Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3) – Review

Fall of Man - CoverBeing one of the few console-exclusive games for the release of the Playstation 3, Resistance: Fall of Man, created by Insomniac Games, was heralded as one of the top titles for the system. While the game graphical flexes the muscle of the new console, the game itself falls flat, providing a somewhat above average FPS game with a few interesting weapons and online play, but really not breaking any new gameplay foundations, particularly in light of other recent titles for other systems.

Story: B+

The story in Resistance assumes some alternate history that starts in the 1930s, where what appears to be an alien virus called Chimera (possibly by the Tunguska event in 1908 based on timing and the maps in game) starts to spread rapidly through Russia, creating strange technology and converting humans into soldiers for whatever it’s purpose. Instead of WWII, the world watches as the virus spreads through Europe and eventually making it to Britain in 1950 by tunnelling beneath the channel. The British forces put up a fight but many of the major cities are lost to Chimera. The US launches an attack to assist the remnants of the British army, but many groups are completely decimated by the Chimera, except for one: the player’s character Nathan Hale who manages not only to survive, but appears to have been infected by Chimera, given him somewhat superhuman reflexes and constitution. Lead by the British army, Hale fights his way through the wreckage of cities and trying to destroy the core of the Chimera virus in London.

Gameplay: B

Somewhat unfortunate for the game, Resistance plays like most standard FPS games, particularly with some stylings off of Call of Duty. You fight your way through the Chimera forces, using both conventional weapons of that time period as well as the alien weapons created by the Chimera. You can get hit, but because of the Chimera infection, you can regenerate some health by staying out of the line of fire, though this is broken into 4 segments, and you can only regain health in a section that still has some health in it; full recovery can only be obtained through health vials around the levels. There are times that you’ll be fighting along side a squad, but these people are not under your control and only follow you during certain portions of the game. There’s a handful of vehicle levels, including a jeep, a tank, and one of the alien walking tanks.

Fall of Man - WeaponsWhat may at least make the game somewhat better than a standard FPS is what Insomniac brings in from the Ratchet and Clank series, and that’s rather exotic weapons that don’t have easy counterparts in many other FPS games. While the weaponry of the time (including a machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, and rocket launcher) are pretty much straight forward, the new weapons can be fun at times. For example, one weapon, called the Auger rifle, can shoot projectiles that actually burrow their way through any solid object and gain more power as they do so, thus making it hard for foes to stay in cover. Another weapon has a bulls-eye target that you can shoot opponents with as to cause all shots from the rifle for a short time to converge on that target, including shooting around corners. While during the main game you only collect 4 such weapons and 1 special grenade, there’s additional unique weapons you can get on subsequent runthroughs of the game. Each weapon also has a secondary fire feature appropriate to the weapon; the machine gun, for example, can also shot explosive projectiles, while the shotgun can be either single or double barrel shots. Weapon selection is pretty much also right out of Ratchet and Clank – hold down a shoulder button to bring up a selection ‘wheel’ to pick which weapon you want.

The game is rather linear in both level design and gameplay. There’s about 30 levels in the game, most which are a typical romp through the war-torn England landscape with barriers to only keep you going forward with minimal side areas to explore. A few levels are set up as defensive positions for your human forces as you keep off several series of Chimera attacks, so there’s only a single large area with lots of cover positions to find. Throughout the levels are autosave checkpoints, though after playing games like Call of Duty 3 or Gears of War, they seem rather sparse, as there were several late sections that involved 4 or 5 battle situations prior to a checkpoint that I had to repeat several times.

The AI in the game somewhat ok, but there’s a bit of cheating on the enemy’s side. The enemies rarely work as a group, but each foe has their own tactics if they try to stay back or rush you, so when a group of multiple types of foes face against you, it can be rather difficult. They will also use cover if available, though they don’t try to flank or the like. However, I did notice that foes instinctively knew where you were , even if you were hidden on the level, as they would aim right at you after coming out from a closed door or blockade, or would ignore all the other allies you had to bear their weapon fire directly onto you. However, all the foes are dangerous with the same weapons that you have, including the Auger rifle, so you still have to be quick on your toes. Unlike Gears of War, while you can take cover, you can’t use the cover strategically to make protected fire or flanking maneuvers on your foes.

Value/Replayability: A-

The single player game took me a good 20hrs on the normal difficulty, with 2 other difficulty levels (easy and hard) for a challenge, as well as locating the special weapons that are unlocked after completing the game once. There’s also the ability to play the game cooperatively (though both have to be on the same console to do this), as well as both offline and online competitive multiplayer. This includes 6 game modes; standard deathmatch (individual and team) , capture the flag, two modes similar to Onslaught from Unreal Tournament, and then a mode called “Conversion” which is similar to the Zombie Counterstrike mod – you all start as humans, but upon your first death, you come back as a Chimera, and then after dying again, you’re out, with the last person standing as the winner. In some of the modes, you play two rounds, one as the human side, the other as the Chimera side, as there are some differences between the two – humans have the advantage of better radar and can sprint, while the Chimera can enter a ‘rage’ mode that allows them to move extremely quickly and inflict more damage, but can cause damage if held in that state too long. The maps are ok, but one should take care to play on maps appropriate for the number of players; for example, playing only 8 players on a map sized for 32 is awfully long match. As with XBL games, there are both standard scrimmage type matches as well as ranked matches that keep your stats throughout play.

Fall of Man - DesignGraphics: A-

The graphics are very good, given that this is one of the lead games for the PS3 and is known to not yet fully use the new hardware to it’s fullest; as such, there’s absolutely no slow down regardless of what’s on the screen at anytime. While the levels themselves are mostly linear, the design of the levels when it comes to a blend of the wreckage of English architecture, natural landscapes, and alien machinery is rather well done. However, there are parts of the alien structure that are almost straight out of Half-Life 2’s Combine structures. Glass breaking effects are actually extremely realistic – spider-webs of cracks will form depending on where and with what you hit glass with, and this is actually fun to play around with for some of the earlier levels. However, much of the game is casted in grey, greens, and browns, with minimal color splashes elsewhere, and can get somewhat old to look at after a while. Selected cutscenes that progress the story, as told as a retelling of events, using a Ken Burns-like approach with yellowing stills and dusty filmstrips.

Sound: B

The sound for the most part is pretty good, but not as immersive as other FPS games. It uses a dynamic music soundtrack, which sort of gives away when a battle is about to start and end, and while generally appropriate for an action game, it can make it easy to know when you can relax off the trigger. Voiceovers that help to identify your mission are just about right, though subtitles also can be enabled if needed.

While a strong title for leading in the PS3, Resistance has two major hits against it. The first is that there’s little difference from this as an FPS compared with other modern FPS games, with the only really new addition being the use of rather unique weapons. More significantly, the game is also hurt by shear timing. With Gears of War a fresh memory, I found numerous parallels between the two games in both story and approach (alien culture attacking and taking over the world, infiltrating underground tunnels to fight them, and so forth). And while the style of the games are different, I felt the tactical aspect from Gears was much more fun from a gameplay aspect. Even if I try to ignore Gears, there’s also Call of Duty 3, which may be more rehashing of the same old, same old, but it dilutes the uniqueness of Resistance. If neither Gears nor CoD3 were out at the same time as Resistance’s release, it might have come off to be a more enjoyable game, but as it stands, it’s not a ground-breaking game by any means.

Overall: B+

While the game is graphically outstanding and does work well as a release title for the PS3, Resistance: Fall of Man fails to break new ground for FPS games. There’s some attempt to provide unique weapon ideas that borrow from Insomniac’s preview Ratchet and Clank games, but the game is primarily linear with AI that can be easy to defeat. Unfortunately, it’s likely at the present time one of the best titles for the PS3 system and does show significant promise for what the PS3 can do with future games.

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4 Responses

  1. i see eye to eye with u on some of the critisizm, but i think u could do a little better on the overall part of the game. i think out of all the reviews and articles ive read on this game, this was the only “negative” one. i played through this game over 10 times, half life over 10 times, and ratchet and clank over 10 times and let me tell u… there is NOT any comparisins between the 3. did u beat it on superhuman difficulty? well i did and it is NOT easy.
    i agree that though it doesnt have some of the cool features that gears of war has, it still sets an amazingly high bar for future ps3 games, and i think u could do a little better job with “top game reviews”.

  2. I don’t disagree the challenge isn’t there (I didn’t play though at the harder difficult, but the base difficulty level was challenging enough). But beyond showing what the PS3 can do graphically, there’s little else that breaks new ground in this game — for being presently the PS3’s only ‘must have’ title, it’s very disappointing. Also, I’d expect more from Insomniac beyond just interesting weapons. Certainly one can say Gears of War is sort of in the same boat, but somehow there’s just enough new and interesting features to make the game a system-selling for the 360; Resistance just doesn’t have enough to sell the PS3.

  3. The game is a lot better then you the ratings you give it.. It can be very hard at some times.. And depending on your TV and PS3 Updates this game can be verrry good as far as graphics and sound.

  4. Nice write-up. Thanks for the imfo.

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