Due out the first week in May, Terminator Salvation brings the apocalyptic science fiction series to the iPhone. Tying in with the movie released later in the month, Terminator Salvation promises intense third-person shooter action set in the epic war for humanity’s survival.
But don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of armament to fight the robotic armies of Skynet. During the demo, I put down a variety of T-800 Models with my assault rifle and annihilated several tanks with my anti-tank gun perched from the back of my all-terrain vehicle. Other weapons, including shotguns, grenade launchers, chainguns, and something called the “surge cannon” are also available through the course of the game.
Later, I guided Marcus through a decimated road on the back of a modified pick-up truck that reminded me of the Warthog from Halo. But unlike that iconic shooter, you guide both the vehicle and the back turret in Terminator Salvation. It proved more challenging than I thought as aiming the gun would also cause the truck to move in that direction. I constantly was flying into the sides while enemy tanks took pot shots at me. Thankfully, the game was set to a forgiving difficulty level, as I didn’t die despite possessing the driving skills of a pimple-faced sixteen year old steering a zamboni. While fun (and challenging) to complete this level, only until I faced “The Harvester” boss at the end of the level did I really feel at home. Control of the truck was thankfully given to the allied AI, leaving you to shoot at the approaching walking death robot’s weak points.
As you work your way through the game’s story, you’ll encounter microchips dropped by defeated enemies. These unlock content for the game, increasing the replayability and depth of the game. Gameloft plans on pricing the game on the premium end of the spectrum, likely $8 or above, and the visuals speak to the game’s high budget. Still, we’re not paying for an animated trailer, so hopefully the gameplay is deserving of the price and the Terminator name.
Few games have been able to integrate action/combat controls intuitively with the iPhone’s unique motion sensor and touch screen capabilities. Terminator Salvation is a title to watch because it’s attempting to balance an already gripping story with stunning graphics and a third-person shooter interface. Whether it’s destined for termination or salvation remains to be seen.
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