Friday, November 18, 2016

Terminator Genisys (iOS/Android, 2015)

Wrapping up Terminator Week with a look at an entirely new game that I've never covered before. This one came out for smartphones, and I was pretty stoked to get into it. Is it any good, or should it melt in a vat of molten steel? Let's find out.

This seems to be a cover-based game, but you can't control the movement of your character very much. You have control over three things: Popping out of cover to fire, aiming, and firing.

Gotta say, it's pretty sweet to see these endos walking around up close and personal. You use the touchscreen to move the targeting reticule around and fire at these things. I'm using the sniper rifle right now, but there's also a machine gun and a shotgun.

Unfortunately, early in the game you're stuck with generic bullet-firing ballistic weapons, and a generic character. Getting cool stuff like plasma weapons and playable Arnold is a matter of accumulating lots and lots of points...or paying up. Oh, we'll get to that.

Oh My God, it's a Centurion. Long-time readers know my fascination with James Cameron's HK-Centurion, a machine that was supposed to appear in Terminator 2 but didn't due to budget constraints. It finally appears in Terminator Genisys. Pretty sure this is the first time I've fought one in a game. There are these interesting and comparatively primitive proto-Centurions in the Terminator Salvation game, which takes place 13 years before this one, but that's it.

Wait what? It's Arnold...with silver face-paint? "Pizza" he says, "Is sending out for YOU."

Oh shit! He's got a damn minigun!

Looks like my generic guy is Lopez. That's right, THE Lopez. From all the movies.

He may be the newest member of the Resistance, but he still can't get a plasma weapon or a damn coat. In any case, the game is split into five "worlds", each with a bunch of stages. The first one is New York City, second is Chicago, third is San Francisco, fourth is the Skynet core at Cheyenne Mountain, fifth is the Time Displacement Center in Los Angeles.

On one hand, it's cool to be seeing all these parts of the Terminator mythos, but on the other hand it's hard to tell them apart. The areas tend to look pretty generic.

The purple comets denote that these weapons are plasma-based. Thing is, you basically HAVE to buy them with real money (and lots of it, more on that later), because it takes (no joke) hours and hours just to farm 720 currency in the game. And if you're going to buy the Kyle Reese pack, you might as well go for broke and buy the John Connor pack which will take longer to become outdated. Either way, these weapons WILL become outdated at some point and you'll have to buy something even pricier to proceed. I considered getting the Kyle Reese pack since those weapons are 3x as powerful as the default weapons, but then I decided to see how far I could get in the game without microtransactions.

Keep tha pressah! Don't play my game I'll tess yah!

The reason attack consists of two numbers, you ask? The second number is the maximum attack after upgrades, since weapons can be upgraded with parts. As powerful as these buyable weapons are, they're nothing compared to...

...relic weapons, which have attack power high enough to breeze through the whole game. These are acquired via randomized spinning of the wheel. Every so often you get a free spin, but for the most part you're spending money for these spins as well. The actual super-weapons are rare, and the majority of the time all you get are some consumables. Oh, and the worst part? If you DO get a don't actually get it. You get a part, basically. See how it says "0/50 collected"? That means you have to collect 50 of it to actually get it. The cost of the John Connor Pack (3000 currency) is equal to 100 spins, and you're very unlikely to get a full weapon out of that. In short, it may not look like it on the surface, but these weapons cost a looooot more than the JC Pack.

The single BEST part of this game, and the part that got other people interested when I showed it to them, is this "trial mission" where you play as Arnold with his damn minigun.

He even has all the digitized quotes and everything, and comes equipped with a weapon that is -just- powerful enough to beat the game. It's like they balanced the whole thing around him. THIS is what the entire game should have been.

The minigun is fantastic (even though it isn't plasma) and it's a blast using it to take out roving bands of terminators and their HK support.

As Arnold takes battle damage, you can see it. He has lots of health, though, far more than Lopez. Aside from the minigun, he also has the T2 shotgun and an RPG launcher (from...T3?). The launcher functions as his version of a sniper rifle.

This mission is seriously awesome and a lot of fun. It's sheer chaos as the forces of Skynet try to stop Arnold from beasting through everything.

Unlike most of the generic levels in the game, you can actually tell where you are in this one. This is NEW YAWK.

This is it, Arnold versus a Centurion. I'm wondering how New York is still standing to begin with, since you'd think this area would be totally gone in the Terminator future.

Aiming feels precise and fluid on a smartphone, and while aiming you get these awesome close-up views of your foes.


Back to Lopez. That Arnold mission was just a sampling to - you guessed it - get us to buy the Arnold Pack. More on that later. At least the sky is nice.

The game's cracks continue to show. They had the opportunity to give us a wide variety of Terminator types in this game, but the only ones we ever fight are T-800s and T-720s. The T-720 looks just like the T-600, so I'm not sure why they had to invent a new number for it. The weirdest thing is that the T-720s are actually stronger than the T-800s and take a lot more damage. I don't even know.

It's bad news when machines start to swarm, so the key to victory is to pop them as fast as possible as they appear.

Using the sniper rifle to take them out before they close in is also a good idea, but it requires aiming skillz that take some time to master.

Oh, there's also a stamina component to the game. You can only do so many stages at a time, and then you have to regenerate by waiting before you can play another stage. Spending 31 on a stamina refresh is totally not worth it given the necessity of using currency for stronger weapons. At least the game tells you how long it'll be until your stamina is maxed-out.

Why are the T-720's "big guns"? Why are they like the big threat out of the Terminator brigade?

Some of the set-pieces are really cool, like fighting this HK from inside of a nearby building. However, they tend to repeat the same set-pieces every so often. With five worlds and about 20 levels in each, they kinda have to.

These are Genisys T-800s, so they use plasma-miniguns rather than the heavy plasma rifles of the Cameron movies.

And finally, we have arrived at the Guardian Pack. If anything is worth getting, it's this. Only $100! That's actually less than you'll end up spending trying to get one of those ultra-powerful relic weapons, and 2400/3792 is absolutely powerful enough to beat the game. Best part is, these three weapons are guaranteed with the purchase, as are both the Arnold and Arnold Endo skins. Worst part is that it's A HUNDRED DOLLARS. Still, this might make the game actually worth playing since you'll be able to beat it. You'd have to be pretty die-hard to do it, but it's there.

If you're wondering how much currency is on its own...yeah. It costs about $90 to get the John Connor Pack, and for that you might as well just go for the vastly-more-powerful Arnold Pack. Even the meager Kyle Reese Pack, which at least makes the game playable for a while, costs $20.

Here I am in one of Skynet's (apparently many, since this stage pops up a lot) Time Displacement Chambers. Unfortunately this is as far as I was able to get with the game (the end of the New York chapter) because at this point the enemy difficulty ramped up so much that my starter weapons weren't any good any more and I'd inevitably die before I could take out all of the enemies onscreen.

Know what I resent? That I've spent so much time having to talk about microtransactions. This game is actually -really cool- and could have been a lot of fun if it had gotten out of its own way. However, someone made the decision to load it up with the most OBNOXIOUSLY expensive microtransactions I've ever seen, and it's just ridiculous. Avoid this one like the plague, and if you absolutely must play it, just spring for the Arnold Pack because it's admittedly cool, and you'll spend a lot more on anything else. Get as far as you can with the game first, though. By the time you hit a wall like I did, you might feel like you've seen everything it has to offer and not feel the need to buy something to progress.

I resent this so much.

That concludes Terminator Week. Join me tomorrow as I resume Pokemon.


  1. Psychosomatic addict insane!

    You have a randomizer for one of FIFTY parts to a single weapon?!

    A hundred dollars. What a mess.

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