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 06:11pm 22/5/09
Ahh, back to the standard fare for games based on movies :(
Posted 06:36pm 22/5/09
I dont understand why they cant just do the games and release them at a later time, at least polish the game off for a few extra months then release it. The Bourne Conspiracy game didnt coincide with the movie release and that did fairly well in the ratings.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 06:43pm 22/5/09
AGN Bourne Conspiracy Review we scored it even less than Terminator
Posted 06:54pm 22/5/09
Yeah this sucked. It could've been fairly decent. It wasn't all that bad, just that fighting the same 3 enemies in 5 separate skirmishes then having a section on rails isn't exactly amazing.

Even the parts where you were supposed to feel rushed and a sense of urgency just felt lazy, especially in when you're in the back of the train with the RPGs.
Posted 08:49pm 22/5/09
@Steve - I liked Bourne Conspiracy better than this, at least it felt like an interactive movie... This game hits all the wrong video game buttons - For me the only redeeming feature was the nicely lite ruined landscape... but sheesh five hours long - only four types of enemies ( five if you count the onrails parts) and s***-house direction and any Terminator franchise fan will feel short sheeted
Posted 01:24pm 23/5/09
it does have an awesome trailer though.
Posted 02:56pm 23/5/09
To think a game based on an eccentric detective and his sidekick doctor would be more entertaining than this is unbelievable.
Posted 11:41pm 24/5/09
Same old, same old.
Posted 01:11am 04/6/09

i went an saw terminator salvation tonight, my mate got some free tickets from some client of his or something for the advanced screening.

first, let me say after all the press that it was getting i was expecting it to suck and had very low expectations.

i will try not to give anything away, but just in case i will spoiler tag my following comments

these expectations were exceeded.

i thought the movie was pretty good and enjoyed it. there were some parts were i thought "lame", revolving around the usual lines they have decided they must include in this series of movies. also the attempt to make the ending "emotional" was very very weak and they should have left that whole sequence out.

in the order of movies, i rank it 3rd behind T1 (awesome) and T2 (very good). It was so much better then T3 (pile of s***) it isn't funny and i really can't comprehend some of the reviews it was getting at all.

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