When we sat down to play the game for the first time, we found a functional shooter that didn't manage to terminate our generally low expectations of movie tie-ins.
While we were assured that the game does indeed look like the film on which it precedes in the series' canon, the wash of browns and greens which made up the first level's scenery, combined with its cover mechanic and even the look of John Connor himself, had us wondering if this really was a Terminator title or if someone had played way too much Resistance: Retribution. (It looks eerily similar at times; check out the screens.)
If it weren't for the HK and endoskeletons, we could have been playing any one of a hundred generic shooters.
Most of the enemies we encountered were either very difficult or impossible to destroy head-on. This meant relying on our AI squad mates (we're told you can collect up to eight at a time) to draw their attention so you can sneak up behind to hit their weak spots for massive -- nah, not going there. Anyway, you can either do this using your rifle or shotgun (the two weapons we found in the demo) or ... you can just lob a grenade at them while staring them in their glowing red eyes. We're guessing grenades will be rather hard to come by in the final game.
Once the initial demo level had finished, we were given a chance to play one of the game's several rail-based shooter segments. This one was set at night in a different part of Los Angeles and, thankfully, looked a lot more like the Terminator future we know and love. Heck, there was even an airborne Hunter Killer to take out while riding in the back of a bulked-up pickup truck.
We'll be honest -- the demo build of Terminator Salvation was about as flat as a week-old Big Gulp, and nearly as flavorful. If it weren't for the HK and endoskeletons (well, and the occasional reference to our character as "John Connor") we could have been playing any one of a hundred generic shooters. The Terminator vibe was there in the rail-based segment but even that's been done better before in Midway's 1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day coin-op. After its Wanted game and our first go with Terminator Salvation, we're really hoping Grin's bringing its AAA game to Bionic Commando.