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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

First-Person Shooter

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Insomniac

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 17, 2006

 

 

- Interesting setting and back story

- Next-gen graphics and sound bring the story to life

- Online multi-player is better than I could have hoped for a launch title

- Some marvelous weapons from the minds of Insomniac Games

 

 

- A bit derivative of the big FPS franchises (Half-life, Halo, Call of Duty)

- Some of the levels suffer from lack of detail

- Really nothing sets this game apart from FPSs that have come before (with the possible exception of the weapon-design)

 

 

Review: Half-Life 2 (PC)

Review: Call of Duty 2 (PC)

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

 

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Resistance: Fall of Man

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

First, a word about this review.  We at Armchair Empire realize that the Playstation 3 remains nearly impossible to pick up without paying a premium on Ebay or just getting lucky with the shipments that are drizzling out from SCEA.  With that in mind, Iíve attempted to keep this review as spoiler free as possible as Iíd hate to ruin the game for someone who is just dying to play it but canít find a system.  This review will focus on game play and technical issues with only as much plot as could have been gleaned from the pre-release previews.  That said, it is possible that something I see as minor and trivial comes off as a spoiler for someone else.  I think everything is fine, but read at your own risk.

 

Resistance: Fall of Man is the first first-person shooter from Insomniac Games, the mad geniuses behind the Ratchet and Clank games.  Itís dead-serious tone and realistic, gory action might seem odd coming off such a kid-friendly franchise, but Insomniacís effort here proves that they have what it takes to expand into other genres while it gives their penchant for creating ultra-cool weapons another type of showcase.  The gameís story, graphics, level-design, controls, game play, and multi-player support are all excellent and make Resistance easily the best game available at the PS3ís launch and one of the best games of the year.

 

resistance fall of man          resistance fall of man

 

It is pretty common knowledge by now that the gameís story is set in a spooky alternate history (WWII never happened) in which a force known as the Chimera has taken over Europe .  Players play the role of a British soldier in the battle against the Chimera who discovers that he is happily ďimmuneĒ to the plague that the enemy brings with them.  The story is interesting and is played out through 

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both cut scenes and live action sequences (ala the Half-Life franchise).  Throughout the game, the story is compelling and provides a great backdrop for the gameís action sequences.

 

The controls of Resistance are pretty standard console-FPS fare.  The game allows for a good deal of customization, but the default controls

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work great.  The game does not take advantage of the Sixaxis controllerís motion sensors in any substantial way, so the game feels pretty much like it would on a Dual Shock 2.  That said, once I inverted the X-axis, I never once thought about the controls again.  Everything is intuitive and comfortable, and I love the ergonomics of the new controller, especially the new L2 and R2 buttons/triggers.

 

For a launch title, Resistance looks phenomenal.  In fact, some later levels, with snow swirling in the air realistically and increasingly fantastic landscapes, look as good as any game Iíve ever seen.  The creature designs, especially the ďAngelsĒ that appear late in the game are very good.  Other than the fact that some sections of some levels are kind of sparsely detailed gives any hint that this is a first-generation game.  Even with that, the game trails only Gears of War and R6: Vegas as the best looking game of the holiday season.  Supposedly, developers are having trouble getting the most out of the PS3ís myriad processors.  If that is so, Resistance bodes well for what we could see in the second and third generation games for the system.

 

The single-player campaign is divided up into multi-level locations.  All of the levels are divided up into nice, bite-sized chunks with some story and catch-your-breath traveling between action sequences.  This reminded very much of Gears of War (maybe just because Iíve been playing so much of that lately).  When you beat the game and restart, all the locations are available, but you canít jump in at any mid-level checkpoints. 

 

The game play, however, isnít at all like Gears of War, but it is very similar to Call of Dutyówith a bit of Halo and Half-Life 2 thrown in.  There are three drivable vehicles in the game, a Warthog-like jeep, a tank, and one Iíll not mention except to say that it is pretty exciting to get to drive it.  The vehicles control well and intuitively.  The tank drives like a tank, but that is how it should be.  The jeep really does drive like a Warthog, but I guess if it isnít broke, Insomniac doesnít want to try to fix it.  Though it is nothing new, hopping in a tank and raining down death on Chimeran baddies is great fun.

 

resistance fall of man          resistance fall of man

 

Enemy A.I. is pretty simplistic.  The enemies will take advantage of cover, try to flank, react to grenades and such, but they arenít the smartest enemies in the FPS world.  Only their sheer firepower (and the toughness of some of the larger ones) makes the game challenging.  These guys wonít outsmart you, but they my just bash your head in anyway.

 

To keep that from happening, you have at your disposable an impressive array of weapons.  Insomniac is famous for its weapon design in the Ratchet and Clanks, and some of the weapons here would fit well in those games.  That said, these weapons, regardless of how odd, never feel cartoony.  These are serious, kick-ass weapons.  I donít want to spoil any of the cooler ones, so Iíll just discuss my favorite, which happens to be the L23 Fareye (a fairly standard sniper rifle).  The difference in the Resistance version is this one comes with the ability to slow time, Max Payne style, with the press of the L1 button.  Slowing time, lining up a head-shot and watching the enemyís head explode in slow motion is just too cool.  Some of the other weapons (which Iíll choose not to spoil) are weirder and more original, but the visceral thrill of the slow-motion head shot pushes the sniper rifle over the edge for me.

 

The single-player game is great fun and it is about the same length that weíve come to expect from action shootersóeight to ten hours.  Replay value is boosted by the availability of new Chimeran weapons and the ability to dual wield among other things.  Still, the real value of the game is in the multi-player.  For a launch title, Resistance has quite a multi-player arsenal, including 40 player deathmatch and multiple modes of play.  The lobby system allows for finding a game quickly, and even the 40-player matches were smooth and lag free.  We played about four hours straight of online multi-player over the weekend (switching out with GOW on an adjacent TV) and we experienced no lag and saw maybe three instances of other players teleporting, likely do to their connection not the game engine.  Iíll say this about the game.  All three players that were at the gaming session that didnít already own a PS3 left planning on buying one.

 

The overall quality of Resistance: Fall of Man is simply great.  If you own a PS3 and donít own Resistance, do yourself a favor and go get it now.  The single-player is great and the multi-player is even better.  It should be enough game to hold you over to the next batch of PS3 releases hits.

 

- Danny Webb

(December 12, 2006)

 

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