Saturday, September 11, 2021

Terminator 2029: Magic Act

Her face looks really awkward in motion, her eyes shift in form quite weirdly
This mission's briefing is interesting. I have to find a fellow resistance member, who barely hid himself, use some item or another to allow him to be extracted, then advance into a base with a code that guy gives me. In there, I have to find the source of some disruptions related to time, and use two items once I'm there to scan the area. And finally, use a location marker so our guys can get there later. Its curious, since this is a movie license taking place before the film, this is something that should be a mystery, and the game seems to be treating it that way. Because I've seen the movie, its not, the entire concept of the franchise makes it not. Even if I were just playing these games, its not. Seems the only winning move is to start with this game? Eh. More important, the mission briefing made it sound like I should hold my fire down in the bunker, and not destroy sensitive equipment.

The charge of my guns, left of the center radar, shows no charge, because Scorpions eat it like candy
In-between sessions, I had a brief session in the training mission to assess the usefulness of the highest power laser. While it is indeed powerful, I don't think I'm accurate enough to hit consistently. This turns out to not necessarily be a problem. According to the game, I've been hitting between 50% and 33% of my shots, with the 60 and 40 kw plasma weapons respectively. On this mission, there are a lot of the "scorpion" hunter killers, which lumber across the screen slowly, and drain more than two full 60 kw plasma charges. And there are many of these suckers around, so this is a continuing problem. I think the amount of enemies that spawn are more than any other mission at this point.

The screen is giving me a warning because enemies have punched through my armor, which also took out my fast repair module
Next issue, resistance. Turns out the game is being on the cruel side of things, as there are Terminator resistance members around. That is, enemies dressed up like resistance members that usually get the first strike on me. Thankfully, none of them around here are actually resistance, and they're easy to kill once you figure this out. I still have to be careful, I don't know when the game is going to throw actual resistance members on a map. The game mentions that our guy is in an area with 4 towers. This helps me out a great deal in finding him, and I guess he's alive? He's showing the same sprite as the corpses from the previous missions, but oh, well.
Just like the movies, except with more power armor

After saving the guy I was supposed to and entering the bunker the way doesn't seem clear. The game is getting glitchy on me too. Despite having full health, full armor, I'm still only shooting half my shots. My guns sound is cutting out, which is a shame since I liked that sound. Enemy attacks are also making weird glitchy sounds, so that might be an issue with one of the enemies. This could impact the end-level briefing badly.
I'm starting to think there isn't any reason why I shouldn't just use the 80 kw plasma weapon if this is what I'm going to be dealing with. Less annoying that way. The scanners are just saying I've used them, nothing as to information. It takes until level 3 of the complex before I see any indication of my mission. Stationary things on the map and my radar. I slowly make my way there...and they're terminator storage units. Well...crap. By all rights, I as a regular soldier should think this as something I should destroy, rules or no rules. As a meta-gamer, I know I shouldn't...? Eh, the Terminator timeline is screwy and who knows, I'm just going to follow orders. Still no indication of the scanners doing anything.

One of these could be Arnie, from any of the films
My mission ends rather uneventfully, where after running through the bunker for more time, hoping to find the target, I just stumble upon it trying to find another stairs down. I wouldn't have even realized this if I hadn't checked my orders there. An indication might have been helpful. Sloppy, just sloppy. A curious thing I noticed, while in a room with an open door, enemies can't enter. Sloppy, but at the same time, otherwise I'd be screwed at this point. From there one of the exit shafts takes me straight to the starting point. The end briefing starts with Merlin says they couldn't pay him to search one of those SLIMY-holes. Its all in how he says it. They found a time travel machine, who could have figured it?
I get promoted, again, this is indicated before the mission even ends surprisingly enough, and I get some new hardware. A 100 kw plasma weapon, some increased missile capacity, and some defensive items and missiles I probably won't use. It seems wasteful not to use them, but its generally not convenient to switch to missiles in the middle of a firefight.
Is he resistance or is he machine? The only way to find out is to get shot
Next mission, destroy Skynet's fusion generator. An interesting development in this mission is that its timed, after a certain amount of time, Skynet will gas the area. Seems like that's not the big concern it probably is, but I'm not about to question that. Seems like Merlin is also doing something at an outpost and I should be helping him, but orders in-map are less clear.
Time is ticking away, time I don't have
The mission goes wrong. I keep getting hit by enemies, and because this is a timed mission, there's no instant repair area, and its not good having that clock tick down. The briefing does tell me to be careful, since the area is crawling with enemies. Some of these are my own fault, since I throw a grenade against a wall unthinking. However, since towers aren't going down to a single fusion grenade, I'm also blaming the game a bit. I guess missiles are better than grenades here. I run out of time and then I'm automatically debriefed.
This is interesting, since this is the first time the game has actually shown the option to fail on a mission, seeing as its been hard to screw up previous missions without also dying. Now, I'm not continuing along this line just yet, but I did save a mission here. I like this sort of mechanic, more games needed this. I realize the reason why they don't, short-sighted fools like myself don't like losing at all, but these days with autosaves every 5 minutes and supposedly open-world games, I wonder why nobody continued to try something like that.
And there are actual resistance members in this mission. They don't do anything, they're just random spawns like anything else, but its the thought that counts. Sometimes they appear near towers, but I've been destroying them anyway, hopefully that won't count against anything. Also of interest is I've gotten hit in the head armor here a few times. That seems to affect the HUD, which is cool, if annoying.
Its not always obvious when the enemies are hitting me, as these flash by in seconds
The mission continues like last first. I realize sometime fairly early on that engaging in constant fights against random HKs is not helping me. It also doesn't help that any sort of movement multiples their numbers to unmanageable numbers. Working off two assumptions, that I'm going to get hit anyway, and that I'm going to have to destroy towers anyway, I just ignore most other targets, hit the towers, rush through, and repair damage as needed. This gets me to the bunker with 10 minutes to spare. Naturally, there's a problem. There's no way down. I checked the whole map. Ah...I get it. There is no way to win this level, is there?
Anyway, after the briefing I get some new stuff. An Osprey missile, which I might use, its supposed to deal a whole bunch of damage. A shield, some other random crap I won't use since my layout is mostly set in stone at this point. Shame that I get all these cool toys and yet, none of them ever seem to be worth replacing my autodoc and repair speed boost. The shield is automatic, it should just give me a small boost of defense.
Anything that doesn't move is just put in as "target", even if its irrelevant to the mission
Naturally the briefing the next mission is all about finding Merlin. I have to find three transponders that I already have coordinates for, and then find Merlin's location from there. Or get extracted afterward, these briefings aren't always clear, and the game definitely pulls some stuff.
And as I enter the mission properly, I notice my orders say, "watch the timer". In theory I had plenty of time to handle the last mission properly, but it seems its intentional to lose that aspect of it. Possibly because Merlin is the mole, since he's the only superficial element of the team.
The time doesn't really show up for a good deal of time. Instead the real problem on this mission are the "Eradicators" or those tank things. They get off one good shot and I need to repair ASAP. They can shred through my entire armor and the hardpoint along with it. I don't think its defending much against the shield, but otherwise its working great, saves me a lot of time repairing.
I'm save, but all those dots on the radar are going to be trouble when I'm patched up
Curiously, the mission just involves me grabbing the transponders and returning to base. And the debriefing is short too, not even any weapon upgrades. It all feels weird. I'm getting the feeling that Merlin is the mole simply because of this buildup. This feels like a trap. And it also feels silly on multiple levels, since Merlin is the dude that led the team who got this suit I've been using. What, is he jealous? Replaced by a robot double? If the latter's true, that's quite the Terminator cliche, more so than some of the film's lines.
This level is a maze, and it feels like you're encouraged to check that more than the actual screen while this is going on
So, the final push to recover Merlin is another timed mission. 10 minutes. Fire at will, no friendlies here, except for the major. Infiltrating the bunker is easy enough, but once inside it is a maze trying to find the way in and then out. There's only one way in and out to recover Merlin, but that doesn't stop me from having to run around trying to find it. Merlin himself is fairly easy to find, the game all but points him out to you, but like I said, there's only one path there, and any other is wasting time. Time you need, to repair and take out robots.
My first attempt was marred by that, which caused me to technically lose the mission, I had gotten out of the bunker, but I was still very far from the extraction point by the time the timer ended. This caused me to lose the mission. The game proceeds as normal, but I did the mission over anyway.
A picture of the resistance taking a bunker, the reward for winning
Second attempt only goes better than the first by virtue of me actually winning. The only thing that can be said to have changed was remembering that route to the surface and cranking up the cycle count. This removes some of the slowdown I've been encountering, which has multiple times screwed me over. It was very tense, especially towards the end, I didn't think I'd make it. But I do, and I'm rewarded for my efforts by a cutscene. Interestingly, the game shifts a little in story, losing means Skynet has the location of our bases and ammo dumps, while winning means we're safe. I'm going to have to examine the consequences of these failures more thoroughly, as that was one thing I failed to do with A-10 Tank Killer.

This Session: 2 hours 00 minutes

Total Time: 3 hour 30 minutes

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