Resistance: Fall of Man PS3 Review
Red Steel was disappointing and Perfect Dark Zero could only be described as underwhelming – even if our review hints we may have liked it at launch. It seems console launches and the FPS genre don’t seem to want to meld together well this generation. Nevertheless, it now seems to be happening all over again and with the launch of the PS3 comes a brand new FPS from the guys and gals over at Insomniac. Will the curse finally be broken or is this yet another launch FPS that is nothing to lose any sleep over.
Resistance is set in the middle of the 20th century – a much used (some would say overused) period of history for First Person Shooters. To try and spruce things up a bit Insomniac have taken that point in history and completely rewritten it to give the game’s protagonist – U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. Nathan Hale – the best chance of kicking a whole lot of ass as he traverses though the game’s locations. The ass that he will kick is that of a race called the Chimera who have invaded Earth with the plan of killing off all of its inhabitants. The game tells the story of what happens when they set their sights on the UK. From there the game takes the typical sci-fi shooter route of moving from area to area, seeing new stuff and meeting new friends and enemies.
Sadly the game also plays just like a typical FPS with little to no unique aspects to boast as its own. You could easily compare it to Halo for the regenerating health aspect, and you could also compare it to Half Life 2 for the scale of some of the enemies you see. You could compare it to F.E.A.R for some of the slow-mo aspects one of the weapons uses. Hell, you could almost compare it to the original Doom; not only for its ‘shut up and fight’ approach but also for its rather basic clear-out-area and move on gameplay. I even remember a red barrel popping up a few times! Mercifully there are some ideas thrown in that lift Resistance above being just an archetypal attempt at an FPS. The most noticeable of these is that in typical Insomniac style the weapons in the game have been totally ‘Ratchet and Clanked’.
If you ever spent any time with any of the Ratchet and Clank series you will know Insomniac love mad-cap weapons and it really does show in Resistance – although there is none that transforms enemies into livestock this time (pity!). As you advance through the game you get your hands on a total of eight different weapons with each one of them having a secondary fire option and three different kinds of grenades. Some weapons such as the shotgun and sniper are based on real weapons circa the 1950’s but a good portion of the firearms are introduced thanks to history getting a rewrite. A good example of this is that Auger which can fire through walls (in primary fire mode) and put up a personal shield (in secondary fire mode) which is resistant to bullets giving you something to hide behind even if you are out in the open. Bullseye is another sci-fi type weapon with which fires plasma-type bolts at the enemy. For the secondary fire option it lets you fire a bolt that will cause all other bolts to home in on it if you tag an enemy with it. If you tag a Chimera you can then fire anywhere and the bolts will automatically about-turn and take him out. Of all of the weapons on show, fuel grenades are my personal favorite as they can take out all enemies in one area in a single blast as gas leaks from the grenade filling the room before it ignites, taking anything in the vicinity with it.
Multiplayer is another area in which the game shines as it offers the staggering support for up to 40 players with many different modes to play in. Of course standard deathmatch is available and will be the first port of call for most players to find out how the game plays. Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are also available however these are best played with people you know as a lot of random people you meet online seem to disregard the team aspects of these modes. Next up is Conversion which is once again familiar if you played any kind of last man standing mode in other shooter. There are also two assault modes available. Both Humans and Chimera are played in all these online modes. Due to the amount of players allowed to play at one time some of the maps on show are rather big but there are also a few smaller ones if you are just looking to play smaller 8-16 player games.
All that sounds great, and in all honesty it is but there are a quite few blemishes that let the game down. The first of these is mission structure or, to be more specific, the lack of one. At times the game feels like it has been split up into too many parts just so the story – narrated by Captain Rachel Parker – can be inserted. As a result many missions feel very short and at times end prematurely just when you were starting to sink your teeth into what you thought was going to be a great battle. In one particular level you fight though an area on foot and emerge from a building to see a tank waiting for you. You board it and get all giddy – tanks in games always seem to do that – you then play for another minute having fun in your new tank and the level then abruptly ends leaving you to witness a cutscene that leaves you particularly ‘tankless’ as you start the next section of the story. Another complaint is the fact that the Chimera are not really all that smart. Sure, they do seem intelligent at times and attempt to use cover but they never seem to want to work as a team and all have the singular, most basic, thought of just killing you regardless of what’s happening around them. Therefore any big-time FPS fan will know enough tricks to exploit many of the shortcomings in the AI, and if patient enough this makes the game a cakewalk even at the hardest levels. More AI problems rear there head when comes to your squad mates as they seem to die a lot. In fact by the time you reach the end of the first level you will mostly likely have grown to hate them and just use them as bait to draw a Chimera’s fire before you mow down the enemy with a handy assault rifle. It does not even matter if the ‘bait’ dies as another will appear very soon down the line.
Visually the game looks very clean with very little bugs or inconsistencies which helps to add to the immersion but crucially it seem to lack any sense of an awe factor. The main reason for this seems to be that even though the game looks pretty, most of the locations and human characters on show have a very generic feel to them. Even after playing the game to completion I still would not be confident to pick Nathan Hale from a line up of similar looking characters. The game will at times get you to say “Wow!” with some of the larger scale battles involving some familiar landmarks and some of the bigger multi-legged enemies but most of the times it is a just a case of been there, done that but it sure does look pretty in this higher resolution.
In terms of audio, things are also top quality but again suffer from feeling very generic. For example guns like the Needler from Halo and Klobb from Goldeneye are still fresh in my head even after months/years of not playing the titles but I’ve already forgotten most of the sounds the guns make in Resistance. Sure, they all were fun to use in the game but the fact that most of what’s on show is almost instantly forgotten, at least by me, after the game’s completion is worrying. Voice work is much better with many nice one-liners popping up from your squad-mates throughout battle. The most talkative character in the game seems to be Rachel Parker and a fantastic job is done of bringing her character to life as she accounts the goings on in the game via cutscenes.
When all’s said and done, the game is still loads of fun to play; particularly through split-screen co-op. It does alot of things right but crucially the biggest problem is that it does not live up to the hype it created. There is no denying that Insomniac have crafted a good FPS with some smart ideas but when playing you always feel they could have done so much more. All things considered Resistance does very little to stand out from the crowd, and when you compare what Insomniac have done here to what they did with the Ratchet and Clank series on the PS2 over the past few years it just feels like a solid experience when it should have been spectacular.
Fun to play, but it won’t be on many GOTY lists come the end of the year.