While Terminator Salvation may just appear to be another movie-based game, it is in fact much more than that. With Terminator Salvation, Gameloft has brought yet another great gaming experience to the app store. It offers a fantastic combination of graphics, gameplay, and just overall fun! As icing on the cake, the controls are very well thought out and do not take away from the experience of this third-person shooter. The graphics are not the best I have seen, but they are very, very good by app store standards.
Terminator Salvation is comprised of 8 missions and includes a total of between 2-3 hours of gameplay. That being said, there are also three levels of difficulty, and the third (hardest) level of difficulty is locked until you beat the game once. The graphics engine reminds me of Brothers-in-Arms, but I enjoyed the overall experience much more. Both games are good, but I found the refreshing mix of gameplay and storyline in Terminator Salvation made a big difference in my overall gaming experience. It is a game that is fun to play while it is also fun to watch the storyline unfold. Of course, I have a slight bias as a terminator fan, but I also have a lot of quality iPhone games and have found myself playing Terminator Salvation more than most.
UPDATE: I have finished Terminator Salvation on normal and extreme (playing as a terminator), and my total play time was 1:56:48. I would still recommend this game as a buy, but I wanted to add the total play time for me was 90 minutes for the first round and much less for the second. If you play through once, expect about an hour and a half of gameplay.
Good Third-Person Shooter Controls: iDevices have seen far too many decent third-person shooters that end up failing due to poor controls. Terminator Salvation is not one of these games by any means. I was able to learn and effectively use the controls in a matter of minutes, and I never looked back. Gameloft also gives the player four different control schemes just to make sure you can find one that works well for you.
Enjoyable Storyline: As a long-time terminator fan, I enjoyed the storyline that progresses through the game. I also enjoyed the characters that I was able to play through the game.
Variety of Weapons: I always find shooters more fun when I get a chance to use different types of weapons. If you are the same way, Terminator Salvation will not disappoint.
Shorter Game than I had Hoped For: While 2-3 hours of gameplay is not bad for a pick-up-and-play device, it is also not very good. To play devil’s advocate, the game is more fun than most for that time, and you can play through more than one difficulty. I started playing easy, and then I moved on to the next difficulty. I have yet to play hard. However, if you are not the kind of person that can replay a game just because it was fun, then expect about 2-3 hours of gameplay.
Can’t Turn off Hints: In Assassin’s Creed (another great game by Gameloft), you are able to turn off the green arrow’s (hints) that tell you which direction to go. I could not find such a section in the options menu for Terminator Salvation. While this is a very minor complaint, I personally find the green arrow’s distracting.
To sum up this review, I would say that Terminator Salvation exceeded my expectations. I was looking for a game with a good storyline for terminator fans, and I found much more than that. The controls, graphics, gameplay, and storyline are all well-done and polished. While $9.99 is on the high-end for app store games, I would recommend this title for either third-person shooter or terminator fans. For casual gamers, if you have the money, go for it! This is the first third-person shooter I have played on the app store that didn’t frustrate me at all. I had tons of fun, and I trust you will have a similar experience.