Menu Close

Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance Review | Great Atmosphere

Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance is a RTS game developed by Slitherine and licensed by Skydance, and launched on February 21, 2024. Set in the Terminator: Dark Fate cinematic universe, the game throws you into the desolate future where humanity clings to survival against the relentless robotic Legion. The game has a single-player multiple-choice story campaign as well as online battles between the three factions of Founders, Resistance and Legion. I played the demo last year and the first three missions are a good introduction but are quite scripted, whereas the successive campaign missions are fantastic and engaging, especially once you meet other resistance fighters.

The narrative, separate from the Dark Fate film, throws you into the thick of the fight. As the leader of the Resistance, you must command diverse units, make tough decisions, and fight tooth-and-nail to secure a future for mankind. As you progress the story from mission to mission, your decisions will resonate in a myriad of ways as you decide between gaining intel, volunteers, or potential open conflict with other human survivors, and different pathways will give you options on the overhead map. You can choose to resupply at outposts or push forward towards the path of the Legion.

While the story of Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance lacks the star power of the movie, the character voice acting is believable and the action you play through delivers a compelling tale of leadership, sacrifice, and the struggle for hope. The atmosphere is gritty and immersive, capturing the desperation of a world on the brink. The game’s visuals and sounds are fantastic with vibrant explosions and detailed terrain with gullies and raises in elevation that you can use to your advantage.

This is quite a challenging RTS that demands strategic thinking and quick reflexes. If you don’t position yourself well, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed and overrun. You can outflank the enemy such that you can hit the sides or rear or tank units and take out their wheels, turrets, or fire off an EMP and attempt to hack them to use yourself. There is a diverse range of unit available to utilise, from ragtag humans to repurposed Terminators, and you’ll engage in intense tactical battles. Before some missions you will get to choose which squads to add to your army, while other missions have pre-determined squads.

The resource system is intricate, requiring careful planning and balancing between offense and defense. There was a time where some enemy units were fortified within a building. I sent three squads to attack them, but after watching them chew through their primary ammo, I realised they weren’t actually hitting anything and jsut wasting ammo. Instead, I had to breach the building and let the squad fight hand-to-hand within the building. This is risky as it’s a dice roll whether your squad overpowers the enemy, but it was better than wasting more ammo, especially if the mission has no resupply trucks available.

The game offers a wide range of units, abilities, and upgrade paths, allowing for diverse tactical approaches. When you find a town to trade with, you can purchase new weapons and upgrades parts/mods for vehicles. It’s quite a novelty to be able to outfit your best squads that have survived and levelled up from the previous mission. Unit selection and pathfinding can be clunky at times, especially during hectic battles, however the unit list at the top of the screen allows you to quickly select a squad and centre the screen on them.

The firing range of weapons from both sides are so long with certain units that sometimes I couldn’t see both the attacker and defender on the screen, even with the camera zoomed all the way out. Scrolling across is quick enough but it would be great to be able to zoom out enough to see enough of a combat zone to plan and anticipate moves. Otherwise, the unit detail is excellent for both humans and machines, especially some of the larger tank units in the Legion. Weapons and explosions sounded excellent, and it really felt like you were fighting down there with them.

Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance is a solid RTS with a compelling setting, tense atmosphere, and challenging strategic gameplay. The game does have a steep learning curve; however, the tutorial prompts are detailed and once you master unit selection and how to reposition and resupply, the game gets quite versatile and exciting. If you’re a seasoned RTS enthusiast seeking a strategic challenge with a Terminator twist, Defiance is well worth considering.

This review utilised a key provided by Slitherine and Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance is available now on Steam.


Related Posts