Terminator Salvation

There's hardly a game on PS3 with a more terrible reputation than Terminator Salvation. Known for its easy platinum, many have ignored its rubbish gameplay in pursuit of trophies. This reviewer joined that number in a recent trophy collection event for charity (an honest excuse, the reviewer hopes). Every rumour surrounding the game is true. The platinum is indeed ridiculously easy, and the game is absolutely awful. But what exactly went wrong in this game set in a universe with such potential? It's well known that games starting life in other media forms are often bad, though in recent times some games have managed to go against the theory, with Knights of the Old Republic and Arkham Asylum showing what can really be done with the Star Wars and Batman universes. Salvation, ironically, returns to the stereotype of atrocious tie-ins, and many speculate that this is the reason for the trophy list that literally sprinkles you with golds for each chapter completion before presenting you the platinum for nothing more than completing the game on hard.


In Terminator, the story features John Connor getting into some fights with Terminators, and then heading back to ensure no man is left behind, defying orders from his superiors. The idea is reasonably sound, but the implementation is far from it. For a start, there are very few types of enemy, and the supposedly scary skin-on Terminators are about as convincing as the game's voice acting. The first encounter with these stealthless muppets involves a Terminator roughly 60 feet away, walking more robotically than the game's humans, carting a massive gun, easily seven feet tall. The cast, laughably, are shocked when they realize they're facing a machine, while any player of the game will have already ducked for cover. As the mechanical morons march mercilessly forwards, you discover that cover isn't all you hoped it would be, thanks to the Swish of Doom, as it shall forever be called. The Swish of Doom makes sense in close quarter, with the Terminator batting your character across the head with a heavy mechanical arm. However, there are numerous spots in the game where the Swish of Doom can be applied from more than ten meters away, with no attempt made to justify the non-existent physics behind it. It'd be frustrating if it weren't so daftly funny.

It's not even possible to say that the game is solidly average, thanks to several other horrible technical glitches that occur throughout. For instance, you can be walking through exposed areas on open ground, with the characters debating the game's simple plot, only to hear their voices with cave-immitating echoes enforced, as your character's voices apparently reverberate off invisible walls. It's a bizarre glitch to have got past quality testing, particularly with the frequency is appears, leading most gamers to assume that nobody working on the game had time to try it out before release, perhaps due to extreme studio or budget pressures. It would be unfair to highlight only the bad points, even when they are so wholeheartedly deserved, so it's worth noting that there are some basic elements that work well enough. Firstly, the shooting mechanics are basic, but not awful, with most of the shooting gameplay feeling reasonably natural. Interaction with edges (particularly near cover) isn't always that great, but on the whole things are solid, with a bit of variety including rockets, grenades, shotguns and assault rifles keeping things interesting. There are also levels not entirely based on standard third-person shooting for progression. On occasion, you'll be placed in a vehicle, bring destruction to everything in the near vicinity. This ranges from low-powered machine guns on the backs of trucks through to powerful rockets when you take control of a certain Skynet machine. It keeps the pacing reasonably balanced and varied, which is surprising for a game that fails in so many other areas.


Visually, it's probably not worth going into too much more detail, since the developers clearly didn't either, so let's gloss over that with a simple summary: brown, grey, brown. That said, the loading screen, an interactive (you can rotate it) Terminator head, is quite detailed, and one of the levels has some green bits in. The audio is similarly bland, with the exception of the occasional theme from the films, which completely humiliate the other soundtrack elements in the game. The voice acting isn't the worst ever heard in a game, but that echo effect applied certainly is, while the other general sound effects are solid at best.

In summary, play this if you must, and we shouldn't be too hard on the developers who were obviously given no time or money to generate a decent game. It is a title made infamous by its easy platinum, and one that will make many gamers hate it. There are moments where the game performs averagely, but on the whole, this is a film tie-in that will make no attempt to meet any expectation of greatness that the classic films might generate. In a world where you can purchase this or Uncharted 2 for the same money, there really is no contest.

Game details

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Equity, Evolved











Review summary


Co-op helps, but overall it's pretty bad


Terrible bland textures, but good T-600s


Rubbish, rubbish voice work and effects


Shorter than a short thing with no replay value


Cosmic Dust

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