Now playing – Terminator: Resistance

Well, that was unexpected. In no way am I going to toot the flute for Terminator: Resistance as a game of true quality, and I’d struggle to defend it against many of the issues raised by its (many) detractors, but the fact of the matter is: I just played through the whole game, start to finish, and the additional Infiltrator mode, got a platinum trophy for my efforts and – most importantly of all – enjoyed it.

It’s the most 6/10 game ever made, of course. Resistance is a lesson in how to do things absolutely adequately without actually stepping out of any comfort zones. If the game’s file name in Unreal Engine was ‘FPS template’ I wouldn’t be surprised. If it had tried to surprise me at all in its couple-dozen hour runtime, I would have… well, I would have been surprised. I was not surprised by the game. I was not surprised by what I did, by where I went, by anything surrounding the actual moment-to-moment mechanics.

I was, however, surprised by the atmosphere. The feel. The clear passion Polish developer Teyon has for the Terminator franchise is evident throughout the game, from picking up Phased Plasma Rifles (“Hey, just what you see, pal”) through the song playing on the stereo you find as part of a side mission, into the soundtrack as a whole – it screams Terminator, and anyone with a mild obsession with the first two films of this franchise that definitely only includes two films (and one TV series) will be spoiled.

Because, see, we’re starved for Terminator games that do what they should do: be more like Bethesda’s DOS Terminator games from the early-mid-nineties. Resistance isn’t as good as those classics, but it does a half-decent impression, and when you’ve no other options, a half-decent impression is good enough. A few drops of tepid water will taste like the nectar of the gods if you’re thirsty enough, after all.

And I think, of everything I enjoyed with Terminator: Resistance, that’s the biggest factor – it doesn’t feel cynical. Even though it was a licensed tie-in made to release in conjunction with Terminator: Dark Fate, the most forgettable angry-robots-fighting movie ever made, it still has a charming honesty to its presentation.

And while I’m extrapolating as I write, that charm and lack of cynicism probably comes from the fact that while it is a licensed tie-in with a movie out around the same time, it doesn’t actually factor that movie in at all, instead focusing firmly on the first two films in the franchise. Which of course it would, because, as I mentioned, there are no other films in said franchise, not even the one I talked about in the previous paragraph.