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Resistance: Fall of Man (PlayStation 3) artwork

Resistance: Fall of Man (PlayStation 3) review

"Resistance was one the Playstation 3’s launch titles and it is pretty much a given that most early adopters of the system will already have a copy of this in their games collection. With the fact that the game is now coming up to its first birthday and the impending release of a sequel it is likely that this game will find itself among the first batch of Playstation 3 platinum titles. This has yet to be confirmed; as in fact has the existence of platinum games altogether. Taking into account ..."

Resistance was one the Playstation 3’s launch titles and it is pretty much a given that most early adopters of the system will already have a copy of this in their games collection. With the fact that the game is now coming up to its first birthday and the impending release of a sequel it is likely that this game will find itself among the first batch of Playstation 3 platinum titles. This has yet to be confirmed; as in fact has the existence of platinum games altogether. Taking into account the success of these reduced price games on both the Playstation and Playstation 2, however, it does seem very likely. With this in mind I believe that now is as good a time as any to revisit this game and to see how it holds up against some of the more recent competition.

The game itself is a first person shooter and consists of both a single player story mode and a multiplayer online mode, both of which are equally strong. In single player mode you take control of United States Army Ranger, Sgt Nathan Hale the last survivor of a unit which has made its way to Britain to try and stem the tide of the overwhelming Chimeran forces which are threatening to wipe out humanity. The year is 1951 and in this alternate reality there has been no Second World War. Europe finds itself at peace until, in 1921, Russia mysteriously closes its borders. In the years that follow cities are found abandoned and by 1949 mainland Europe has been over run. The Chimera have turned their attention to Britain and it is your job to assist the native army in trying to turn this deadly threat.

The origins of the Chimera are never fully explained within the game and the only information you can gather is by way of intelligence reports collected as you make progress through the story. What is known is that they are both stronger and faster than human soldiers and have access to advanced weapons technology. They are also able to infect humans with a virus which, after putting the victim into a coma, allows them to convert humans into new Chimera and hence bolster their forces. The Chimera’s only known weakness is their tendency to overheat due to their enhanced metabolism and it with this in mind that they are in the process of altering the global climate to suit their needs.

The games levels are set in locations spread across Britain such as York, Nottingham and Manchester and, initially at least, some of these locations are hugely impressive. Battling through 1950s streets trying to hold off a futuristic enemy with a carbine and a hand full of grenades seems like a hugely satisfying uphill struggle and the familiarity of the locations only goes to enhance the unpleasantness of your foe. Manchester is without a doubt the highlight as you struggle through incoming artillery only to find yourself trapped in Manchester Cathedral, alone, low on ammunition and faced with swarm after swarm of tireless Chimera soldiers. If you haven’t seen the media debate in relation to the use of this cathedral in a game well then; suffice it to say there has been some disagreement and I do not intend to get into the rights and wrongs of it here. Sadly as the game progresses the locations become more and more generic and in later levels you will find yourself disappointed to be running through alien tunnels and architecture. I guess this is necessary part of the story line to a degree; however, I personally would have liked these levels kept to the bare minimum.

Really that is my only complaint in what is otherwise a very strong game; especially considering that is a launch title and at the time some developers were complaining about difficulties in developing for the system. The story line is suitably dark and even at the end of the game there are enough suitable cliff hanger questions to justify a sequel. The voice acting is also good and, despite every developer in the known universe feeling the need to have an American hero saving the day, Hale is pretty tight lipped. The story is advanced instead by a British Officer, Captain Rachel Parker and is told in the style of an intelligence report prepared long after the events of the game have concluded. The Chimera are an original and challenging foe with enough variety in their species that you don’t get bored of plugging away at them half way through the game and the fact that you can alternate between traditional human weapons and advanced Chimeran weapons also helps to keep things nice and fresh.

Naturally from a company whose previous games include Ratchet and Clank you will not be surprised to find that some of the Chimeran weapons are more outlandish than others. The standard issue Chimeran Bulls-eye for example allows you to “tag” an enemy with a single shot; all subsequent shots will then hit that enemy even if they run around a corner. The Backlash grenade, meanwhile, erects a force field around enemies which allows you to shoot in at them but prevents them from shooting out. If they are foolish enough to fire back then their shots reflect off of the barrier and they end up killing each other. Not all of these weapons are available on the first play through of the game just to add a little more value to the experience and you will find that at some point you need to use every weapon in your arsenal rather than rely on your favourite as in later levels ammunition becomes very tight.

The enemy AI is fairly advanced and hard setting on this game does really mean hard. The Chimera will not run blindly into the muzzle of your gun but will hide around corners or try and outflank you. If you hide then they will lob grenades or send a lone soldier to charge and try and flush you out. There are plenty of levels to keep you going and none of them are so short that you won’t die a few times before finally getting to the end. Graphically the game also impresses and, despite my complaints about some of the later levels looking a bit dull they are still crisp and everything runs smoothly. Sound-wise, well there are explosions and gun effects pretty much as you would expect and the music is so unobtrusive I can’t even remember it after I have just turned the game off; nothing to get excited about but nothing to complain about either.

Of course that is only the single player game and what adds to the longevity of an already adequate single player story is the highly successful online mode. This was the first online shooter I had ever played and with little to compare it to I was still thoroughly impressed. It made me glad I had just forked over Ł400 odd for my Playstation 3 when I first found myself running around a battle field against up to thirty nine human opponents. Getting online could not be easier and even with all those players in a single match I experienced no apparent slow down and very little in the way of server disconnections. There are enough maps to keep things interesting and along with the standard issue Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes there are also objective matches such as Capture the Flag.

If I had to make a criticism, which I suppose I should if I want my reviews to remain objective, it is that the weapons in the online mode are poorly balanced. The fact that the same weapons need to fit into both single player and multiplayer games poses problems for developers I imagine, however, in a human versus Chimera match the fact that the Chimera start with a Bulls-eye is a distinct advantage. Granted humans can sprint and crouch but Chimera are stronger and have “rage mode” to further increase their damage potential. A raged Chimera with a shot gun is almost unstoppable, even after the patches added to try and balance out weapon damage. Still, that complaint aside, at least Insomniac have taken the trouble to add patches and have shown continued support for the game after its release by including two additional map packs on the PSN store. Both of these packs add an extra two levels to the online game and, although they do come at additional cost, I personally like the option of having extras available for a game I enjoy playing. Overall there is plenty more good about this game than bad and if they do drop the price in the future, well, I can’t see any reason to give it a miss.

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Community review by OrpheusUK (April 14, 2008)

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