The controls for attacking are simple, but moving your character around the 3D environments is problematic since the control scheme actually changes depending on the camera angle. For example, if the camera is following your character from behind, say while running through the ruins of a hotel ballroom, you'll naturally run forward by pressing up, run right by pressing right, and so on. A few steps later and the camera angle might change to a distant side view, and your character will continue to travel in the direction you've been headed as long as you continue to hold the analog stick. But the moment you stop, the controls change to fit the camera angle, so now, moving left or right across the screen requires you to push forward or backward on the analog stick. If this sounds confusing, that's because it is--especially when you've got terminators all around you, and you're standing on one of these camera angle/control fault lines. You literally don't know which way is up sometimes, and it's not something that gets a whole lot easier to deal with over time. It's not a problem that completely ruins the experience of playing the game, but it can be incredibly frustrating at times.
At the very least, The Terminator: Dawn of Fate has some impressive visuals. The character models feature a high polygon count that gives them a very realistic look. All of the human characters you'll encounter have a stylized look to them and are adorned with unique details like tattoos and different equipment. The enemies you face look equally impressive. The terminators you fight range from early models not seen before to giant chrome warships that patrol the sky. The animations of your characters and the terminators are very believable and are representative of what was seen in the films. The war-torn environments you'll traverse are also extremely detailed and are littered with lots of scenery, such as overturned vehicles lying in rubble. Many of the areas you'll travel through are a bit dark, but the subdued lighting fits the game well and also helps to show off the game's notable lighting effects, which are even more impressive in the Xbox version. However, while the camera angles typically look good from a compositional standpoint and help give the game a cinematic feel, they often don't give you the best view of your enemies or of the environment. The CG sequences in the game deserve a bit of recognition since they are simply gorgeous and will more than please any Terminator fan.
The gameplay becomes highly repetitive after just a few hours.
In terms of its audio, The Terminator: Dawn of Fate is notable for its great variety of sound effects for all the various weaponry. You'll appreciate that the plasma guns sound just like they did in the Terminator films. The game also includes a great deal of voice acting, but unfortunately, it's all pretty bad. Lots of way-over-the-top performances are found throughout the game, and they never quite fit. The music fits better--fast-paced heavy metal accompanies the action sequences and appropriately fades out to a more ambient theme when the action dies down. The game's 5.1 sound support isn't all that impressive--it sounds more like standard surround sound and doesn't split up the channels very well.
In the end, The Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a mediocre action game with a terrific license. Even with its mix of hand-to-hand combat and third- and first-person shooting, the gameplay becomes highly repetitive after just a few hours. The constant fighting you'll have to do not with the terminators but with the control issues often makes the game quite frustrating, particularly when you find yourself wandering around looking for the exit to the level. The storyline isn't especially compelling even for die-hard Terminator fans, but at least the game's visuals and overall presentation, minus the voice acting, are very well done. So, for the Terminator fans out there, the game's problems may be difficult to overlook, but being able to walk around in the movies' bleak future and take on all those Terminator endoskeletons is obviously appealing. Since you can see most of the game in about 10 hours and even unlock a good percentage of the extra features, like cheats and character skins, this one could serve you well as a rental.