Resistance: Fall of Man
If you’re a fan of games, shooters in particular, you’ll have encountered and slaughtered countless different aliens: the Locust, the Combine and The Covenant are a few that come to mind. Games developers must be running short of names by now, but the creators of Ratchet and Clank, Insomniac Games, have created a new race of terrifying creatures out to pick on our poor planet once again; the Chimera. Unsurprisingly, they haven’t come to our planet in hopes of making any friends, more along the lines of the extinction of the human race. You play as Nathan Hale, a take-no-shit US soldier who’s been drafted to shore up our very own UK’s defences against the rampaging alien menace. Resistance is set in an alternate-reality 20th century, where after the devastation of World War 1, the European Countries banded together creating a Union that prevents the rise of Hitler and ultimately the second world war, meanwhile, Lenin’s revolution was crushed in Russia, leaving the Russian’s under Czarist rule, isolated from the rest of the world. But all is not well in Russia, a strange force appears in the Siberian wilderness (around the same area and timeframe as the Tunguska explosion in 1908), which quickly overruns Russia and continental Europe, before setting their sights on poor ol’ Blighty.
Your first port of call is York, where all your team mates are quickly wiped out by the Chimera, or mutilated, turning them in to Chimeran soldiers. Luckily, our protagonist doesn’t turn in to an alien killing machine, but reacts with the virus in some way, allowing him to regenerate health and gain the ability to use health packs. So with your new-found powers in tow, you set off to rid England of the Chimera, and to do so you’ll need weapons. Insomniac have a reputation for creating innovative weapons after the success of their Ratchet and Clank series and in Resistance they’ve lent these skills to the creation of the Chimeran weaponry. As well as the standard human FPS set of sniper rifles, assault rifles and pistols you’ll get your grubby mitts on a variety of alien shooters. The bullseye is the standard Chimeran weapon- it allows you to tag an enemy with secondary fire, making the primary fire of laser home in on the enemy, wherever they may be hiding, which makes for a new degree of strategy on the battlefield. The Auger allows you to penetrate cover with a devastating laser shot and bring up a shield in the heat of battle with the secondary fire button; the weapons are one of Resistance’s strongest aspects and sets it apart some what from the competition, in a genre where that’s very hard to do.
The game handles like your standard FPS; most guns have a first and secondary fire mode, and when you’re taking a pasting in combat you can take cover to regenerate a portion of your health, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay’s recovery mode you don’t heal fully, only enough to withstand a small amount of hot alien laser to the face. The six axis feature isn’t put to much work, making a brief cameo to shake off Chimera who get too close, or bringing up the map in multiplayer. The Chimera aren’t a stupid foe, they don’t run toward your hot stream of death in a suicidal manner, using cover and putting up a decent fight. Sadly the fighting can become very stale after a while, fighting group after group of identikit enemies soon starts to grate. Thankfully Insomniac decided to chuck in some thrilling set-pieces that break up the monotony of combat and spice up the campaign. The fighting in Manchester is a particular highlight, adding a brilliant edge to the killing action. Some vehicle sections are added in for good measure, although they can feel somewhat underwhelming due to being pretty easy. It’s not that the campaign is bad – far from it in fact, it’s just that the campaign mode is so unspectacular and adds nothing worthy to the overcrowded FPS genre. It feels that you’ve fought some of these battles a thousand times before, not making for a particularly memorable experience for the avid FPS player.
A plus point comes in the way of two player co-op (only available offline) which allows you and a buddy to battle side by side, making the game a lot more forgiving as you’re able to revive one another. Resistance also uses a smart system called skill points, which rewards you with points for doing specific tasks during the campaign such as killing enemies only with Chimera weaponry on a level, adding an extra challenge, intel is also hidden around the levels, allowing the player to gain titbits of information about the Chimera. The game coaxes the player to play through the campaign more than once, offering new weapons after completing the game. You’re looking at taking around 12 hours to complete the game, a decent amount of time for an FPS, and maybe another few play-throughs if you plan on getting the most out of the game.
Another relative disappointment comes in the graphical department; the game is a wash of grey and brown coloured environments- a generic and boring colour palette. The graphics are solid, though, and hold up a decent framerate throughout the game, even when all hell is breaking loose with enemies and allies crowding the battlefield there’s no sign of the dreaded slowdown. But once again – like the gameplay, the graphics do nothing to make Resistance stand out. The audio accompanies the on-screen action nicely, weapons sound like they should and the score kicks in when the action gets going.
So it would seem that a mediocre single player would make Resistance: Fall of Man hard to recommend, but thankfully its saving grace comes in the form of the superb online multiplayer. Resistance’s online can accommodate up to forty players on some maps, a remarkable feat on a console. A total of six different multiplayer game types are available, including: capture the flag, the standard team and normal death match, last man standing, meltdown and breach (which have the two teams battle over different areas of the map). There’s a large selection of maps to fight on, each accompanying varying numbers of players, from the small eight player subway map, to the Manchester forty-player map which makes for some intense and action-packed fire fights. If you tire of the standard maps, there’s two map packs available to buy on the store for around £3 each. Amazingly for a game that can have up to forty people running around on one map, there is next to no lag. You can jump straight in to a ranked game where you earn experience points for kills and wins, or set up your own custom game, deciding on the rules and game type. All this offers such a wide variety of choice that is likely to keep you playing Resistance long after the single player’s done and dusted.
The variation between species implores the player to differ their fighting style depending on what team they land on. Online has you fighting as either a human or a Chimera, with some major differences between the two species, humans are smaller, have the ability to sprint and a handy radar which allows them to detect allies and enemies. Chimeras have the ability to go in to ‘rage’ mode, allowing them to run faster, deal and take more damage. They also gain a thermal-vision like ability, allowing them to see enemies through walls. Rage mode does have a downside, if left on too long it will slowly start to drain the Chimera’s health. Annoyingly, Resistance has its own ‘buddy’ system, making you add all you friends’ PSN names again, hurry up and get the in-game XBM sorted Sony!- but once you’ve added you friends again, you can easily find a game together with the ‘party’ system, much like Halo’s. Voice chat is included, and text chat in the lobby before a game.
Insomniac have delivered a solid, albeit run-of-the-mill single player with a great online mode. While the campaign is nothing to keep you entertained after a couple of play-throughs the well put together online mode will have you playing for much longer. Resistance will fit snugly in any PS3 owner’s collection.