Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 11/14/06 | Genre: FPS
Without any first party franchises to launch its latest console, Sony instead turns to its second party developers to turn in a stellar lineup of original games. Resistance: Fall of Man from Insomniac fills the role of appealing to the hardcore action gamer, the one most likely to pick up a PS3 at launch. Were it to come out with lesser graphics for the PS2 or even if it came out 6 months from now for the PS3 R:FoM would be just another first person shooter that gets a lot of things right but doesn’t break the mold.
Taking place in an alternate history where World War II never took place (What was Hitler doing in the 30’s if not invading European nations in the game?) the game takes players through the events of an American liberation attempt of Britain as one Nathan Hale, the only survivor of a Chimera attack – one that has left him with certain... well, his health will recharge (to the nearest quarter tank) and he can use the enemy’s health to replenish what is missing.
R:FoM isn’t told from Hale’s point of view – instead a female British official (whom Hale meets up with) tells the story. An interesting narrative device, but one that doesn’t necessarily work because it doesn’t draw the player in to their role or make Hale sympathetic.
One of the nicer features of R:FoM is the weaponry, an area that this developer does particularly well. There are plenty of weapons on offer, both “standard” as well as those which aren’t human military issue. The weapons keep coming at a regular pace throughout the game and a wide variety of them as well. Alternate firing works as expected and the various grenades also help mix things up a bit. A good balance is struck.
Sadly, a good balance could not be struck with the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks wonderful. It’s just that we have a somewhat monochromatic look to the game. Apparently not many colors survive the Chimera invasion. At times the environments look flat, and at others there’s almost too much detail. This can be forgiven for the most part as a launch title for a new platform.
What can’t be forgiven however is the absolute linearity of the levels. There are unnatural path markers such as doors that won’t open to make sure that players are stuck on the one singular path. It’s hard to get lost when you’re playing along in a tunnel. As a matter of fact, some of the levels are horribly short or just… end. It makes me wonder how much didn’t get done in time for the console’s release.
One of the areas that feels particularly underdeveloped is the vehicles. Not many vehicular activities to be found in the R:FoM, but when they are present, it almost feels like a different game.
Also bothersome is the artificial intelligence. Not that of the enemy, because that’s fairly decent. Instead I am referring to the soldiers that are supposed to be helping along with the fight. “Go ahead, we’ll catch up!” – not something one wants to hear during a war. Get off your ass and help me shoot down the enemy!
I was surprised at how well the game controlled – see, I hate playing first person shooters on the PlayStation 2 because the controller frankly, sucked. The thumbsticks were horrible for the genre. Thankfully the new PS3 controller tightens things up a bit and the whole thing feels less “sloppy” than it could have been. One issue arises when the motion sensitivity of the controller comes into play, because it feels tacked on – instead of moving the tumbstick around like one normally would, players need to shake the controller about. It’s just… not natural and as I said feels tacked on.
What does work is the multiplayer. Up to 40 people can go at each other online. The various match types are fairly standard, nothing really evolutionary to be found here. That’s fine, really. Having a large number going at each other in a multitude of maps is just fine, especially since the online lobbies support as much as they do (clans and such) and this really points to what is possible with the PlayStation 3’s online capabilities. Hopefully Sony will come out with a unified online system to expand on this.
Resistance: Fall of Man also supports split-screen cooperative play, but doesn’t take this online. I would really like to know why that is.
There are some unlockables and bonus items to be found in the game, mostly by performing various achievements in the game to collect points which are to be redeemed. This is fine but unnecessary. Hardcore fans will want to get every last bit they can out of the game. There will be plenty of time since there aren’t a lot of original games for the PS3 yet.
As a launch title Resistance: Fall of Man serves up a nice offering. As a first person shooter it come up a little short. It is, however, the best original PlayStation 3 game of the launch line-up. If you have managed to find Sony’s new console, you should pick up this game as well.