You may want to look elsewhere for a game that redeems the movie-to-game genre.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is often overlooked in terms of plot, due to its seemingly shallow story, compared to the first two films. While the movie is well done and fits in the Terminator timeline, the latest game, Terminator 3: The Redemption, follows in the footsteps of the movie, making its own rendition of the story by incorporating scenes direct from the film with rendered FMV and even in-game sequences. Having seen Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator 3: The Redemption presents a rather strange “behind the scenes” look at the movie.
The Redemption starts off with the T-X going to the future to appear in 2003 where she must terminate John Connor and Kate Brewster. Arnold’s character, the T850, model 101, kills John Connor and is captured and reprogrammed. From there, the game is played from the 101’s perspective as you begin the quest. The goal: to get to the Skynet Bunker and travel to the past to stop the T-X. This is where the movie and the game begin.
The Redemption has three basic types of gameplay that Arnold is forced into (due to the linear storyline): hand-to-hand combat, driving, and riding as a gunner in a vehicle. All of these modes are played from a third-person perspective. On-foot, you are able to fight machine to machine with the hordes of 101s that inhabit the landscape. Arnold can use the weapon given at the beginning of each chapter (which comes with infinite ammo) or pick up street signs and other random objects to attack. You can press the A and B buttons in different combinations to attack your enemy in different ways, but there are no real benefits other than adding some variety to the way you destroy the 101s. Camera controls are also not very intuitive and can be a source of many frustrations.
The driving scenarios require you to drive and shoot down enemies simultaneously. The primary weapon is fired with R and the secondary (and often more powerful) weapon is fired with L. Driving and shooting can be difficult, using the control stick to steer and the C-Stick to move crosshairs, while using L and R to fire, B to power slide, A to knock 101s from your vehicle, and Y to switch vehicles. Most of the game involves chasing a vehicle or being chased by a vehicle. In both instances, something gets terminated.
The X-button is also the x-factor in this game. X operates your Scan Vision, which improves the ability to target, do more damage, and see tactical information. It was damaged in the 101’s capture, so it can only be used for 3 seconds. Terabytes, Redemption’s point system, can be used at the end of each chapter to upgrade your Scan Vision. Terabytes are earned by your performance in areas such as how quickly a chapter is completed, life remaining, and the number of secret areas found.
The Redemption fills in parts of the movie that viewers may be unclear on. For instance, it turns out that the particle accelerator at Crystal Peak is a test room for the machine that allows the Terminators to go back in time in the first place. Apparently, it does work in 2003, because Arnold gets sent to the future when both John and Kate are dead and has to work his way back to the point when he was sent to the future, delaying the inevitable fight with the T-X.
The game progresses in a very linear fashion and leaves no options to explore the incredibly ruined landscape of the post-Judgment Day future or the streets of present day L.A. This linear gameplay is unfortunate as the environments are well done and definitely feel like they should be explored. One of the biggest frustrations in the game is the ability of the T-X to control any vehicle by shooting a beam of some sort at it, therefore creating a seemingly infinite amount of enemies on a crowded highway. Some of the level objectives seem unclear and must be played over again (cut-scenes and all) once you figure out the goal.
The two-player mode of Terminator 3: The Redemption is much of the same. Each person controls a mini-gun aboard a helicopter as it flies around a predefined track. Kill all the enemies on that track, move on to the next track. The goal is to finish the level and rack up points, which award you stronger weapons. The premise is fun, but holding down the fire button while moving the cursor around the screen means flying through the same track repeatedly until you kill each enemy. The multiplayer feels rushed and becomes rather tedious and almost boring.
Terminator 3: The Redemption is a great shoot ‘em up game that allows you to destroy almost everything in your environment and lets you take your frustrations out on hordes of other 101s. Guns, plasma rifles, tanks, helicopters: you name it, you use it. The Redemption is an almost faithful version of the Terminator world, providing hours of gameplay and unlockable bonuses. The Redemption is a good pick for fans, but most others will be disappointed by its repetitive tasks.