PS3 Review: Resistance: Fall of Man
By Casey Lynch Dec 30, 2006, 3:24 GMT
Famous for the frenetic Ratchet and Clank series, Insomniac Games helps the PS3 launch with a bang with Resistance: Fall of Man, a weapons-fest, online mulitplayer-orgy of a first person shooter.
You have to wonder if Ted Price and the peeps at Insomniac Games knew that Sony would be putting all its eggs in the proverbial basket we now know as Resistance: Fall of Man come the launch of the PS3.
Whatever the case, Insomniac Games, well known for its innovative platformer/insano-weapons fest Ratchet and Clank series, has delivered a launch title in Resistance: Fall of Man of epic proportions.
We can imagine the early development discussions around the board room tables at Insomniac – “World War II games are so overdone, what if we made a WWII shooter with aliens in it?” Grins all around, artists begin drawing Allied soldiers carrying hi-tech alien weapons.
“It could work,” they probably thought. And you know what, it does. Really well.
Changing up the patented run-and-gun, kill every Jerry in sight formula for World War II games is a great idea and there is a newness to Resistance: Fall of Man that makes playing even the Call of Duty or Brothers In Arms games feel a bit tired in comparison.
The story follows a re-written world history where WW II never happened and an alien race known as the Chimera have risen up in Eastern Europe, wiping out everything from Russia to the UK.
That’s where you come in.
As U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. Nathan Hale, you and your yank cohorts are the last line of defense to help keep England from falling. But when Chimera spires hit and unleash a sea of infectious carriers of the Chimera virus (think the scarabs from The Mummy movies,) everyone is overrun – except you. So begins your journey to single-handedly stop the Chimera from conquering the world and find out why you’ve survived.
The game will take you anywhere from a dedicated and well-played 10 hours to a more probable 16 hours, which is longer then your average shooter. The levels, though almost entirely unique from one another, are linear, and keep you moving to your destination without too much fuss. This works, for the most part, although after the ninth or tenth hour it starts to wear on a tad.
How does it play?
Even with a cool story, even the best first person shooters can't stand on yarn alone, gamers want great, intuitive and innovative gameplay, which Resistance: Fall of Man has aplenty.
Insomniac has done a great job designing weapons that feel right, sound right, kick right, re-load right – they’re just fun to blast away at the enemy with. Also, each weapon has an alt-fire, which gives you a variety of unique ways to dispatch your foes. You’ll start out with standard U.S weapons but very quickly end up with a Chimera Bullseye in your hands, which is powerful automatic alien blaster. The twist - each weapon, including the Bullseye (and the human weapons for that matter) have a kick ass alt-fire mode. For instance, the Bullseye fires a tag, which draws every subsequent shot you rattle off right to the tag, even when you’re firing from around cover. Aw yee-ah! It doesn’t stop there – you’ll get more then a dozen weapons like this including an Auger, which fires plasmatic-like energy bolts that can go through walls and can shoot defensive barriers, and the Fareye, which is a sniper rifle that can slow down time. Nice!
As you play through, you’ll come across a variety of Chimera enemies, from humanoids and hybrids to larger boss meanies like the Widowmaker and even robotic spider-like baddies, though you’ll spend the majority of the game punching through scores of humans and hybrid Chimeras.
Particle effects a plenty
Graphically, Resistance: Fall of Man will probably be the game you’ll use to show off your PS3’s processing prowess to your friends. There is a ton going on graphically at any given time – light effects, particle effects, hordes of independantly acting AI, explosions, death animations – phew!
Play through the first few levels and you’ll agree, the graphics are top notch, especially for a launch title. The characters, both human and alien, look and move smoothly and really help bring the story and gameplay to life. Plus, Insomniac looks to have used the same engine and animations for the cinematic cut scenes, which makes the transition back to gameplay feel seamless. You can really get a sense of the sheer power of the PS3. If a launch title can look and play this good, what will the games look and play like next year, and beyond?
Also, the AI in the game will CHALLENGE you, especially on the hardest difficulty, with the enemy using tactics almost on the level of the excellant AI in F.E.A.R.. As you progress through the game, you’ll notice that the AI work in groups, they flank and surge when they have numbers, and they take cover and position up when they don’t. Some of the bosses and flood of enemies near the tail-end of the game will really press you to be on your guard.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the multiplayer component for Resistance: Fall of Man is just out of control. Up to 40 players can play together at a time, which makes Halo 2's 16 player seem tiny, and simply dwarves Gears of War 4 on 4 action. The typical gametypes show up, but with a few twists.
Capture the flag, deathmatch, team deathmatch all make an appearance, plus there are base objectives games. Where Insomniac really mix things up is by giving each side, human and Chimera, different strengths and weaknesses. The Chimera can go into rage mode which gives them a strength boost and the ability to see through walls, while humans have a radar and can sprint.
Add onto that a huge list of trackable stats and a leveling ranking system, clan support for up to 200 members and you’ve got as well-rouned an online component any other game out there.
What doesn't work
While you can play 2 player split-screen co-op through the singleplayer campaign, the omission of online co-op really puzzled us. Insomniac obviously have the infrastructure built into the game to support some mad multiplayer action, it seems short-sighted to not include an online co-op, which would’ve seriously been sweet. Also, we ran into a few collision bugs here and there, which either left us spinning uncontrollably for a spell or stuck behind a crate or the like.
The campaign also seems to drag on a bit, but you know, you can gripe about Gears of War being too short and Resistance: Fall of Man being too long. Like Gears of War, Resistance : Fall of Man overall works despite its linear feel and at times longer levels.
What It All Means in the End
If you own a PS3, chances are you bought Resistance: Fall of Man. It’s the one title that Sony fanboys can point at and say, “You need to play this game and you can’t play it on any other system,” and be right. From amazing graphics, out of control weapons and a compelling story with a behemoth campaign, to a massive choice of addictive online multiplayer action, Resistance: Fall of Man is sure to please first person shooter fans in spades. Expect Insomniac to dish out a sequel that most likely will look and play even better now that they've had more time working with the PS3.
-Outstanding online multiplayer
-Linear, long gameplay
-No online co-op
-The occasional bug