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Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance | Spotlight #1: strategic gameplay

Published on May 29, 2024

Mankind stands on the precipice of extinction. Legion, the most dangerous enemy humanity has ever faced, continues their inexorable mission to wipe out those few people that remain. In Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance it has been several years since Judgment Day, but your mission remains the same - survive, and fight back against the machine onslaught. 

To do this you’ll need an army. Your forces, the Founders, are a battered but capable force that is a remnant of the pre-war US military. Over the course of the campaign you’ll meet other factions with different troops that can also be recruited for your cause. They can offer different equipment and capabilities that will add an additional consideration for your army composition over the course of your campaign. Whether it be high tech equipment put together by the Integrators or the ramshackle vehicles of the Movement, all can be used to good effect by a clever commander.

An army is nothing without the people in it. In Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance your troops' lives are paramount; losses are persistent and will have a long term impact upon your chance of success. If a full squad dies it's gone for good along with any veterancy that squad had earned. Losing an individual soldier isn’t always catastrophic as they can be replaced between missions, but there is a finite manpower pool to draw upon and it will render that unit less effective in the mission you’re fighting. Keeping your soldiers alive is a key part of your long term strategy and will help to ensure an effective fighting force that can defeat any enemy it encounters. 

Between missions you’ll also need to organise your army, keeping an eye on supply usage and outfitting your units. Vehicles will need to be crewed. Squads will potentially need to be disbanded or sold for additional manpower and supplies for your army. Equipment (salvaged or traded) will need to be assigned. Over time T-Force will morph into a fighting force kitted in the player's image. Do you focus on plenty of advanced vehicles but less infantry? Or instead on a more numerous group that can withstand losses in battle a bit more easily but is supply intensive? The decision is yours; your army is completely customisable and important decisions will need to be made to maximise its lethality.


In order for your army to fight, it needs equipment. Over the course of the campaign, T-Force will encounter a wide variety it can utilise. There are many types: tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, helicopters, and artillery as well as various types of small arms and support weapons. To begin with you’ll have relatively basic equipment such as M4 assault rifles and vehicle armour but better versions such as plasma weaponry and carbon armour can be encountered and used on the future battlefields. There are two main ways to get these upgrades - recovering it and extracting at a mission end or trade between missions. Utilising both these methods will be key so you have the best gear for your troops. 

As well as being important for getting new equipment, trade will be key throughout the campaign for hiring new squads and getting additional supplies if you’re in a pinch. Goodwill points (which are earned from various decisions you’ll make in a campaign or rewards for completing missions, as well as selling equipment) are used in order to facilitate any deals you want to make. It's a balancing act - spend too much on high tech upgrades and you might not have enough goodwill points to pay for the supplies you’ll need to keep your army moving. One of the best ways to earn goodwill points is to just sell any equipment or squads you don’t need. It's a great way to keep your force in a position of balancing supply usage and being able to afford new tech for your soldiers to utilise. 

All of the aforementioned aspects are key to the success of T-Force against the Legion threat in T-Force in Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance. The future battlefields are deadly and losses are inevitable, but the hardest victories require the strongest wills and clever strategies can often win the day. Remember these strategies and you’ll usually be in a much better position:

  • Keep an eye on weapon ranges (hover over the icon of a specific weapon at the bottom of the screen when you have a squad selected and it’ll show on the map the range). Try and keep your squads as far away in general as possible to either keep the enemy out of range or minimise hit chance. This is especially important with valuable squads such as ATGM infantry or humvees. 

  • Try to screen/scout with some infantry to look for enemy ambushes. Militia squads are quite good for this - they’re more vulnerable but also a big squad and it won’t matter as much if you lose some of them compared to a trained founders veteran. Use them to scout for ATGMs, both to avoid enemy ambushes on your vehicles and plan them on your enemy. 

  • Always clear the map of as much salvage as you can. Crew every vehicle you find and pick up all the best dropped weaponry before you leave a map. Remember that only heavy vehicles like tanks need a special squad to drive, most others can be driven by smaller infantry squads like rangers. Take even things you don’t intend to use as these can be sold for additional goodwill points.

  • Make sure that on every mission at the start you have an anti tank asset of some kind, such as a Founders ATGM squad or Heavy Movement units with recoilless rifles. If you encounter heavy armour, you NEED something that can take it on and knock it out. Though do remember, with a skillful approach, attacking tanks from the sides or rear will even defeat legion tanks.

  • Try and keep at least as many days worth of supplies that are needed to get to the next mission area + 1 or 2 days. It's always helpful to have a buffer just in case. 

  • Repair your vehicles, using the Repair button at the bottom right menu, whenever you can. Damaged components degrade combat performance and leave you vulnerable to potentially losing the vehicle outright. 

  • Button up! If you’re expecting problems, it might be worth getting the crew manning machine guns on units like tanks to hide inside the tank quickly to avoid losing them. You do lose the additional firepower though. 

  • Some vehicles are better than others. The Founders Stryker, for example, is essentially an outright upgrade to the M113 APCs. Vehicles are expensive in supplies to maintain, so maybe it's not worth keeping the older vietnam era junk?

  • Pull back any squads that are damaged and have taken losses and rotate fresh forces forward whenever possible. Try and reduce the chance of losing a full whenever you can in this manner. 

There we have it then. Humanity, the Founders and T-Force are all grateful for your service. Founders Fidelis! 

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