Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance

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a game by Cats Who Play
Platform: PC (2022)
Editor Rating: 8.3/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Action Adventure Games, Action Games, Best RTS Games, Terminator Games
Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance
Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance
Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance
Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance

In Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance, players take on the role of a commander leading humanity's resistance against the machine network Legion in a dark post-apocalyptic future. As the successor to the Terminator film franchise, the single-player campaign immerses players in the gritty survival war depicted in the movies. Players must make difficult tactical decisions under pressure as they fight to save the last remnants of mankind.

Surviving the Machine Onslaught

The campaign opens with humanity on the brink of extinction after Legion has taken over most of the world. As the commander of the resistance group Founders, the player's goal is simply to survive ongoing attacks from the machines. Early missions see small bands of soldiers struggling to hold off waves of hunter-killer machines with limited weapons and supplies. Players must carefully position troops and use the terrain to their advantage. A single wrong move can easily result in the entire squad being wiped out. This all-or-nothing approach gives the gameplay high stakes.

If players can make it through these initial survival missions, they are then tasked with expanding their forces. The commander must pursue supply runs to arm new recruits and complete side missions to gain support from other settlements. Like in similar RTS games like Company of Heroes, successfully completing these optional goals unlocks new unit types that become critical advantages in later battles. Investing time and effort to expand the resistance allows for more strategic and complex engagements against Legion.

Laying Siege to the Machines

With a sizable army now under their control, the commander transitions to a more aggressive posture of attacking machine facilities and disrupting their operations. Large-scale assaults involve breaching fortified enemy territories and destroying key targets. Players must carefully maneuver combined arms like air support, heavy vehicles, and infantry to overwhelm enemy defenses. The stakes are highest in battles to capture major city centers, important not only for territory but also recruiting new civilians to the cause.

Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance stands out from other RTS games with its dark sci-fi storyline and customization options that allow for varied playstyles. The survival missions are some of the most intense and punishing, keeping players constantly on their toes. While the campaign overall could have benefitted from more variety in mission objectives, fans of The Terminator franchise will enjoy experiencing its post-apocalyptic world firsthand.

Review: 8.5/10

While not breaking much new ground for the RTS genre, Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance is a solid entry that will please fans of the film series. The adaptation of the post-apocalyptic future war against the machines into a strategy game works well overall. Players must show true leadership under fire to grow a small resistance into a force capable of defeating Legion.


Comparable games include the Company of Heroes series for its World War 2 setting and focus on surviving with limited early resources. But Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance stands alone in bringing the dark Terminator universe and its machines vs. humanity conflict to commanding on the battlefield.


  • Immersive Terminator universe setting
  • Tense survival gameplay with high stakes
  • Customizable units and playstyles
  • Satisfying to expand the resistance over time


  • Campaign lacks mission diversity
  • Early battles can be too punishing
  • Story could have explored more character depth

Download Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

A gritty RTS game set in the most recent Terminator universe, Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance puts you in command of humanity’s forces against the deadly armies of Legion. This will be the first time the franchise delves into real-time strategy, and the developers promise that Defiance will be unlike any other RTS game we’ve seen before.

New to the game is a dynamic debris system that will benefit (or hurt) players in urban settings, along with a complex damage system that applies to mobile infantry. There’s a lot to analyze about this upcoming game, and what it brings to the RTS genre.

Fight for the Past

As we mentioned before, Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance takes place in the alternate Terminator universe where Skynet is no longer humanity’s biggest threat. Now, Legion is the main bad guy, even though the similarities it shares with Skynet are staggering.

Of course, the iconic Terminators appear in this game, which plays mostly like an action-oriented RTS title. Think of Halo Wars with a Terminator re-skin and you’ll get the gist of what Defiance tries to accomplish.

In this game, the war between humans and machines rages on in the future. Unlike the movies, however, your objective won’t be to send some kind of savior to the past to prevent the whole ordeal, but rather to lead your troops to victory in the present however you can. This often means gathering smaller groups of humans to fight the machines – if you ally with the humans, that is.

Other humans might stand in your way during the game’s campaign mode: different factions have unique ways of dealing with the apocalypse, and recruiting them will often lead to further conflict against other humans and Legion. It’s a complex world that never delves too much into the grand strategy realms of games like Crusader Kings, and stays well within the realms of something like Sid Meier’s Civilization VI instead.

Demolition Tactics

One of the most promising features of Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance is its unique building demolition mechanics. During urban encounters, every building has its own life bar, which means that you can blow up pretty much everything you see on the battlefield.

Destroying buildings causes debris that you can then use to your advantage. Want to block an enemy patrol from advancing in your direction? Why not bring down a skyscraper on them. This and many other dynamic combat decisions are what keep the gameplay in Defiance feeling as fresh as it does, especially for the RTS genre.

While the physics-based destruction looks great, there’s a certain simplicity to Defiance’s visuals that makes the game feel just a bit too lifeless. We get it, it’s the end of the world, but in a game with plasma cannons and giant arachnid robots, maybe adding a bit of color won’t do any damage.

There’s also the issue of the game’s UI. For an RTS game, most of the options seem fairly limited, which could affect genre veterans that are used to having every piece of pertinent info at the touch of a button.


Terminator Dark Fate: Defiance is a step in the right way for The Terminator franchise in video games. An action-packed RTS with a lot of potential that sacrifices complexity and replaces it with pure fun.


  • Amazing physics-based demolition
  • Varied units to choose from and assemble your armies
  • Engaging single-player campaign


  • Basic multiplayer modes
  • Barebones visuals
  • Simplistic UI

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