Terminator Salvation (you are allowed to make the powerful Terminator theme song drum noise in your head while reading that title) the game that is a prequel to the movie with the same title. Let us just clear one thing first, I love the Terminator movies, I loved the TV series and I adore the setting, the story and the whole thing about a supercomputer that’s hellbent on fucking the entire human population over with mechanic killing robots that have scary metal skeleton faces and red glowing eyes! In theory this setting should translate into a fantastic game!
Well it doesn’t, so if you are disappointed already just go play Fallout 3, it’s the same type of setting and a million times better game! Salvation fails at so many points. Firstly it looks like a PlayStation 2 game in HD, the environments are tiny, the character models are terrible and the animation is basic. The worst is the presentation, the game just jumps over explaining things and has a horrible way of clipping back and forwards between gameplay and cutscenes that simply feel as cheap and as dirty as….hmmm….cheap as a dirty low budget game in your local stores “bargain” bin…which it is!
The core gaming mechanic and shooting isn’t so bad however, and it tries to be a sort of Gears of War type of game with third person shooting with heavy depending on covering and flanking. There are too few but quite different types of robot enemies that require some skill and good shooting to get past. At times you will actually have fun and feel the intense battle when a Terminator is walking towards you.
But it is all over so fast, the battles are always set on sort of “stages”, in other words you know it will be happening and the whole sense of bad quality hangs over the whole game. The atmosphere of creepiness that was in the movies is totally abscent. It feels like you are fighting in a badly textured world full of retarded Terminators that were abandoned by Skynet for their stupidity.
What can I say? Avoid this game? Yeah, the only positive side it’s easy on hard and 4 hours short for 1000/1000 achievement points. I heard it can be fun in local coop, but have not tried this yet.
Blacksite Area 51
The game is a FPS and plays rather well. The guns could have felt a little heavier and more powerful but it works fine. The environments are big and varied. Ranging from deserts, cities, smalltown America and laboratories. It’s all powered by the Unreal Engine 3, so it looks good. There are many different types of enemies and you even have a sort of commander option letting you give orders to you fellow soldiers in your team.
All in all it’s a rather enjoyable game, not very long but it’s a fun ride straight through. It’s one of those games you easily forget a year later, but feels good when playing it. It could have done with being a little creepy actually, would have made it stand out more. Worth a shot if you have run out of FPS games and want something at a low price!
Halo 3 ODST
Last of the bunch is Halo 3: ODST! Finally a game that’s far from low-budget! Not being a fan of Halo 1 and 2 after coop playthoughs on the old Xbox, I played through Halo 3 last year and really enjoyed it. Somehow Bungie’s sci-fi world grew into something fantastic and varied on the Xbox 360 in my opinion. I found ODST the other week really cheap at a store and decided to play through. Unlike the previous Halo’s this game is actually best played alone for the singleplayer as it’s much more atmospheric and requires you to get that sense of being alone.
You are a stranded dropship ODST soldier in a futuristic city investigating what has happened to your fellow soldiers and each time you find a clue you play from their point of view in different parts and times in the city. The setting and the way they present the story and game worlds is fantastic and though the Halo 3 engine is getting old the game really shines with its sci-fi environments and large areas to explore. Some of battles are huge and really epic. I also love that dropships and other enormous vehicles actually are vulnerable to be shot at or destroyed!
The game plays exactly like Halo 3, however you do not have regenerating health like Master Chief when being a ODST. So you’ll have to find health packs like the good old FPS games. The game is rather lengthy for a sort of add-on pack game and will challenge most Halo players. I’m guessing the harder settings can be awesome in coop later on.
I loved the dark atmosphere, the loneliness and the variation in settings, so I would recommend ODST to everybody. That is of course if you enjoy sci-fi and have played Halo 3 first!
That will be all for now, I'm off for my summer holidays, so until next time: Play nice! :)
(This article was first published on Thursday, July 01, 2010 on my original IGN blog.)