There’s an enigmatic charm to Terminator: Resistance that has left me very unsure as to what I even think about it. On one hand, it’s a bland shooter with copy-paste RPG mechanics and one too many repeated environments. On the other, it’s a fun little shooter with a world that feels oppressive enough to actually work in-universe. I was hoping that maybe Terminator: Resistance Annihilation Line would make up my mind for me - it didn’t.
Taking place directly in the middle of the game, you play as Jacob during the time when the team are studying the scary new infiltrator model. You are momentarily sent into a dreamlike rendition of Jacob’s past and, most importantly, his psyche. This is a needed start to the DLC, both throwing you straight into the action and showing you a little of his past. Jacob’s search for a father figure and fear of losing those around him shine through - setting early conflicts you must explore over the handful of hours Annihilation Line lasts.
“I can’t help but feel that if Annihilation Line doesn’t work for you, it just isn’t made for you”
After you wake up, you find out that John Connor has requested a backup in the Annihilation Line - an area already taken by the machines. You fight alongside Kyle Reese, Ferro and Evans to find out why it’s so important you help out. Due to the limitations of fitting around the original story from 2019, the revelations made throughout the DLC aren’t so ground shattering as to majorly affect it but the story is interesting enough to keep you going.
I can’t help but feel that if Annihilation Line doesn’t work for you, it just isn’t made for you. I felt almost alienated by how much fan service was shoved into every pour of this DLC but that need often leaves it feeling a little more hollow as you go. I enjoy the sheer volume of easter eggs but also felt a little manipulated by the whole affair.
Luckily, the pacing of Annihilation Line is so fast that you rarely have time to actually catch your breath. It takes the “small open environments” structure set by the base game and cranks it up, with more enemies, tonnes of things to blow up, and a handful of interesting side stories. It will generally take a few hours to get through and almost every minute is spent blasting. It’s not particularly poetic and insightful in those moments but it can occasionally feel pretty good.
“Although the environments sometimes repeat themselves, there’s a nihilistic murkiness to everything that just nails the right balance between ‘everything is hopeless’ and ‘boy do Terminators look cool’”
Terminator and, by extension, terminator games encapsulate the difference between my more analytical mind and the child that sits at my core. When you detach yourself from what it is Terminator: Resistance Annihilation Line is actually offering, it comes across a little like it’s pandering to its audience. Terminator: Resistance’s performance, graphics, and gameplay don’t help it either. This being said, when I hide under a car, waiting to get the perfect shot of a T-600, I can’t help but feel a little giddy.
This is helped majorly by the general atmosphere of Annihilation Line. Although the environments sometimes repeat themselves, there’s a nihilistic murkiness to everything that just nails the right balance between “everything is hopeless” and “boy do Terminators look cool”
For the most part, the AI is pretty weak, making me prone to peeking from cover or running away for a breather. Although this gets in the way of the fear the story tries to portray, it adds a certain fun to the world. Ultimately, this will always be the struggle when making a Terminator game - should you make it brutal and tough or should you make it fun? Terminator: Resistance fits somewhere in between and never really appeased either camp. Annihilation Line follows lockstep behind it.
I tried Terminator: Resistance Annihilation Line on two central devices: My laptop with a Ryzen 7 5800h and an RTX 3060 and my Desktop with a Ryzen 5 3600 and a GTX 1660 Super. Somehow, despite the game not looking very great, the performance was very inconsistent. It would move from smooth to choppy in seconds without any real reason why. It’s not so noticeable as to entirely take you out of the experience but certainly noteworthy with the specs on display.
Terminator: Resistance’s performance just doesn’t make much sense to me. It often compares graphically to a game from 2014 and doesn’t come with any of the performance increase that one might expect to come alongside that. Textures are often blurry and undefined, physics feel weighty and lighting isn’t particularly impressive. Terminator Resistance is certainly a playable game but doesn’t run as well as you might expect.
Terminator: Resistance Annihilation Line comes with some basic options like subtitles and gamma settings but provides nothing more than that to fans who may need it. It seems that any option that could make the game a little more accessible is done through game tradition and not the want to actually provide a more accessible experience.
Not even a colourblind mode can be found tucked away in the video options. This is a shame but Annihilation Line’s very grey aesthetic may already be too much for some.
TERMINATOR: RESISTANCE ANNIHILATION LINE VERDICT
Terminator: Resistance Annihilation Line is a worthy addition to the base game if you enjoyed your time there but it doesn’t do enough to fix its many flaws. While the story is rewarding and atmosphere creepy, there’s something just a little cynical about the whole thing.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Finding your first T-600 and hiding under a car to get a good snapshot.
Atmosphere can be enthralling
Story is a treat for long-term fans
Gameplay is still mediocre
Some environments left feeling barren
Callbacks can feel a little cynical
Could do more to add to the base game
About James Bentley
Lover of all things weird, indie and RPG. Will talk your ear off about Dark Souls