Terminator: Resistance felt like a game released out of time. In a reversal of the time travel shenanigans that form the central plot of the film series, the game was a throwback to the days of the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation – a single player licensed game with no monetisation or games as a service aspects. While it didn’t exactly blow critics away, it has garnered a pretty large cult following due to offering an oddly nostalgic experience and, more importantly, feeling like a real love letter to the Terminator franchise.
Having been recently tidied up for a PS5 re-release, Terminator: Resistance has been able to reach a new audience and developer Teyon has seen fit to bring out a whole new DLC campaign to entice previous players back to check out the shiny new features.
There is a long tradition of Terminator games going right back to the home computersof the early 90s. Unfortunately, aside from some simple arcade fun most of these have been disappointments, with the likes of Terminator 3 and Terminator: Salvation providing games as underwhelming as the films on which they were based. Resistance stood out from the games that preceded it by having a genuine sense of heart (although the less said about the sex scenes the better). Most striking of all was the magnificent final level that saw an assault on Skynet’s base set to the fantastic original Brad Fiedel score. Fighting off hordes of Terminators whilst that iconic synth track was playing was one of my most memorable gaming moments of 2019.
For those of you who haven’t played the original game (or who have forgotten they played it), Resistance is an FPS game with adventure style missions in semi-open world environments. Exploring the levels often results in side missions that offer more XP and equipment as well as providing extra lore and character interactions. The RPG aspects work pretty well, with different specialisation paths whether you want to go in all guns blazing or take a more sneaky approach. The basics of the gameplay are pretty generic but they fit the setting well and offer up enough options for customisation and loot to keep things interesting.
Graphically, things do look much sharper than the original release. I played Resistance on PS4 back in 2019 whilst I fired up the DLC campaign on PC. At first I was surprised that it looked very similar, just with a better framerate and faster loading times. Looking through the video options revealed that a film grain was applied by default. This does fit the 1980s vibe but also detracts from the work Teyon have done to smooth the visuals. After checking out the environments and lighting I chose to put the grain back on as it was a nice nod to the VHS era when I first watched the films (although it’s not as strong an effect as that makes it sound). Character models are functional but are perhaps the clearest sign of the lower budget of this game compared to it’s AAA competitors. Fortunately, most of the time you don’t need to look at the fellow humans so this only really becomes an issue during the conversations between missions. Terminators and machines are well designed and look like they’ve come straight out of the future sequences in the films.
The DLC campaign, Annihilation Line is set roughly halfway through the main game, but is accessible as a stand-alone option on the menu, thankfully meaning you don’t need to have a save game file from the right point, just in case you’re on a new platform. It does, however, have some nice ties to the wider lore of the series as you are sent on a secret mission across the dreaded Annihilation Line under the command of Kyle Reese in order to rescue the inhabitants of a colony that has gone radio silent. This seemingly routine mission soon becomes more complicated and more personal for both Jacob Rivers and his newfound team. While the narrative isn’t going to win any awards it does manage a few surprisingly emotional moments.
The core gameplay here is identical to the main game, with the only exception being that there are none of the super high-power plasma guns available here. This suits the timeline of the main game, but did lead to me wasting an upgrade point on unlocking the ability to use them. This small oversight is a microcosm of the links between the two campaigns though. In simply moving the entire skill tree across, there are several options that are completely unnecessary and it’s a shame that a DLC-specific skill tree wasn’t put in. Some of the story points are also predictable, given the involvement of characters who have parts to play later in the main game, though there is still time for some tragic turns.
While most of the DLC is simply extra content of the exact same kind as the main game, the new campgin opening features one of my pet hates: an instant death stealth section. You play as a young Jacob Rivers having a nightmare about one of his first encounters with the titular death machines. While this plays a part in the wider narrative, it’s an annoying way to begin the campaign. Fortunately this is pretty short and not overly difficult. It could, though, probably have just been a cutscene. The final parts of the DLC don’t quite live up the awesome conclusion of the main game, but the ultimate boss fight is good and features a lovely callback to the old Terminator 2 Arcade Game from the Mega Drive.