Terminator 3: War of the Machines (PR demo)
The pre-release demo of Terminator 3: War of the Machines (168 MB) was released on the Internet some days ago. It was meant only for press, but somehow it was released so we Terminator fans could download it too. After downloading and installing it, the fight for the future could begin...
The pre-release demo contains two multiplayer levels. We have only played it with bots, not online, because we didn't have the Internet connection for it (both server-sided and within the right speed).
When you start the game, you can hear the famous Terminator drums play. The menus look great and are all in T3 style. We really loved them.
One of the levels is set in the Future War. It's a very big level, where you can take control of the Human Resistance Fighters or The Machines. The Human Resistance Fighters have different weapons, from machineguns to rocket launchers. The Machines exist of Aerial Hunter-Killers, T-900's and an Infiltrator. The Infiltrator looks very human. If you play as an Resistance Fighter, you sometimes see one and think it's a real human, until it starts firing at you :)
As an Resistance Fighter, you can drive various vehicles that are parked on different places throughout the game. It seemed that more players could jump in your vehicle and take control of the machineguns of that car, but we failed to get more passengers. The bots didn't jump onto our vehicles, so the only thing we could do was drive around, and return fire to the machines. This would be a cool feature in a multiplayer game with your (online) friends.
The other level is set in the present, were men and machine fight it out in CyberResearch Systems' Research Lab. The Human Resistance Fighters are the same fighters from the Future War level, although the machines are different. You can only control two machines; a T-1 Unit and an Aerial Hunter-Killer Drone. Playing the T-1 Unit kicks some major ass. With its two chain-guns it is hard to destroy. This level is very small, but fun to play. Playing on the machine-side in this level becomes boring, as the machines consist of only two different models.
There is an 'error' when you start the level; it says "Research Lab - Judgement Day". WTF? An extra e in Judgment... (JudgEment)? This has been on debate since the T2 movie launched, which is more then a decade ago, and has been seen before on posters, merchandise and other media. We ain't gonna start another discussion; Its JUDGMENT (without the E!).
The music in the game is good. It really 'gets you in the tension of the game-play' and fits in nicely. As said before, the wonderful Terminator drums can be heard on the menu screens.
Loading the game
On a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz with GHZ GeForce 3 TI 200, it took some time to load the levels, which we really hated. It took more than 1 minute to load the levels, and that is really a bad sign. We hope they figure out the minimum requirements before launching it, because if they aim to low... people get frustrated with the loading... and if they aim to high, some people might be left out. Not all of us have big rendering beasts with GIGs of onboard RAM or the latest video-cards!
Playing the game
Playing this demo became boring very fast. There's not much action in the levels. In Future War, the level is too big for playing with bots. The CyberResearch Systems level is way too simple and way too difficult. The first points you have to conquer are very simple, except for the last one. The last one is the place where all the machines respawn, and it's almost impossible to take it out; every time a machine is killed, it immediately respawns on that same point... meaning it is impossible to capture them.
Your movements are very slow, even if you have the option 'always running' enabled. You can hear the footsteps when you play the Terminator, but the walking/running is just too slow.
Switching your weapons took way too much time. Every time you switched, the game had to load that separate weapon. Compared to other games like Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike, the switching of weapons in those games is faster and better. The handgun looks like shit. Its design must be improved, otherwise it is really an awful gun. More important (game-play wise), it doesn't shoot fast enough. We do not know how fast a real gun can go off... but the one in the game is a real bummer. Redesign or kill it!
The bots (computer controlled enemies/fellow team members) in this game are very stupid. Sometimes you just want to shoot the human bots, because they are shooting at you! And sometimes they are shooting without aiming at anything at all... except for walls maybe.
Two major examples of stupidity; You are shooting away at some machines, and your fellow human bots appear behind you. Then they start shooting towards your target... but because you are standing in between... they simply hit you, resulting in your death. When they throw grenades against walls, those grenades pop back... falling amidst your team's feet, killing them (and you!). The bots in the aforementioned Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike are much better.
When you've finished the level, you are presented with the choice to continue to the next level or to quit. The option 'quit' appears very short, so sometimes when we wanted to quit, the new level was already starting up and could not be aborted until it was completely loaded (again taking more then a minute of waiting). Very annoying! Both choices should stay on screen, waiting for input.
Since we only played it with bots, we can't tell you about the online features. Compared to our experience with other similar games (Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike), this game sucks (having no better description available... although we could say 'a disappointed'). The movement, guns and some other elements are too slow and transitions are not smooth enough. And the bots?! Well... you know what we 'think' of them.
We -and probably a lot of other- critical Terminator fans are disappointed with this pre-release demo. We really hope the final public demo AND product is much much MUCH better (did we already mention much?).
Our ratings (1-10):
- Menus: 8
- Levels: 6
- Gameplay: 4
- Graphics: 7
- Music: 7
- OVERALL: 6,4