Resistance: Fall of ManESRB:
Category: First Person Shooter
Developer – Insomniac Games
Publisher - SCEA
1-4 players (offline)
1-40 players (online)
Whenever a new videogame console launches there are one or two titles that have to be bought to show off what it can do. For the Xbox 360 it was CoD2 and PGR3. For the Wii it was Zelda and Red Steel. Sony has made sure to have a title or two that consumers would want to buy to show off their brand new shiny PS3 and one of those said titles is developed by Insomniac, a company that has a long standing relationship with Sony. Resistance: Fall of Man is a FPS that shows off some signs of what can be done on the PS3 at this early stage and Sony was smart to add game to their library of launch titles.
As this is a launch title for the PS3 I thought I should keep an open mind as many developers are just beginning to understand what the PS3 is capable of and how to program for it. Resistance's graphics are pretty darn good for a launch title on a new system and they really help convey the look of the games various environments. That being said as you venture through the game you will likely notice some textures that look rather simplistic when compared to other parts of the game where you come across amazing and beautiful scenery. These points of disappointment come when you see areas or items that look very jagged. An example of this is some of the areas where you find chunks of concrete or rocks. You may want to take a pencil and shade the poor rocks in yourself. Other then the very rare low textured events like this, which are far and few between, you will really enjoy the visual feast you are set to experience.
Character models are also very well done in Resistance. From the enemy Chimera to the giant metallic spiders you face, all are well modelled and well animated. Take note as you fire your weapon at the various enemies on screen and look how each bullet effects each and every enemy wherever it pierces, be it skin, clothing, or armor. The little details like this show how Insomniac paid attention the visuals in this game.
The environments are always different with every level and provide the player with an experience that will not only cause complete immersion, but also make one look closely at the visual effects (e.g. snow falling, smoke billowing, bullets flying around). These various levels span from huge battles in a destroyed city to abandoned military bases where a flashlight is needed to navigate its long hallways and disturbing laboratories. You even have to traverse through dark subway cars, some being at weird angles, which was a pretty interesting level. Overall I found that the graphics seemed to get better and better as the game progressed as each level seemed more visually stunning then the last and the game simply becomes more and more exciting because of this.
The soundtrack in Resistance is pretty impressive. If anything the description that the music the most is that it is somewhat symphonic. Sure, it is not the most memorable score I have ever heard but the soundtrack really does fit with the atmosphere of the game. During play I even found that the music changed now and then in terms of key moments in the game, and it actually helped somewhat to pull me further into the story and feel of the game.
As for the rest of the game’s audio, Resistance puts forth a good bevy of sound effects. The weapons definitely put my sound system to work while the explosions really had some oomph as they reverberated out of my subwoofer. Surround sound effects are plenty too and you’ll no doubt find your rear speakers active during gameplay, as one would hope in a game with crazy battles and bullets whizzing all around. Finally, the Chimera sound somewhat alien with their low growls, but I have never met one in real life (Editors note: thank heaven for that). Overall the audio in Resistance is very well done and should you have a home theatre set-up it will even enhance the games acoustic treats.
The story in Resistance is somewhat interesting. I found that if you enjoy finding clues to help explain a rather cryptic storyline then this game is perfect for you. However, if you like stories that reveal everything in a straightforward way then this story may not be for you. Resistance has a science fiction theme to it. Instead of World War II occurring as we know it, the story, which I don't want to ruin, occurs in such a way that many events took place in a reality separate of our own and this leads up to a large scale Chimeran attack on Earth, beginning in Russia and snowballing its way to Britain, which, for story purposes, is the only place in Europe the Chimera have yet to convert or completely destroy. The Chimeara are basically alien creatures and their origins, reasons for attack, and relation to yet another strange and unseen group are explained somewhat in the story. I would go into more depth but I don't want to ruin it for you. As you play through the game you'll find most of the necessary information through Intel hidden within each stage you play through. During the game you take the role of Nathan Hale who comes from the Americas in an attempt to help out Europe in this growingly impossible war. During your introduction to the game, and as you play through the first level, something strange happens to you which results in you acquiring the attributes of a Chimeran soldier. One of these attributes is regenerative powers due to the Chimera's high metabolism, and another is increasingly fast reflexes and reactions. As you play through the game the story is fairly well presented through a History Channel kind of way where it is narrated by a British female commanding officer.
The gameplay mechanics are similar to many first person shooters. The analog controls are assigned for moving, strafing, aiming and looking around. The R1 button is assigned the main shooting duties while secondary fire is assigned to the L1 button. The L2 button is used to crouch while the R2 button is used for either bringing up a weapon switch menu by holding it down or you can initiate a quick switch by simply tapping it. During the single player campaign the game pauses when you hold down R2 to change your weapons, but if you play cooperatively through the campaign the pause is eliminated meaning less time to really sit and think what weapon is best for that certain scenario. I found the controls to be quite tight, especially for a dual shock type controller. Yes I know that the PS3's controller is called the SixAxis, but the overall design is so similar to the original dual shock it's hard to tell the difference.
Resistance also offers more then one way to handle the various battle sequences you find yourself in. As I fought my way through the story I found that I was using every means of attack out of pure necessity as it could get that crazy. My experience in many FPS titles is such that I find myself using only one weapon exclusively when I have an array of weapons under my belt. However Insomniac has addressed this problem by including weapons that are all quite useful. Don't let the standard assault rifle, shotgun, and sniper rifles fool you as there is a healthy supply of weaponry here and all are quite enjoyable, useful and highly original. Each gun has its purpose and it is up to you, as Nathan Hale, to really figure out what gun is best for what situation, and trust me different guns will either save you on many occasions or provide you with an experience you will never forget as you see your life diminish.
I found that the computer AI is somewhat competent as they have a sense of some intelligence to them. They will duck behind cover during firefights and in some cases flank you and your squad/cooperative partner from behind. You will find that as you battle through the various levels that you will not be able to sit behind cover forever because the computer AI will have one chimera shoot where you might want to stick your head out to fire while another chimera soldier will run behind you and beat you down with his rifle. I also found at various points in battle that the enemy would throw an unprecedented amount of grenades in order to pin me down. I continued to die until I figured out my next move, but instead of becoming frustrated with the game I was somewhat amazed that this was a great tactic the AI was using and a sign of how well the game was developed.
Although I have touched on the environments in the graphics section, it was done in terms of the visual panache only. I think it would be worth discussing the environments in terms of gameplay. The first two levels are what you would expect from a game set in WWII, but immediately following these you are thrust into a dark and claustrophobic abandoned pier with alien architecture and covered in smog. During gameplay Resistance can be completely quiet then down the hallway of a dark corridor a shadow will sprint by and a piercing screech will fill the air only to lead to more silence. You will actually be afraid to turn corners due to the atmosphere found in these environments. It is scenes like this that shows how Resistance does a pretty good job of creating emotions through its various battlefields.
Along with the enjoyable single player modes are a multitude of multiplayer options. Insomniac really did a great job here as they created a multiplayer game that could keep you busy for weeks, let alone months or more. Multiplayer is an important part of Resistance so I will go to some detail. There are two types of online games, ranked and unranked, which is not uncommon in most of today's FPS titles. Battles fought from the beginning of a match, which most of the time consists of two rounds, give the player experience points that help level up to different ranks. Levelling up allows you to unlock multiple helmets, heads, skins, accessories and more to individualize your online persona.
There are six modes of play when battling online. There is a mode known as Breach, which is a 40 person game about capturing nodes closer to the opposing team's reactor with the eventual goal of destroying your enemy's main target. Another mode is called Meltdown, which is a smaller version of Breach. The third mode, Conversion, is a spin on the standard death match mode where every player starts as a human, and if you are killed you respawn as a Chimera, and if you die again after that its all over for that round. The forth mode, Team Deathmatch, is your standard kill anyone on the opposing team mode in an effort for total team domination. Deathmatch, the fifth mode, is self explanatory as you are one against everyone. Finally there is Capture the Flag, which is pretty straight forward as each team tries to capture the opposing team's flag and bring it back to their own base. In the unranked games, all the modes are customizable with the ability to take certain guns out of the mix, adjust the amount of points it takes to win, decide whether you want humans vs. chimera, chimera vs. chimera, humans vs. humans, or a combination of both races on each team versus each other.
The online features for Resistance really caught me off guard, especially for a Playstation online title. The PS2's online network was less then desirable so to see the implementation of Resistance's capabilities is hopefully a sign of things to come. I was happy to see that you could create a party of friends or other players (up to 20 players), then move from one game to another while dragging all the members of your party with you and on to your own team. It's a great feature on a PS3 game. The game also has extremely detailed stat tracking that allows you to look at such things as your best weapon used, worst weapon used, various ribbons and medals you've earned and how many times you've earned them (headshots, melee kills, etc.). There are also in game achievements like who beat the campaign, obtaining 100 kills with a certain gun, shots fired of a particular gun, kills with that gun, accuracy of that gun, and many more. After a game you can also see who you were killed by the most and who you killed the mos. There is also a list of players you recently played with so you can easily send a friend invite just in case you forgot to do so after the game. Voice chat is very clear due to Insomniac utilizing Voice Age to increase the quality of audio while using the headset to chat.
Overall, the online portion of this game is entertaining and addicting with huge very detailed maps offering 11 locations, and they are completely different when scaled down. Some portions of the smaller maps aren't even on the larger 40 player maps, so if you were to actually count the areas it'd be about 20 or so. Games are often very intense and spawn killing is not as much of a problem as I thought it would be, but remember this game isn't that old. During online play you almost never feel crowded even with the 40 players and downloadable content is promised. Online play is also somewhat balanced. I've used many guns online in Resistance in many different ways to counter many guns that I thought were cheap, but they turned out to have weaknesses. I've also had situations where I thought I was being cheap to only discover that someone had used a gun that I thought was weak to completely dominate me. It is balance like this that can make the game that more enjoyable online.
There is some replayability as you can play it through by yourself, or have a friend over to play some split-screen cooperative. The cooperative play changes the game somewhat as the AI ramps it up and there are more enemies to kill, making it a somewhat different game. You also get to use more types of guns on the second trip through too. Add to this the aforementioned multiplayer and the whole package of Resistance: Fall of Man is pretty solid in the gameplay department.
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