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PS3 Review – Resistance: Fall of Man

August 28, 2008 Written by Richard Allen

It's A Greatest Hits title for a good reason

It's a Greatest Hits title for a good reason

Reaching the ‘one million hits’ mark, PlayStation LifeStyle has decided to label this week as their ‘Greatest Hits week’. On my end, I have decided to celebrate the site’s success by revisiting a title that was launched when the PlayStation 3 was first released to the world. Widely known for their Ratchet and Clank games as well as their Spyro games on PSOne, Insomniac Games were among the first developers to display why the PlayStation 3 was indeed a console for the next-generation at the time. Although it wouldn’t technically be their first step into the first-person shooter genre, due to ‘Disruptor’ that was released back in 1996, Insomniac Games fearlessly stepped out of their comfort zone with their Ratchet and Clank games on the PlayStation 2 and decided to not only step into another genre, but create a new game within that genre with completely brand new hardware they were unfamiliar with. There are many reasons why their launch game, Resistance: Fall of Man, is now a Greatest Hits title. I will list these reasons in my official review of Resistance: Fall of Man.

What I Liked:

  • If World War II Never Happened… But with Aliens: The overall plot of Resistance revolves around an alternate timeline; it dates back to the time when World War II was supposed to occur, but a new threat invades the world that simply pushes mankind to unite with one another in order to survive. This threat seems like your typical alien invasion seen in movies, but on a much more grim scale. These aliens, known as the Chimera, possess highly advanced technology that converts human beings into them, so not only can they kill humans relatively easily with their advanced weaponry, but can also convert them into a Chimera as well. I really favored this whole premise with Resistance, since Insomniac Games not only created a video game, but a whole entire world that surrounds it as well and now, they are beginning to explore this world more thoroughly through viral marketing around the internet, through Project Abraham, to produce hype for the game’s sequel.
  • An Arsenal Like None Other: Usually when loyal fans think of Insomniac Games, they tend to always praise one feature that is present within almost all of their games: the unique weapons. This became something fans have come to expect from the developers, especially from their Ratchet and Clank series. At first, Resistance may have a rather lackluster, monotonous pack of weapons, since you do start off the game with a typical M5A2 Carbine and some standard grenades, but as the player progresses through it further, they are in for a pleasant surprise. Note that all weapons within the game have a primary fire and secondary fire function to them, such as the M5A2 Carbine’s primary fire being its bullets obviously and its secondary fire as a grenade launcher. From laser rifles that have the function to lock-on to their enemies so that each bullet will follow them for guaranteed hits or a sniper that slows down time for that perfect headshot or even a grenade covered in spikes that shoots those spikes everywhere once it is thrown, Resistance: Fall of Man certainly does not disappoint on the amount of weapons it gives you. There is even a weapon that shoots through walls for its primary fire and as for its secondary fire, it literally creates a barrier in front of you so enemies can no longer harm you, but you can harm them.
  • Presented in an Educational Flavor: One aspect of Resistance that really stuck out to me is the presentation of the game. Most of the storyline is shown through a very grainy-like filter of still pictures similar to how eye-witness photographs are shown in history textbooks. This further pushes the plot’s impact on the player, since it is not only something that seems fairly believable, but establishes a relative connection with them as well. The game also contains in-game cutscenes that are simply amazing to gaze at, even nearly 2 years later. Both methods of presentation compliment each other quite well as the former explores background information and plot progression, while the latter reveals what is happening in the game in real-time and thus, lets the player gain a clear visual understanding of how this story in an alternate history could have had happened and what humanity’s response would be.
  • A Tad Bit Dated, But Still Very Pretty: As I touched upon earlier, I cannot emphasize enough how stunning Resistance: Fall of Man looked at its time. Though it may look a bit dated compared to games now, Resistance was a game that instantly made the player see the vast difference between the graphics of the Playstation 2 and Playstation 3, especially since it was a launch game as well. On top of this, Resistance always stayed at a consistent 30 frames per second, which may not seem that impressive now, but back then, not many games that looked good performed that smoothly. No matter how much chaos was happening on the screen at once, the game never stuttered or faltered once. Plus, the environments are excellent for a launch game. The weather effects stand out the most though, as far as the graphics of the environments go. There is a good variety of environments present throughout the game from war-torn towns to skirmishes in snowstorms.
  • Impressive AI: Although your allies support themselves in a decent manner, the real showcase of the game’s fantastic AI system is through its enemies. For a launch game, the amount of detail put into the artificial intelligence of the enemies is outstanding. Enemies will constantly take cover behind obstacles in the environment and attempt to outmaneuver the player by flanking them from certain directions when they see the chance to do so. Players will often find themselves pinned down from a vast amount of suppressive fire and catch certain enemies trying to surround them as they struggle to survive. Some enemies will even charge at you to force you out of cover for their teammates and their melee attacks are quite brutal as they easily take off half of your health. Though the gameplay system is simply running and gunning, strategizing before each enemy encounter is crucial to surviving.
  • Various Types of Enemies: Running into the same types of Chimera over and over again would make the game quite dull; fortunately, there are many different species of Chimera that you’ll be faced with. From your standard run-and-gun types equipped with the standard rifle of the Chimera known as the Bullseye, which is the weapon that locks its bullets onto a specific target through its secondary fire, to little four-legged spider-like creatures that charge you in swarms, each type of Chimera challenges the player to leave the battle with as little damage as possible. In fact, a certain portion of your weapons are actually stolen from the Chimera, such as the Sapper, which releases organic sacs that serve as mines and the Auger, the weapon that can create its own shield and fire through it with its ammunition. Obviously, more lethal Chimera await you within the game, but I would rather not spoil the fun of seeing them for the first time.
  • A Chilly Atmosphere: Standing out from most of the other features of the game, Resistance’s atmosphere shapes it to be the horrifying game that it is. Of course, it is not exactly a horror game by any means, but the plot and story definitely borrows aspects from the genre as you struggle to keep fighting against the Chimera. The superb voice acting from the characters definitely convey the hopeless situation they are in, but never lose the determined tone that all the characters possess. As a result, the soundtrack of the game accompanies the mood of the current situation with an upbeat tempo which comes up when the player achieves something as little as taking out a group of Chimera that further pushes them through a level or something as vital as taking out a major boss-type Chimera to clear the way for reinforcements. The player should learn to embrace these moments, since they’ll often find themselves alone infiltrating a Chimeran base of operations which can be quite dark enough for you to use your flashlight in the game. These times are when the soundtrack falls completely silent allowing the player to further immerse themselves into their pitch black surroundings when all of a sudden, they’ll hear the sudden chilling screech from the soundtrack that danger is near. The player may even hear the sounds of nearby Chimera up ahead or sometimes, have one of those surprise moments when a Chimera just jumps out at you from nowhere. Insomniac Games definitely enhanced the experience for me by heavily considering what they wanted the atmosphere of the game to be at each and every step of the game.
  • The Balance of Quality and Quantity: First-person shooters tend to not have lengthy single-player campaigns and usually rely on the multiplayer aspect of the game for its replay value. Resistance: Fall of Man definitely ranks quite high as far as length goes for its single-player experience though. With 30 chapters of constant battles with the Chimera, the game will take anywhere from roughly 15-30 hours depending on the player’s skill as well as how thoroughly they explore the environments. If that wasn’t long enough for the player, there’s many incentives to play through the single-player campaign again.
  • New Game+ Gives You New Toys: If the number of weapons and their functions didn’t satisfy the player enough, they can choose to go through the game a second or third time, which unlocks new weapons that can be found at certain parts in the game. Most of these weapons are also taken from the Chimera, but tinkering around with them gives way to new strategies against some of the tougher Chimera and will most likely make some parts of the game much easier due to them.
  • Skill Points for Those Looking to Completely Master the Game: Long before Trophies for the Playstation 3 were released and continuing the tradition of adding in-game achievements in their games, Insomniac Games implemented a skill point system in Resistance that rewards the player for performing specific actions throughout an area in the game. The only flaw to this system is that the requirement to unlock the skill point is hidden to the player, but that’s probably to encourage the player to explore new ways to dominate the Chimera. The more of these skill points a player collects, even more goodies are unlocked to them from numerous concept arts of the game to multiplayer skins for the excellent online multiplayer portion.
  • No Need to Fight the Chimera Alone: Insomniac Games took the extra-step of not only providing you a fantastic single-player experience, but incorporating local co-op in it as well. You can play the game from start to finish with another friend through splitscreen. The biggest advantage in playing the game with another person is obviously, it’s much more forgiving when a person dies. If one of you is shot down by the Chimera, the other player can either rush to your rescue and revive you on the spot or wait a few seconds till they spawn again right by you which can definitely make the game much easier.
  • Massive Online Multiplayer Battles: Presenting not only a fabulous single-player experience, Insomniac Games also provides in-depth online multiplayer modes to Resistance as well. With a maximum amount of an astonishing 40-players per room, which is unheard of when it comes to playing online with consoles, it’s somewhat of a miracle that playing online in Resistance rarely has any lag at all. Insomniac Games definitely did a great job covering any latency issues and keeps the flow of the game as smooth as the single-player experience. The online multiplayer obviously has the basic modes of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag as well as other uncommon types of modes, such as Breach, Meltdown, and Conversion. Breach and Meltdown are basically revolve around capturing bases with their own little twists to earn points while Conversion is just a fancy name for Last Man Standing. Resistance: Fall of Man also supports the creation of clans up to 200 members.
  • The Best Way to Know Your Enemy is to Be One of Them: You have the option to play as either a Human or a Chimera in online multiplayer, so those who have had a desire to play as the Chimera throughout the single-player campaign will definitely enjoy the online multiplayer portion. Both Chimera and Humans have their own advantages and disadvantages though; Chimeras carry an ability called Rage Mode that not only strengthens them a bit and make them run faster than usual, but can also see nearby allies or enemies through walls although the player must be wary that if Rage Mode is turned on for too long, it’ll begin to overheat and begin draining their life gradually; Humans on the other hand are generally weaker firepower wise, but are much faster than a Chimera not in Rage Mode and instead of having their own version of Rage Mode, Humans can run even faster for an infinite amount of time, but cannot fire and maintain this same speed.
  • Customization Galore: Players also have the option of playing Ranked matches hosted by Insomniac Games’s own internal servers or Unranked matches by setting up their own server or enter another player’s server. Ranked Matches allow the player to accumulate points based on their kills, assists, bases captured, etc. in order to ascend various Ranks that unlock more customization options for the physical appearance of their character online. Note that you can only customize the physical appearance of Humans; you have no control over how your Chimera looks like, which is the downside of it.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Through The Eyes of a Spectator: The storytelling perspective greatly disappointed me in Resistance: Fall of Man. You control Sergeant Nathan Hale throughout the whole single player campaign, but most of the storytelling is done by Captain Rachel Parker, who is also an important character as well, but I felt quite detached from the person I was controlling. I wanted him to tell his own story and share his experiences as well as his thoughts as we both fought the Chimera; I was curious what he was thinking throughout the whole time but unfortunately, these thoughts were never shared and thus, it emotionally hampered his character development. Insomniac Games did reassure me though that this would be resolved in the sequel, so I am greatly anticipating what Mr. Hale has to say about the upcoming events.
  • Awkward Tank Controls: The majority of vehicles that you are able to control throughout the game operate fine, but for some reason, controlling the tank was more of a hassle than the rest. Turning with it became a real pain because of how unsharp its turns are; I understand that the tank is obviously limited by its weight and size, but having to turn back and forth just in order to turn a little bit can really provide a frustrating experience.

Undecided:

  • Fragments of Health: The health system reinforces the player to be cautious about each encounter of the Chimera. Unlike most health systems in games these days that allow the player to fully recover their health fully after waiting a few moments, this only recovers one-fourth of your health depending on which bar of health you’re on. Although this challenges the player to think carefully on how to fight the Chimera, it also can make a situation unnecessarily difficult as well, since there are times in the game when you’ll be stuck with one health fragment and no nearby health supplies to recover more fragments of your health against oncoming Chimera.

Conclusion:

Insomniac Games should be proud of this game; it is undoubtedly worthy to be called a Greatest Hits title. Nathan Hale’s battle against the Chimera isn’t over, since Resistance 2 will be released this November and I cannot wait to play through it. Even if the game did not exactly revolutionize or introduce something necessarily new to the first-person shooter genre, it accomplishes what it sets out to do which is simply to provide an enjoyable experience. The online multiplayer community is still going strong nearly 2 years later and I still recommend fans of the FPS genre that have a PS3 to purchase it. Plus, you wouldn’t want to miss out on Resistance 2 as well.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


One of the best launch games ever.

Good chunk of game here with many levels.

Epic storyline that truly opens a franchise, multiplayer is very satisfying.

10 out of 10