What do IGN, Eurogamer, Destructoid, VG247, Rock Paper Shotgun, and most other mainstream gaming sites have in common? They all said this game is terrible, and they are all full of it. Not that I gave any credibility to their reviews in a very long time, I'm just demonstrating a point. And that point is that the mainstream media has lost contact with the actual gaming community they no longer represent gamers, they represent twitter and progressive sensibilities.
And boy this game, was not made to pander to any sensibility. Even I was shocked at some of the things they actually put in the game. Probably the only reason it didn't get cancelled is that it is too small fry and remained under the radar. And the above mentioned idiots probably skipped all side missions if they even finished the game, so they didn't get to see the non PC conforming bits.
That said, what is the game like? Remember Terminator Future Shock or Skynet? Yeah the 1995 / 1996 Terminator FPS games developed by none other than Bethesda. I don't blame you if you don't, they are quite old and obscure games, but I loved them. The future war with the machines is the most ripe theme from the franchise for videogame adaptation, as it is virtually unsullied territory, well except for terminator salvation, but wisely the game, disregards every movie after Judgement Day as if they never happened. Proof that it was made by real terminator fans. But I digress, Resistance is Metro Exodus meets Future Shock.
You start off as a resistance soldier on the run whose whole unit was wiped out by an infiltrator, and stumble upon a ragtag group of survivors / scavengers. You help them and in turn they take you in and you go on the road together. If you played Metro Exodus this must sound familiar. I don't want to spoil the story, but it was far more enjoyable to me than Metro Exodus ever was. It's not an epic twisting masterpiece but it is good enough to keep you guessing what the right choices at each point are. Yes, there are several important choices you can make that will affect the tone of the ending if not the outcome.
Gameplay wise the game offers RPG elements like crafting, trading, inventory management, and skill upgrades. There are mini games for lockpicking and hacking. The lockpicking mini game is the good old well tested method, if it works don't change it, unless you are Kojima and you like to change things for the sake of it. The hacking minigame is one of the best I've seen. It's just challenging enough to keep you on your toes but not frustrate you. The concept is basically frogger but if it works it works.
Combat wise there is clear progression. First you only have regular firearms and only encounter weaker scout robots. But then when the first T800s and its derivatives start to appear you are forced to switch to stealth as regular weapons don't do anything against those. You can try your luck with crafted pipebombs, but you'll soon realize that skynet has more terminators than you pipebombs. Later you'll get plasma weapons that can actually kill terminators, but the stronger ones like the T825s are still easier snuck around than taken down. You can even stealth take down terminators using a consumable tool called termination knife. This is basically a regular knife with some electronics attached to it that fries the terminator when lodged into its neck from behind.
But probably the most rewarding thing in the game is hacking turrets and turning them on the enemies. Of course, first you need to sneak close enough to be able to hack them without being detected. But there is nothing more satisfying than watching your turret make minced metal? from half dozen terminators, while you just stand back and maybe do a few assist shots. Don't worry, the kills still counts to your XP even if the turret kills enemies.
If you thought terminators will be the biggest enemies you face, think again, there will by bigger fries too, and in total there are at least a dozen different enemy types. And it's not just this in the early game and that later, the good old friends keep appearing until the end of the game, even if by then you can basically one shot a T800.
But no game is without its faults and this is no exception. That said the issues are more balance related than technical. The game has surprisingly few bugs considering how small was the team that made it. I think I saw maybe 3 programmers and 5 testers in the credits? Either way it was the shortest credits list I saw in a long time. The crafting and trading in the game becomes redundant very quickly so crafting and trading material just becomes dead weight. For the first few levels it was life or death that I could craft new ammo or a few medkits, but later you get enough of everything that you can forget this part completely. There are several personal missions you can undertake for various characters, and these are blatantly marked in the conversation options, like they thought the player completely stupid. Or perhaps they anticipated journos, but they still haven't managed to do these "loyalty" missions.
Speaking of. Completing loyalty missions determine whether you can influence characters later in the game to do as you wish. If they don't trust you, they'll do as they please for better or worse. And there are romance options as well, which is also based on their trust level.
But circling back to the game's issues, one is that some of the characters have creepy unblinking eyes during some conversations. It's uncanny valley stuff. But otherwise, the characters look decent, certainly better than I'd expect from such a small studio. They seem to have paid extra attention to the potential LIs, because their models are quite attractive, none of this modern day feminist BS making characters deliberately ugly, just to spite men.
Before we start listing the pros and cons I have to touch on infiltrator mode, which is a bonus game mode where you can play as a terminator, this is a permadeath mode you need to complete it in one go. You have to collect intel on a medium sized open map to locate your target and then eliminate him. Easier said than done, the life of an infiltrator is not as easy as it seems, your health doesn't regen and repair kits are rare on the map. So there were a few times when I had to run steel tail between my robotic legs from those pesky humans to effect some repairs before trying their bunker again. It's a cool distraction and can be finished in about 45 minutes. Unless you fail on your first try.
Let's list the pros and cons
- Relatively good graphics
- Atmospheric maps
- Until you get OP purple plasma weapons encountering terminators can get very tense
- Great skill and gameplay progression
- True to the first two films and throws away the garbage
- Soundtrack is pretty good, with some original music and remixes from the movies
- Shooting is satisfying there is clear audible feedback on hits
- Decent storyline
- Choices matter
- Excellent hacking minigame
- As you learn more about the characters they become more likeable even those who seem like aholes at first
- Crafting and trading becomes redundant later in the game
- Creepy wide open NPC eyes
- Game gets easier for the second half, not harder
- Enemy AI is quite...robotic, but at least here that makes sense, you can say these are not the advanced units
- Time travel never makes sense, it's a self defeating paradox so you need extra suspension of disbelief
- Non character specific side missions only purpose is to get more XP and loot, there is no other benefit to doing them
- Maps are quite small, more like corridors with some semi open areas
Overall I really liked the game, it is much better than it has any right to be.
Overall impression: 8/10