Terminator Salvation is a third-person shooter action video game, released on May 19, 2009 to coincide with the release of the film of Terminator Salvation on the same week. It is developed by the Halcyon Company's gaming subsidiary, Halcyon Games, along with Grin and published by Equity Games and Evolved Games. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, mobile and iOS. The game takes approximately four hours to complete and has no extra features other than the ability to change the difficulty levels. The "cutscenes" are in-game renders. All of the main information is presented through the musings of the protagonist's squad and the radio calls they periodically make.
Set in 2016 in Los Angeles, the console and PC version of the game takes place between the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation and follows John Connor (Gideon Emery), and his team, consisting of Angie Salter (Rose McGowan), Barnes (Common) and Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood). However, Christian Bale refused to lend his voice and likeness for the game. Rose McGowan is in the game as well, voicing the game-exclusive character Angie Salter, who is an ex-high school teacher. On the other hand, Common and Moon Bloodgood are voicing their own characters from the film (Barnes and Blair, respectively).
Terminator Salvation is a third person shooter where the player needs to "constantly move, flank, cover and utilize their squad to progress." The player must battle Skynet enemies from the film of the same name as well as new enemies specifically designed for the game.
The game features a campaign that can be played alone or cooperatively with one other local player via split-screen. The co-op version of the game enables players to play as both John Connor and his teammate Blair Williams.
The game employs a cover and movement system not unlike those featured in Gears of War and Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, wherein the player can quickly choose to dodge between different forms of cover, coming out only to fire shots at enemies. Staying in cover is advantageous, as the player only regenerates health when they have not received damage for a certain amount of time (as in the Halo and Call of Duty games). Although players initially are only equipped with an M4 carbine, other weapons such as the RPG-7 and M79 grenade launcher, Remington 870 shotgun, and M249 SAW as well as various types of grenades (Flash and fragmentation) are acquired throughout the game. Enemy A.I. is relatively strong, both keeping track of the player's location realistically (that is, not omniscient but using sight and sound to locate the player) as well as actively pursuing and flanking them when cover is sought by the player.
John Connor reflects on the old days of preparing for the future battle. Returning to an evac point with Blair Williams and other soldiers, they battle their way through machines to discover that there are no helicopters waiting for them. Escaping in trucks instead, the group are attacked by a Hunter-Killer aircraft. After John Connor manages to destroy the H-K, a T-600 appears and kills several members of his team.
The team travels underground, then above again, battling machines. The surviving trio manages to reach the evacuation point, meeting soldiers. Aerostat drones attack, and Connor, Williams, and others go outside to take care of them. One is killed in the battle. A Resistance team led by soldier David Weston (Sean Cory Cooper) asks for help, but his transmission is lost. The team then tries to make a landing place for a helicopter. The chopper lands and rescues the team, but Connor and Williams stay behind to rescue Weston's team. The duo goes into the sewers.
A rescue team, Epsilon, has a helicopter going down, so the duo goes to its crash-site to check for survivors. They rescue four soldiers, Angie (Rose McGowan), an unknown, Deckard (Joe Camareno) and Dobkin (Nolan North). They fight a legion of machines and then, afterwards, decide to head for an old Resistance outpost. Deckard and the unknown are killed by a T-600, and the team is forced to retreat. They manage to destroy two T-600s. They have no choice but to retreat, but with no way out, the team is forced to destroy the T-600s, though Dobkin is mortally wounded in the fight.
The three continue to go to Skynet while defending themselves. They decide to go to a tower so they can observe Skynet patrols so as to plan a route to rescue Weston. They encounter T-600s with rubber skin, which the trio destroy. Connor warns the other two about the T-800, which has real, vat-grown skin. They reach the tower, where they encounter a Hunter-Killer, but Connor, Williams and Angie manage to destroy it. There are too many machines on a nearby street that they planned to go down, so the three decide to go to Union Station at the subway, following the tracks to Skynet.
They traverse their way to a hidden survivalist camp. The survivalists don't trust them at first (because of the T-600s with rubber skin), but they manage to gain their trust. They say they have not encountered Skynet for a long time. The leader, named Warren (Ed O' Ross), leads him to Barnes (Common), who will supply them. Machines come, and Connor, Williams and Barnes fight off the machines while Warren and Angie evacuate the area. Barnes reveals to Connor that machines actually come every two months. They destroy the machines with detonators, and everybody evacuates by train. Connor and Williams defend the train by missile launcher. They stop to rescue other people from machines and succeed. They escape, but the train derails, so they go on foot to a truck depot, meeting up with other soldiers. Warren drives a school bus, while Connor and Williams defend it, eventually saving the bus. They go their separate ways, but Warren says they can visit them anytime. Warren still has doubts of their plan, saying that they can't communicate as long as a Skynet communications tower still stands. Barnes joins the three, saying he's tired of running and wishes to join the Resistance.
Battling numerous machines to infiltrate the Skynet compound, an alarm is accidentally triggered when Connor steals important documents. While Barnes sets up explosives, Connor, Angie and Blair hold off T-600s and T-7-T's. While the explosives go off, they run into the elevator to escape. However, with the control panel located outside, Angie sacrifices herself so that Connor and the others can return to the surface. John is racked with guilt, but Blair explains that he had helped Angie fight, and she believed he could help humanity win.
Later, Connor is fixing what appears to be a vehicle. He calls his base (answered by teammate Linda (Lupe)), saying he needs airpower to rescue Weston's team. Linda says it is going to be a problem, because of a harvester. "That won't be a problem", Connor says, because Connor reprogrammed a Hunter-Killer tank, and programmed it to go straight to Skynet. He does not have control of the guns, though. That quickly changes when Warren's team returns, with the access codes to the guns, and apologizes.
They first have to locate and destroy Skynet's anti-aircraft turrets. They destroy four areas of turrets and machines, but the tank takes too much damage. Connor suggests that they could deactivate them on foot. Connor, Williams and Barnes are joined by three men to deactivate the turrets and to find Weston's men. Warren and the others cover Connor by destroying as many machines as possible.
They traverse Skynet and destroy all machines that they encounter, until they find Weston and his men. Warren's men agree to escort them to the vehicles, while Connor, Williams, Weston and Barnes go through the service tunnels to deactivate the turrets.
The four try to make it to the control room. Connor shuts down the machines for a few minutes, enough time to get them out of Skynet. The four attempt to escape Skynet before they destroy the base. With the four of them safe, they all return to their Resistance camp. Connor narrates, saying that he has gained faith by what he is about to create in the future, instead of the past.
The game takes place in the year 2018. John Connor arrives via a helicopter in Los Angeles to assist a squad of resistance fighters. The captain of the squad tells him to reach a bunker. Upon reaching the bunker, he is informed that some of the Resistance fighters got trapped in it and is tasked with rescuing them. After Connor rescues the fighters, the captain informs him that the bunker is going to explode. Connor is successfully able to escape from the bunker.
A team of resistance fighters carrying a special transmitter in the city was given a mission to call airstrikes on a Hunter-Killer tank to destroy it and recover its remains for research. However the team got attacked and was scattered. It fell upon Connor to recover the transmitter and complete the mission. While recovering the transmitter parts, he encounters the H-K tank. He is given the last transmitter part by a member of the team who tells him to find a way around the H-K tank through a nearby house in order to call upon an airstrike on it. Connor is successful in calling an airstrike on the H-K tank and it is destroyed.
The game then shifts to Marcus who awakens among the ruins of Los Angeles but has no idea where he is. He befriends a young Kyle Reese. They both decide to escape the city and join the Resistance. Marcus goes to the hills where he hopes to find a working car. Marcus is attacked by a Hunter-Killer aircraft in a parking lot although he is able to destroy it. Marcus is able to find a vehicle and along with Kyle tries to escape out of the city in it. While driving, they spot a Harvester near them. They try to avoid being detected by him while driving but it's able to discover them and chases after them. However they are able to take it down and escape the city.
The game then shifts back to Connor. The intel gathered from the destroyed H-K tank showed the location of Skynet's base and John decides to enter it alone. The way to the base is guarded by a H-K tank which he is able to destroy. He rides to the base using a Moto-Terminator taken down by the Resistance. In the base he encounters a T-700 which he destroys. The base defences catch Connor by surprise and injure him, but he manages to escape and blow up the complex.
The game was first announced on November 15, 2007, when the Halcyon Company also announced the formation of Halcyon Games, the video game arm of the studio. It had already been in development for several months at Grin and Halcyon Games, long before filming took place. Peter Levin, a former Disney executive, will head up Halcyon Games as acting CEO. The CEO revealed that Halcyon decided to develop the game internally rather than contract another studio to create the game.
Although a multiplayer mode was originally planned it was decidedly dropped to allow the game to be released on schedule. With Halcyon developments' VP Cos Lazouras stating "It is my opinion to do less better, than more but mediocre. We did get local co-op in which is incredibly cool."
The complete cast is featured in the official site:Gideon Emery as John Connor - A soldier and future Resistance leader who was foretold of the war from his mother and previous encounters of Skynet's Terminators since childhood.
Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams - Connor's ally and fellow soldier.
Rose McGowan as Angie Salter - A troubled soldier. She tends to not fight at first, but she will be a loyal teammate as the story progresses.
Common as Barnes - An underground survivalist who joins Connor's team.
Sean Cory Cooper as David Weston - A Resistance soldier who Connor and Williams try to rescue from Skynet.
Nolan North as Samuel Dobkin - A hot head resistance weapon expert who is left stranded and surrounded by Skynet Soldiers with some of his division during a helicopter crash, who is rescued by Connor and in return protects them from the T-600's using clever explosive positioning to cripple the machines.
Terminator Salvation received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Acclaim depended on the platform the game was on. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 82.50% for the iOS version; 49.95% and 48 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; 47.04% and 43 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; and 47.89% and 49 out of 100 for the PC version.
GameSpot reviewer Chris Watters rated it a 5 out of 10, citing the repetitive combat, mediocre visuals, short length, and that the lead actor of the film, Christian Bale, did not do the voice acting for the game's John Connor. Hilary Goldstein of IGN gave all console versions except the iOS version a 6.3 out 10 for its passable visuals, good ally A.I., and complete lack of replay value. He also criticized it because Bale's voice was missing. In the video review, IGN didn't like Bale not voicing or the short game, but liked the enemy A.I. and the cover system.
It ended up getting very high rental revenue from its infamously easy trophies and achievements for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.