Terminator Resistance was a remarkable upstart when it was first released in 2019. Despite being savaged by critics at the time, it’s become a beloved game by the Terminator fanbase. Alongside a remaster for PlayStation 5, developer Teyon promised a proper 90’s style expansion pack was on the way. Well, here it is, at last, Terminator Resistance: Annihilation Line, with you fighting alongside Kyle Reese!
With over a year since release, surely Teyon built something worth the wait, right?
COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO BE BORED
Terminator: Resistance: Annihilation Line’s premise is great on paper. You, as the main campaign’s protagonist Jacob Rivers, team up with the hero of the original film. Set around midway through the original story, Jacob, Reese, and two obvious red shirts set out on the orders of John Connor himself.
What starts as a simple recon mission evolves into an increasingly contrived story about the importance of family and fighting for a brighter future. Despite a strong opening, Annihilation Line just can’t decide what it wants to be. Terminator Resistance was a brilliant stealthy immersive sim where multiple playstyles were valid. Here, it’s a bunch of Call of Duty campaign missions and one massive sandbox level. Characters outright chastise you for playing as you do in Terminator Resistance. It’s weird.
Set mere weeks before Reese goes back in time, this mission supposedly forges him into the man he needs to be. Except Reese has the least noteworthy presence; so that’s one part of the fan service falling flat. Though the hook of crossing the Annihilation Line fares better, Teyon restrains themselves from getting creative. Yet neither is the story cathartic. It’s just a mess, something you could say for every other aspect.
A CRACK IN THE SKYNET
Understand, even those that love Terminator Resistance know it’s far from perfect. Teyon went from making on-rails shooters like Rambo: The Video Game and Heavy Fire to crafting the most ambitious AA-tier games in years. Yet I can’t recall things ever being quite as blatantly unfinished as Annihilation Line.
Blatant holes in the environment. Jarring cuts to black to shove the story along. Poorly assembled combat encounters that clearly needed another balancing pass. A final boss so tedious the game spawns like thirty allies to help you whittle down its health.
Investing in stealth skills is basically useless, and there isn’t a single hacking or lockpicking minigame above Medium skill required. I wound up wasting considerable resources and skill points for a playstyle Annihilation Line had absolutely no interest in supporting.
ANNIHILATED UPON ARRIVAL
Despite some endearing flourishes like Reese acknowledging your skills, Annihilation Line is clearly unfinished. Which, if this were some quick last-minute cash grab DLC launching mere months after the main campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised by. Yet this is coming out after an already far better encore with the free Infiltrator DLC.
That expansion not only flipped the script by being a rogue-lite mode but letting you play as a Terminator infiltration unit. That’s a great way to hook fans back in.
Annihilation Line has a $15 price tag and should have had plenty of time to come together better than this. There’s little else for Teyon to explore in the Future War setting, so it’s disappointing for their final encore to end on such a mediocre note.
Terminator Resistance deserves better than Annihilation Line. As one of the best license tie-in games in years, it proved that a middle-market, single-player-only project from a small studio could be a fantastic success. Why Teyon chose to release Annihilation Line in this state is bewildering.
Maybe the Terminator Resistance team was short on ideas on how to finish the fight, or perhaps resources are being swallowed by Teyon’s new RoboCop game. Or maybe Skynet went back in time to sabotage the timeline – who can say? Either way, only those desperate for more Terminator Resistance content need to take on this mission. For everyone else, it’s not a dark future awaiting, but a dull one.