Developer: GRIN (“Wanted: Weapons of Fate”)
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
One of the most frequent complaints serious gamers have about movie-inspired games is that they’re often low-rent versions of games that already exist. The “Ghost Rider” game was a bad “God of War” clone, “The Godfather” tried and failed to be “Grand Theft Auto,” and “Fight Club” was a terrible rip-off of “Tekken,” “Mortal Kombat,” and every other good 2D fighter.
Add “Terminator Salvation” to the list—it’s nothing but a poor man’s “Gears of War.” Maybe now we know why confessed “Halo” addict Christian Bale, who plays John Connor in the film, isn’t also playing him in this game.
Intended to be a prequel to the movie of the same name, “Terminator” is a sci-fi cover-based third-person shooter that plays exactly like “Gears.” And we do mean exactly. The controls are virtually identical, right down to letting you look at something more closely by hitting Y or the triangle button.
Of course “Terminator” has none of the refinements made for “Gears 2,” and not even all the functionality. Try the roadie run or evasive dive you’d normally do with the A button (X for your PS3 people) and you won’t just be sorry…you’ll be dead. As a result, “Terminator” is like an early version of “Gears,” before any of the mechanics were finished or polished.
Oddly, the game’s cover system doesn’t even work as well as the one in “Wanted: Weapons of Fate,” which was released by the same developer only a few months ago. In “Terminator,” getting into cover is smooth and moving from cover spot to cover spot is OK, but getting out is a bit trickier, and doesn’t always work right. And don’t expect any of the better gameplay ideas from “Wanted,” like being able to shoot people from one area of cover, then moving to another to take them out while they’re distracted.
The “Terminator” saga is a rich and interesting one, and it’s a welcome idea for the game to set up instead of rehash the new movie’s plot. You might be curious (as we were) about the game’s story, especially since it’s set in the post-apocalyptic wreckage after Judgment Day. But it’s not worth suffering through a bad game to see it.
Bottom line: You’ll be sorry that they’re back.
'Terminator Salvation' video game review
Deadly robots go all ‘Gears of War’ in this new shooter
By Paul SemelSpecial to Metromix
May 20, 2009