Xbox 360 Review: Terminator Salvation

No amount of salvation would be enough to rescue this game from the battlefield of mediocrity…

Based on the upcoming Terminator Salvation film from Warner Bros. Pictures and Sony Pictures, Terminator Salvation the videogame on Xbox 360 offers players the chance to assume the role of John Connor, a soldier in the resistance, battling for survival against the far superior forces of Skynet.

Oh, where do I begin with a game like Terminator Salvation? A game that is only 3-4 hours long, isn’t much fun to play and offers no multiplayer or replay value of any kind. Well, that’s the sad truth of what you get with it. It’s a shame, when I previewed it a while back…I had some high hopes for it, but that was before I learned that I almost completed the entire game during my time playing a sample of the preview code.
In the game you play as John Connor in a third-person shooter. There’s no likeness to Christian Bale, nor does he provide any voice work…maybe he was too busy yelling at cameramen to learn he could make some more money, who knows? The game follows a very brief and familiar pattern, you go into an area…fight some enemies, then there’s a cutscene and then some more encounters. The enemies also offer little challenge, I did note in the preview that you had to sneak behind some enemies to destroy them…well, it turns out that you don’t have to. Instead you can just lob grenades at them to blow them up.

There are about 3-4 on rails sequences that are far too brief, shame since it’s perhaps the only part of the game that I enjoyed. The rest just becomes far too familiar and it becomes far too predictable, on top of that the story isn’t all that great either. It’s meant to be the prequel story to the film, so there are no spoilers…but that doesn’t mean the story has to be incredibly lame and focus on you rescuing 3 survivors in Skynet territory. Boring…

You can play the brief game with a friend if you have a second controller, but it makes the game even easier and I’m really surprised that there’s no online co-op considering the game box has the words “Xbox Live” on it. Why is it there if they never intended there to be any online components of any kind? Is DLC on the way? I seriously doubt it. The main problem from the start is that you can see that the game was rushed and with a bit more time, it could have been damn good…alas, it has fallen to the same fate as most games based on films. When will they learn?
The game has a total of 9 chapters, the last one can actually be done in about 5 minutes…just to give you an idea of what to expect for the lacklustre finale. Each is linear and unremarkable; as are the few weapons you come across…they just seem to lack the firepower that you would expect from them. The classics like rocket launchers, grenade launchers and assault rifles…they just don’t seem nearly as powerful as they should be.

Visually, the game is incredibly weak. The levels look awful and the character models don’t fare too much better either. The load screen of the Terminator head is far too long, even when you just die (although that’s damn rare, unless you are playing on Hard) Cutscenes are also pretty bad to look at, it just looks and feels like it belongs in the last generation and not the current one.

The one and only positive thing about the game is the achievements. You can get the full 1000 points just by playing the game. There are a total of 11, you get 9 for the missions and 2 for doing the game on Medium and then Hard. But thanks to a little exploit, you can get those two just by doing the last mission on Hard with a second controller. If you are trying to get your gamerscore higher, then this is a fairly good game to do it in…even if it is painfully bad to play at times.

The Verdict

Terminator Salvation is a great example of a rushed game. It showed promise to begin with, but I think we all knew the end result. If it was a bit longer, it might have the value to be bought instead of rented…but ultimately, it’s a terrible game that not even Skynet would unleash upon us.