It was October 26, 1984 when what would become one of the most iconic and influential science fiction films in the history of cinema was released in the United States: Terminator. The starring film Arnold Schwarzenegger he wrote history on October 26, 1984, leaving an indelible mark on world cinema. Since then, as often happens in these cases, what should have been a perfect self-closing film turned into a saga. A second successful chapter came out in 1991, namely 2 Terminator: Judgment Day, then other films including less fortunate sequels and various failed reboot attempts. However, the Terminator saga did not stop at the cinema and on the contrary, it tried to have its say in other media as well, such as TV, literature, comics but above all video games, unfortunately failing in almost every attempt. Especially in the videogame field, apart T2: Terminator 2: Judgment Day for 16-bit consoles, every title released since 1984 has proved to be a colossal fiasco. Only Terminator: Salvation (tie-in of the film of the same name) managed to stand out from the others, and not for the intrinsic quality of the product but for its Platinum practically given, which made it almost a cult object among trophy / objective hunters. We arrive at 2019, the year of release of the Terminator: Resistance considered today. Will he have managed to rise above the mediocre videogame past that lies behind him in spite of himself?
We start badly
The first impact with Terminator: Resistance is downright terrible. During the very first movie, you realize you are playing a title that technically it seems to be at least ten years behind. With all due respect to the titles released ten years ago. We see a Terminator lift a surviving human from the ground who is then killed by the machine created by Skynet with his plasma weapon. No drops of blood, no visible wounds on the poor victim's body. This is the business card of the signed title Teyon (yes, those of Rambo: The Video Game). And going forward, the situation does not improve at all.
Apart from the textures that, approaching them, would give any game designer a heart attack, the video game is full of bug e tragicomic situations. Shooting one of the rats that you will find in the uninspired game maps will mean seeing the rodent disappear into thin air, replaced by an explosion of blood in low resolution. On a technical level, the video game was released in stores in a truly pitiful state, and one wonders if this is due to the rush to release the title in conjunction with the film Terminator: Dark Destiny (which, however, ignores the events narrated), or due to the inability of the development team. Probably both.
The story is in your hands… maybe
Terminator: Resistance takes place thirty years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The player is called to check Jacob Rivers, a member of the Resistance who for a mysterious reason ended up on the Skynet blacklist as a serious threat to the war between humans and machines. The narrative of Terminator: Resistance is perhaps one of the few positive points of the title. Of course, we're not talking about a groundbreaking, exciting and twist-rich storyline, but it lets itself be followed quite well. The real flaw is that the player is given the opportunity to interact with the other characters in the game and have multiple choices in the dialogues.
Why defect? Because these multiple choices will always turn into trivial "Yes, I'll take care of it" or "No, I don't think about it". Either champion of justice or patented selfish, there is no middle ground. In addition to this, the choices you will make along the flow of game events will not affect the narrative too much, indeed. The story follows clear and predefined tracks which do not allow the player to intervene in a really decisive way. Apart from some changes related to the relationships established with the other survivors, the plot of the game only gives the illusion of taking our actions into consideration. Not even the aforementioned survivors affect, one more stereotyped than the other and with easily forgotten narrative backgrounds.
It applies, but it just fails
The really sad thing about the video game examined here is that Teyon's guys seem to have tried at least a little. The step forward compared to the video game dedicated to Rambo is evident (not that it took much, doing worse was a feat) and this can be seen from the various game mechanics present. The character can level and this will allow us to obtain skill points that will be used to improve Jacob's talents, such as his skill in hacking and burglary. Speaking of these two, in the first case it is a very simple and trivial game even when the hacking difficulty will be very high. If in real life it were that simple to hack a device, there would probably be no internet in the world anymore. Skynet should seriously review its virtual defensive lines. As for the burglary, the system is identical to what was seen in Fallout and Skyrim, neither more nor less. Plagiarism is so shameless that one almost smiles at the tenderness of it. There is also a system for upgrading weapons (only plasma ones) through three chips that must be connected in a specific way. However, these upgrades will not be felt much while playing, and the cause of this is the very low difficulty of the title even at the highest difficulties. Whether or not to use the power-ups will not affect that much as the enemies will fall like pins in front of you regardless. For this the shooting phases leave something to be desired, and in a FPS it is quite serious. You can collect materials to craft items, but the latter are easily found by enemies and in explorable areas so it is almost useless.
In addition to the main missions there will also be secondary missions that in some cases will deepen the relationship with the character who has asked us to carry out a certain task. Too bad that all the missions, main and secondary, are limited to a simple "go from point A to point B" without any kind of inventiveness, and the longevity in this certainly does not help (five hours for the main adventure, to do all about ten hours). As you may have guessed, Terminator: Resistance it's packed with mechanics but none of them are really in-depth and / or cleverly exploited. The linear level design of the game maps (which are only apparently very large) from this point of view limits the gameplay even more. You know the phrase “It has the potential but it doesn't apply”? Well, the opposite is true for Teyon's boys.
The funniest, but also the most dramatic, thing about this whole thing is that Terminator: Resistance despite everything is one of the most successful titles dedicated to the Terminator saga. This says a lot about the state of health of the saga at a videogame level, because Resistance is an embarrassing title in many respects, especially the technical one. If it had come out a decade ago (or even fifteen), it probably would have made a better impression and had more dignity, but in 2019 such a title is simply unacceptable. This coupled with the commercial flop of the movie Terminator: Dark Destiny leads us to one sad conclusion: the day of judgment has come, yes, but for the Terminator saga. This franchise tried to move forward after the second cinematic chapter, but failed every time, and failed in all of its incarnations outside of cinema as well. For the saga created by James Cameron it is time to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, and in some respects it is better this way.