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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
Atari
DEVELOPER:
Paradigm Entertainment
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
September 02, 2004
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator 3: The Redemption

Terminator 3: The Redemption

More in this Series
 Written by John Scalzo  on January 26, 2004

Hands-On Preview: "Say... That's a nice bike..."


When Atari released Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines two months ago they made sure to cram that disc with a plethora of bonus features. One of the biggest pieces of extra content was a playable demo level from next summer's sequel, Terminator 3: Redemption. And the best part was that it was open to you as soon as you booted up the game. This is a great thing, because the fact that the Redemption demo trumps a supposedly finished game in nearly every way is just more proof that Rise of the Machines fails miserably as a video game.

Terminator 3: Redemption is a third person action game with many sections devoted to finding and driving vehicles in the fight against SkyNet. Arnold Schwarzenegger once again lends his voice and likeness to the Terminator video game world and the demo level has you as the T800 chasing down a command ship and blowing it out of the sky.

The gameplay features a combination of hand to hand and weapon combat. At any time you are also able to jump into any vehicle you want and use it to explore the level and use it to fight SkyNet. Each vehicle has its own separate damage meter and set of primary and secondary weapons. The demo was fairly linear by first placing you on foot and fighting several Terminator squads. Then hopping into the bed of a resistance truck. Then jumping onto the back of an HK (Hunter Killer) and at the end of the demo you climb into a helicopter and take on the FK command ship from a turret gun seat, picking off the energy blasts it shoots at you as you look for an opening to take it down.

The hand to hand combat was pretty good with a few combos and unlimited ammo for your gun. The ability to impale Terminators with street signs you find is a nice touch as well. But camera problems plagued this part of the demo. The camera stayed in much too tight to the Terminator making it hard to see around him. The angles the camera would lock into would also often be just to the right or left of the middle and put enemies off screen. But the camera could be swung back behind you with a press of R3 and the lock on system is much improved over Rise of the Machines. In Redemption the lock on works by locking on to whichever enemy you last pass over with crosshair and stays there until you touch the right stick and move the crosshair over another enemy. It works perfect.

But the true emphasis of the demo (and the game at large according to Atari) are the vehicle sections. I tell you, there is something extremely satisfying about jumping on a Resistance truck and tearing through the Terminator world with endoskeletons hanging off the bumper as you shoot at a command ship. And it's even more satisfying to lift Arnie's big boot and literally kick those robots to the curb. The vehicle sections had none of the camera problems that the on foot sections did. Here, the camera pulled back so you could see all of the action and I have no doubt the game will definitely revolve around vehicles as this part was the best section of the demo.

The graphics are clean and already sport more detail than Rise of the Machines ever did. Arnold looks better, the forces of SkyNet look better, and some very cool things happen to the environments in the background. My personal favorite being real time damage to the burned out husks of the buildings as they are caught in the crossfire. This is even more important as toppling a building to take out a turret covering the command ship is the final piece of the level. I'm sure more scenes like this will appear in Redemption.

Arnold comes across with even more dialogue this time and it feels more real as his lines now include commands to his unit such as "Get me closer!" or "Circle around so we can aim for the last engine." Things you'd expect to hear on a battlefield as opposed to the lifeless "Affirmative" and "Ammo Acquired" lines that were littered throughout Rise of the Machines. He even manages to return to a bit of his T2 "learning" stages as he tells a robot he's just destroyed to "Download this!" It's corny, but it works. I even thought I heard the voice of Kyle Reese (or a reasonable facsimile of Michael Beihn) barking orders at the end of the demo. And that was just cool.

I'm not sure where Redemption's story fits into the Terminator world. Rise of the Machines went from the capture of the T800 to the time displacement to the past. But, the opening text crawl of the demo states that the Terminator in Redemption is the same one that was in Rise of the Machines. So it looks like Redemption could be a retelling of Rise of the Machines. Which means that maybe this game is Atari's "redemption" in the eyes of gamers for the crapitude that was Rise of the Machines. I can just picture the poor spokesman now: "We're very sorry Rise of the Machines sucked behind all belief. This is what a Terminator 3 game should have been like. We're sorry, please don't feed us to the vat of molten ore..."

Final Thoughts
The demo of Terminator 3: Redemption already looks and plays better than Rise of the Machines and it's not due for release for another seven months at least. If they fix the camera Paradigm and Atari could have in their hands the first Terminator game worth playing in a long time. And even if they don't, the vehicle portions have me just itching for what looks like a quality Terminator game. I've been let down before, and it's rather early, but I believe Terminator 3: Redemption can be (FINALLY!) what fans want in a Terminator game.


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