Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance


The highly advanced A.I. “Legion” scared its creators to the point they were about to pull the plug on it! But the A.I. algorithm beat them to it, and the Earth was suddenly sent back to centuries past. And that was only the start. Legion began the human genocide by launching Nukes on its citizens, then erecting a massive army of machines to finish them off. Soldiers from what was left of the American army fought the machines bravely but had to pull back. And here you are in Atlanta with a fragment of your troops, one month after Judgement Day! It will be brutal and relentless in Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance.

Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance is a real-time strategy game developed and self-published by Slitherine Ltd. on February 22, 2024, on the Steam platform.

The game consists of a campaign, skirmish and multiplayer modes. The last two modes, which I haven’t tried yet, will give the game longevity and replayability; I was more interested to see how the campaign mode would hold up. After 20 hours of gameplay, I am astonished at how excellent this game is – it’s brutal, and that’s playing on the medium difficulty level, the second out of four difficulty levels.

The opening narrative is well done and leads to an excellent tutorial or first mission in command (in Atlanta), where you are familiarised with the interface and will probably start to realise how tough this game will become. The game is heavily focused on ammunition, fuel supply and keeping your units in good shape so you can upgrade them with new perks and weapons as you move through the levels. However, keeping them healthy will become more complex and challenging as the mission progresses, and some will vanish due to your lack of tactical expertise, or from overwhelming enemy attacks. The trick is to keep one member alive per infantry unit until the end of the mission, where you can not only resupply them with ammunition and better weapons, but also restore the unit with new blood and implement upgrades to give them more chance in the next mission. The vehicle units are similar but can sustain more damage, and the infantry units operating them can jump out of the vehicle to repair it. However,  if the same Humvee, tank or truck is continually hit after having been repaired a few times, it will become unusable. Be careful with the tanks, with Humvee equipped with rocket launchers, and also with large wirehead units equipped with plasma cannons, because one hit can be enough to destroy vehicle units. And that is fighting against other human factions. Some wirehead units are cool – they’re strong and deliver tremendous firing powers. I find them deadlier to infantry than vehicles.

Before starting a mission, you’ll have to select your units, which can vary in quantity from one mission to the next. You can also resupply all your units with ammunition, refuel vehicles and repair damaged ones, all of which will cost you supply resources. If infantry units reach the needed experience points, you can upgrade them with new perks. You need goodwill points to purchase new weapons and armour for vehicle units. Goodwill points can be converted into supply and manpower resources. Yes, you must have available manpower points to restore infantry units. So, if three of your infantry units have lost three men each, you’ll need a minimum of nine manpower points to fix all three units. You’ll receive goodwill and supply points after each mission, depending on how many objectives (especially second objectives) you successfully completed.  One thing you must do regarding vehicle units and turrets is to dedicate an infantry unit to operate them, such as technicians, RPG, heavy weapons and sharpshooter squads (units between two and four members).  These units can be allocated to vehicles, whereas militia units of eight members cannot. When all is ready, you can launch the next mission.

Some missions will be about securing multiple objectives one after the other. Others will include specific positions to discover new factions and characters that unfold the story. Yes, you’ll be fighting at some point within these missions, but it might not be straight away, and depending on what second objectives you can complete, the battle might be different. It’s good stuff, I must say! I really like the fact that the game autosaves when you reach significant points within each mission. However, I strongly recommend saving at your leisure, especially if you make a tactical breakthrough. Again, try to keep as many of your units alive as possible, you’ll thank me later on.

All structures in-game can receive extensive damage and that you can post infantry units within them for cover or to ambush enemies, which is great. If you see any supply or fuel trucks near your units, try to secure them and take them out of enemy range. To resupply all units, these trucks must be deployed, which means they must be operated by one of your infantry units at any given time and, if possible, out of the range of enemy units, which can be difficult. It is vital to master the fuel and ammunition supplies in this game, otherwise you’ll be stuffed. It can be frustrating at times. Try to get any other vehicles too, such as tanks, humvees, vans with turrets or large mobile turrets with powerful weapons laid on the map, and ensure you have enough firepower to cover the units you send to them.  You can use EMP grenades on larger wirehead units and then hack them to take control. The sharpshooter units are the experts for that kind of attack but are not as well equipped in terms of protection. One tactic is to throw smoke grenades all around those wireheads' large units and try to get close to them. Then use the EMP grenade and hack their system. Don’t expect to be successful all the time, and make sure to keep your sharpshooter units alive. Remember, you want one member left per unit (infantry) at the end of the mission so you can upgrade and restore them. It is so easy in theory but super hard in practice.

The graphics are excellent. The voice-overs and sound effects are also well done. However, some of the units, such as the Humvees with mortars or heavier artillery, are not that effective. Sure, it might not destroy all the Terminators in one go, but you would expect to eliminate a human enemy unit of (four to eight members) lying down without any cover, and receiving a heavy artillery shell straight on them. But only one or two members are killed. The other issue I had was when ordering a unit to leave a building - sometimes it would works fine, others not at all. That was annoying.

The game has been translated into seven languages and offers an outstanding encyclopedia.  

Review written by THE CPT FROGGY for Zeepond.com

Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance Steam Store Page


+ Great graphics, voice-overs and sound effects
+ Campaign, skirmish and multiplayer modes
+ Several different factions with their own units
+ Four levels of difficulty
+ Easy to play but hard to master
+ Good mission variation
+ Achievements


- Needs to balance some units
- Issues ordering units to leave buildings here and there
- No trading cards as yet

Review Summary

Terminator: Dark Fate—Defiance surprised me! This title is in the running for the best RTS of 2024. You’ll be back for more!

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Zeepond Rating: 8/10