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Resistance: Fall of Man Review Rewind


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On 09/06/2011 at 05:42 PM by Jesse Miller

The end of mankind has never been so fun.
RECOMMENDATION:

For any real FPS fan or PS3 owners tired of hearing about Halo.

When I originally learned that Insomniac Games, the minds behind Spyro the Dragon and the Ratchet and Clank series were planning a new IP for the launch of the PlayStation 3, I was pretty excited. When they revealed that it was going to be a gritty first person shooter my excitement waned a bit as skepticism started to take over. You see, it was the beginning of the FPS wave that would soon flood the market. It made sense that Sony was getting in on the action with the Killzone series, but I was surprised that the guys at Insomniac were heading down a path that had been travelled down so many times that it was more like a super highway. I wanted something more original than what looked like was coming. Sony only added pressure by marketing the game as their “killer app” – that must-have title that was supposed to push systems out the door and into the living rooms of nerds like myself.

As luck would have it, my fears ended up being largely unfounded and Insomniac provided a purely satisfying experience. While Resistance won’t be remembered as one of the greatest launch titles of all time, it would serve as a fine launching point for one of the platform’s most solid and popular franchises to date.

The story of Resistance: Fall of Man takes place in an alternate 1950s Europe that has been torn asunder by a mysterious alien race called the Chimera. The player takes the role of Sgt. Nathan Hale – a lone American working with the local resistance to free Britain of the Chimera’s death grip. While Nathan is fine as a kind of blank protagonist – he certainly doesn’t say much – I wondered at the decision to make him American. I can only assume that he was made as such to allow for the target American audience to more easily identify with him but this seems rather weak.

The story is advanced via cut scenes in between levels. These cut scenes are told in the past tense and use static images. While informative, I couldn’t help but wonder if these could have been handled better. These segments pull you out of the action and make you feel like you’re watching a historical documentary. It wouldn’t surprise me if players skipped these entirely – electing to use the time to get a snack or use the bathroom.

Stylistically, Resistance falls prey to many of the same design tropes that befall almost all games that take place in that World War II era. The landscapes are hopelessly bland and practically devoid of any real color. While it is readily apparent that much care was put into making Resistance’s crisis-torn Britain as realistic as possible, by sticking with a generic Saving Private Ryan palette the game understandably gets lumped with all of those other generic titles, even though it doesn’t necessarily deserve it.

The more alien landscapes and structures help to break up some of the monotony of your surroundings, but even they suffer from the same bland color scheme. Insomniac missed a great opportunity to present some contrast to the scenery, but instead elected to present more of the same.

The actual mechanics of the game don’t offer anything unexpected. That said, all of the standard FPS functionality is there and works just as well as it does in any other solid shooter. The controls are tight and responsive and the frame rate never dips below its locked 30 fps – even when there are numerous enemies on screen. All of this equates to a solid game that doesn’t really stand out mechanically and there is nothing wrong with that. Where Resistance really sets itself apart from the competition is the fantastic array of weaponry.

Insomniac Games has long been known for their creative weapon design in their celebrated Ratchet and Clank games and has brought their imaginative flair for weapon design to their latest IP. There are two main types of weaponry: human and chimera. The human weaponry is rather historically accurate and provides a nice standard layout. The chimera weaponry is suitably varied and provides a wide variety of interesting weapons such as the auger, a gun that can shoot through walls.

Each weapon sports an alternate fire method, which ups the variety and adds to the strategic possibilities of each weapon. Resistance uses a weapon wheel much like the one used in the Ratchet and Clank series. This means that you can don’t need to pick and choose which weapons you’ll bring along with you as Nathan can hold them all. While some modern FPS fans may decry this allowance -- saying that it detracts from realism -- I applaud Insomniac for allowing the player the flexibility to choose the weapon(s) that best suits their needs, rather than being roped with a shotgun when what you really need is a sniper rifle.

With such a fantastic arsenal it is important that the action doesn’t disappoint -- and Resistance delivers. The enemies are smart and tough, but not stress inducing. While you’ll be able to run and gun your way through levels on the lower difficulties, most FPS aficionados will elect to crank the difficulty up for an experience that will really test their mettle.

I’ve mentioned that the scenery in Resistance is a bit on the bland side, but it’s important to note that Insomiac makes the most of environments through clever level construction. There is a great variety of locations, from large open battlefields to tight corridors. And while level progression is largely linear, the game nearly always allows for an array of different approaches to get through them.

For those that don’t like to go it alone there is a co-op mode for the regular campaign. The only real drawback to this feature is that it doesn’t offer online support, so if you want to bring a friend along for the ride you’ll have to share the TV.

Online multiplayer also makes an appearance with six modes including the a few standards: deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag. Additionally there are two different base assault modes and a last man standing mode called “conversion.” The multiplayer is smooth and functional, but the lack of advance features found in games like COD and Halo make it an unlikely home for the hardcore online gamer.

For a PS3 launch title, Resistance is a solid experience. While the game certainly leans heavily on the advancements of games that came before it, the unique weaponry and polished mechanics make this a game that any first person shooter fan shouldn’t miss.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

09/08/2011 at 01:40 AM

I found that the campaign is somewhat typical but it's done extremely well. It's like the 50 cent of FPS games. Nothing original but better than the rest. Also, the multiplayer I found has great matchmaking. I always played with gamers around my skill level so I never found myself overwhelmed. I appreciate that since I'm not great at this genre. Good review, Jessie.

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