Probably the most interesting thing about the Terminator movies was the idea of an unstoppable killing machine being dropped in our time and rampaging through innocents in order to kill one highly important target. Recently, there has been a push in the movies to go forward in time, when Skynet has already taken over the world and fielded its army of robots against the last remnants of humanity. There is a problem inherent in this setting; it dramatically reduces the lethality of the Terminator. In this setting, the horrifying killing machine that single-handedly murders an entire police station in the first movie becomes a simple foot soldier that you shoot in the head and it falls over.
Terminator Genisys: Revolution is set in this Skynet-dominated future. You play as a soldier of the resistance, and your primary goal is to kill terminators. Killing terminators, as it turns out, is not that hard. All you really know how to do is squeeze the trigger of a gun until they blast apart into a million pieces. There are a few cool RPG-like elements in the game that twist the formula of the run-and-gun nature of play. Most of it has to do with weapon-customization. Each mission you complete leaves you with a bit of loot to spend on your guns, and certain missions actually require that you upgrade your stuff before heading in. While collecting money and adding bells and whistles to your firearms can be slightly addicting, there is a sense that this game really doesn’t need the Terminator license attached to it at all.
When it comes right down to it, there isn’t anything particularly Terminator about the game. Sure, they are there, but they are kind of like zombies or orcs. They’ve lost the mystique and have become some kind of stock villain that only seem to zerg-rush and get killed in literal droves. The bigger enemies like Hunter-Killers and gun turrets prove a little bit more of a threat, as they can blast away your cover and expose you to enemy fire, but they aren’t that much of a problem if you know how to utilize your explosives or prioritize your killing.
The way that you move through the game isn’t particularly inspired, either. You pick from battle zones on a map and you go in and get the monorail run-and-gun treatment. Think of the arcade game with the plastic gun controllers that you played at the movie theater in the late nineties. Your character moves automatically, settles behind some cover, you shoot everything in sight and then when you’re done killing everything, the character moves to another bit of cover and you repeat what you did before.
This kind of gameplay wouldn’t be so bad if it were occasionally broken by something, perhaps anything, else. But the lack of variety and the monotony of the game cause it go stale quickly. Even pouring money into your guns to make them shoot faster or reload quicker is not enough to vary the content.
With such a bland play-style, it becomes very obvious that the game is banking on the novelty of the setting and license to get you to keep playing. However, the Terminator I know is set in the eighties or nineties, before the Skynet takeover with the Terminator disguised as a person and a human populace that is totally unprepared to deal with it. Again, it’s this rather simple premise that made the series such a unique science-fiction story. Take away all of that, and the game becomes a generic science-fiction shooting gallery that gets tiring very fast.
While there is some fun to be had here, it gets boring very fast and doesn’t take any risks.