Terminator Salvation Delivers Salvation

Posted: May 6, 2009 in Action, Shooter

Games with movie ties generally aren’t done well or well received because the game is often an afterthought and done primarily for marketing purposes. Terminator Salvation changes that trend and is a game that both casual and hardcore gamers will like.

Terminator Salvation is a 3D shooter that gives you a 360 degree view and has 8 missions where you play John Connor who is battling alongside Marcus Wright and Kyle Reese. The missions are Machine War, Decay, Rebirth, Escape, Darkness, No Man’s Land, Burnt Bridges, Origin. Once you successfully complete the missions, a new level is unlocked where you play the role of a T-600 battling humans.

Not only do you battle the Skynet, but there are 11 different enemies including Moto-Terminators, flying Hunter-Killers, armed trucks and of course the T-600 android. With three levels of difficulty: Normal, Hard, and Extreme Difficulty, Terminator Salvation includes 4 different control options—virtual pad, wheel pad, accelerometer, and reverse accelerometer so you can choose the one that works for you. Using your finger (similar to what you do in Caster), you simply drag on the right side of the screen to rotate the view, which is pretty smooth. Honestly, I’m finding the accelerometer to my liking because it allows me to peak around corners with ease. To shoot, you have a reticule to aim and a fire button to shoot. Other options that are included include a sensitivity setting and a flip screen option (more devs need to do this). In general, I would say the tutorial is lacking, and you will spend some time figuring out what to do.

In terms of weapons, you have 6 weapons: assault rifle (default), shotgun, grenade launcher, surge cannon, rocket launcher, and T-1 mini gun (which must secured in hand-to-hand combat with a T-1 Unit.

Under the Extras section, Terminator Salvation includes an Achievement system that has 19 awards. These include things such as Sniper, when you destroy a T-600 by blowing its head off; Fastest Man (you smash a T-600’s head with your foot; Immortal Hero (complete all the missions on the hard setting); and Fast Thinker (complete a mini-puzzle in less than 30 seconds).

Before a mission, a mini-intro video is presented which then you leads to a briefing page during the loading phase that lists the next new enemy. The brief provides stats on the enemy’s vulnerability, defenses and physical traits. As you destroy enemies, you collect microchips that boost your strength, and to progress to next level, you must solve mini-puzzle (very similar to Assassin’s Creed). As you reach specified checkpoints, your progress is automatically saved.

The gameplay itself is actually pretty decent with detailed graphics and smooth frame rates. You move their various settings usually with supporting troops who don’t do much but add to the chaos with the objective to destroy the target enemies. On the gameplay screen is your virtual joystick on the bottom left-hand side and fire button on the bottom right-hand side. An icon in the upper right-hand corner shows your weapons with a gauge representing number of rounds left. To duck or hide behind walls or barriers, you simply walk up to, and you automatically find cover. In later levels, the combat involves melees, which are more hand-to-robot hand combat and can also involve hijacking Skynet tanks.

After each mission, a statistics page shows various things including enemies killed, a breakdown of enemies killed, and score. A more in-depth stats page is located in the Achievements section that includes time spent.

For something tied to a movie, Terminator Salvation could easily have been a standalone game. The graphics and images look good, and the game with a variety of enemies is engaging. My primary issue is Terminator Salvation only has 8 missions, which may turn off some buyers. Besides that, Terminator Salvation feels polished in its presentation and its gameplay.

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