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Game Review: Terminator: Salvation (Playstation3)
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Terminator Salvation Playstation 3Terminator: Salvation
Genre: Action/Shooter
Rating: T for Teen
Platform: Playstation3
Platform: Evolved Games
Publisher: Warner Bros.

As I like to do with just about everything I review, I’m going to open this review up with some full disclosure. I feel it allows you, the reader, to understand more fully where I, the reviewer, am coming from.

Ah, the Terminator franchise. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it for as long as I can remember. Like pretty much everyone else, I thought the first film was amazing. The premise, the violence, the effects”¦ it all just worked. Then came T2, which pushed the effects envelope even further, turned the story on its ear by making the bad guy from the first film the good guy, and giving Hollywood a much needed badass female lead. But it had Edward Furlong and some goofy moments that kept it from being the classic I thought it could have been. T3 was such a mockery of the first 2 that I pretty much swore the franchise off. And then when McG (god it pains me to even type that as his “˜name’) came on board for Terminator: Salvation, I knew all hope was lost. In a nutshell, I think the franchise had a brilliant premise the collapses under the weight of the time-travel paradox, suffers from being a parody of itself at times, and can’t find the right fit to bring it to the glory it deserves.

All of that being said, I think The Terminator is the absolute PERFECT fit for a kick ass, thrill ride of a sci-fi game. There are so many ways it could go”¦ First Person Shooter, Role Playing, Real-Time Strategy, open sandbox style ala Grand Theft Auto.

Unfortunately, the potential of this franchise is once again left behind.

Terminator: Salvation is a 3rd person-style action/adventure game in which you play John Connor, future leader of the resistance against the machines and more often than not the target of said machines. It’s a game hinged on a run to cover, pop out and shoot mechanic that, simply put, is boring.

Ok, ok”¦ I’ll just come out and say it. This game desperately wants to be Gear of War, but it falls about as flat as humanly (or machinely) possible.

There are so many problems with this game I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the story. Gamers are no longer satiated by so-called “˜Next Gen’ graphics. Every damn development house in the world can make a game look amazing on a system like the PS3. No, we need story. We need drama. We need characters. We need everything that makes a movie great to be present in our games as well. That’s why Gears of War works. That’s why Halo works. Story, drama, characters”¦ It’s a simple formula that Terminator: Salvation completely ignores.

The story never adds anything new to the Terminator mythos. John Connor has no personality. Machines want him dead. He tries to blow them up. There are no characters in this game that I gave a shit about”¦ ever. People die left and right, and even the in-game characters don’t give a shit.

There’s no drama. Sure, John disobeys orders and goes after some fellow soldiers who are pinned down. But who cares? I didn’t. Sure, there are constantly machines popping up trying to kill you. But I never felt like this was a doomsday scenario. There’s no passion to any of it.

As for the characters, the John Connor in this game has as much charisma as the emotionless endo-skelton Terminators. I kept waiting for something to happen to ignite Connor as a passionate leader, but it never came. He was just monotone, boring John Connor. The way this game is, you’d think the only reason people ended up following him was because there was nobody left. I just never cared.

As for the gameplay, like I said, this thing desperately wants to be Gears of War. It relies on the system of moving from cover point cover point. But it never works as well as it does in Gears. The movements are too slow. The gunplay is too weak. The enemies are too repetitive. Here’s a typical scenario from the game. John has to move along cover, popping out and shooting down these obnoxious little drones. Every 3rd or 4th cover point you reach causes another load screen. This game has load screens (what feels like) every 30 seconds to a minute. It’s infuriating. Finally you reach a point where there’s an HK (Hunter Killer). There’s infinite amounts of ammo lying around and you’re in a closed in area with cover you can dart behind. Drones come flying in and you shoot them down. Then you have to fire on the HK until it flies off and send in more drones. Kill the drones, the HK comes back. Shoot it and it flies off. More drones. Etc. Etc. Etc. See what I’m getting at? It’s BORING. And that is the cast majority of the gameplay we’re given. Oh sure, they try to break it up with some driving sequences in which John is the gunner on top of the truck. But again, the drama and storytelling is missing to make these sequences feel immediate and intense and fun.

My other major problem with the game is the fact that, on several occasion, it locked up and froze. At first I didn’t really notice because I figured it was just another in the unending string of load screens. But then, after it took even longer than usual, I realized what was going on. Now the disc looks fine and I haven’t had problems with any of the other games I’ve been playing on my PS3, so I have to believe it’s just another flaw in the game.

Look, let’s be honest with each other. We all know that shitty games are rushed out to coincide with movies. It happens all year long. The time is never taken to make the game GOOD. It just needs to get out on shelves because, apparently we’re all a bunch of morons that will simply buy a game because it’s based on a movie. But with a franchise so RIPE for brilliant storytelling and compelling gameplay, I just wish they would have taken the time to do this one right.

Instead, I’m left with another disappointment from a franchise that is so poorly handled it literally makes me sad.

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