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Resistance: Fall of Man Review

Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: November 17, 2006 Also On: None

On November 17th the minority of those purchasing a PlayStation 3 for their own gaming experiences and not for profitable online auctioning had the chance to play one of the best first-person shooters in years. During my splendid time with this video game I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to other games, as Resistance has a lot in common with great games like Halo, Half-Life, Call of Duty, and even Gears Of War. It takes some of the best aspects from each of these games and molds an experience that shouldn’t be missed by PlayStation 3 owners or shooter fans. Insomniac’s Resistance: Fall of Man might be the only worthy exclusive PlayStation 3 game for quite some time, and if you’re sporting a PlayStation 3 in your home, Resistance should be spinning inside of it! Viva la Resistance!

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Resistance’s storyline is set in an alternate reality. It’s the 1950’s, but not the hip-thrusting Elvis Presley days that demonized generations to come. World War II never took place, and terrorizing the eastern world in place of Adolf Hitler and his fellow Nazis is a terrifying race of aliens known as the Chimera. The Chimera have all but seized Asia and most of Europe. The only hope for humankind seems to be in the trigger finger of the U.S. Army’s Nathan Hale, a brutish but speechless soldier who instead lets his guns do the talking. Unfortunately, none of the game’s characters are developed much more than what was just explained. With a few spoilers avoided, it should be said that you probably shouldn’t be playing Resistance for a gripping storyline. No, you should instead be playing it for the thrilling ride that you haven’t felt since Halo.

Resistance’s 30 levels are among the most intense and entertaining in a virtual form. As Hale you’ll fight endless amounts of Chimera forces in war-torn cities, wet and twisty Chimera caves, and large, vegetated European fields. There are more than eight weapons to take out the multiple kinds of Chimera located in each level. Truth be told, those latter two factors are what make Resistance worth your holiday cash. Resistance: Fall of Man’s armory isn’t equipped with a single pea-shooting pistol; in fact, all eight of the weapons you’ll find in your first play-through are extremely useful at several points through out the game, if not throughout. They all also feature a secondary fire mode. You’ll start the game with the always-trusty M5A2 Carbine rifle, which has plenty of range to take out enemies from afar as well as a grenade launcher attached to take out small groups of pesky Chimera. You’ll find the Bullseye, which allows you to shoot around corners and from behind cover at exposed enemies. Then there’s the Rossmore 236, a shotgun with a double-power, double-shot blast that sends anything pesky to a bloody spot on the floor. The Auger lets you shoot shells through walls, and through each solid barrier the round becomes even more deadly. Even more interesting is the XR-003 Sapper that allows you to plop organic mines throughout a room that can be detonated on enemy contact or with the press of the alternate fire button. It would be unfair to forget mentioning Resistance’s four types of grenades, from the standard but trusty fragmentation grenade to the gruesome, needle-spewing Hedgehog grenade.

The enemies that you’ll kill with Resistance’s arms are almost as entertaining as your tools themselves. The game is benefited strongly by having A.I. that will outright punish you if you decide to take a rest and wait around behind cover. They’ll flank. They’ll get into better positions. They’ll run from your grenades. They’ll simply pursue you until one party is on the ground, dead as dirt. The standard fodder, the Hybrid, is a common foe throughout the game. Up-close-and-personal pests called Menials will slowly stalk you through corridors, lurching at you and lashing at your helpless character while you shake the SIXAXIS maniacally to shrug off the leeching enemy. Grey Jacks will run at ridiculous speeds to slash at you with their claws. The Flood Parasites from Halo have met their match, Resistance’s Crawlers and Rollers are an equally if not more annoying and pesky foe, as they explode out of nests or crawl seemingly out of nowhere to rush your position and overpower you. Every Chimera foe is fearsome and can take you out if you don’t use good tactics, take advantage of each weapon, and learn to fight well in your environment.

Distractions from the corridor-crawling and room-clearing include several highly-entertaining vehicular sequences. Not since Halo have these action-packed sequences been done so well. Driving jeeps, tanks, and even the Chimera’s own spider-like Stalker robots is simple enough while pressing a single button allows you to jump out of the driver’s seat to man a powerful turret or sit in the passenger’s seat and fire away with your own weapons.

All in all the single-player campaign is a lengthy one; even lengthier than Halo 2 and Gears of War. It’s also made highly replayable by unlockable weapons and even secrets that can be earned by finding “Skill Points.” Skill Points are earned by doing some sort of action throughout the game, and in more cases than that, in a specific level. For example, shortly after finding the game’s L23 Fareye sniper rifle you can earn Skill Points if you shoot the heads of a certain number of Hybrids. If you “corpse hump” 15 dead Hybrids or incinerate an entire group of enemies with the fiery Air-Fuel Grenade, you’ll earn some more. On top of all of this, there’s an entire online multiplayer setup that allows 40 players to play in six different game modes. A cool bonus is that each gamer can choose between human characters or Chimera characters, and each race yields different strengths. The Chimera can enter a short frenzy where they’re more powerful than normal, while humans can sprint away from oncoming enemies and bullets.

The PlayStation 3’s visual capabilities are shown quite well with Resistance: Fall of Man, with its highly-detailed environments, fluid animations, impressive and intricate character models, and well-done cinematic sequences. The deadly Chimera models are alone worth praise, but the only problem is that there seems to be a slight artistic identity crisis; the 1950’s environments and the science fiction Chimera set pieces conflict quite a lot. Still, fiery explosive effects and other particle effects round out a fantastic visual performance that looks nothing less than stunning on any high-definition set. The sound is also well worth mentioning; sound effects rip right out of the speakers while appropriate action- and emotion-based music will fill in as background ambience.

All in all, flaws are few and far between. There were a few frustrating times throughout the campaign where checkpoints seemed too spread out and sometimes there were just a few too many super-annoying Crawlers to kill. Ammo seems to be a very, very rare commodity, while health items aren’t. Resistance: Fall of Man is as good of a flagship launch title as Sony could ask for. Insomniac has proven itself for a few years with their Ratchet and Clank franchise, and Spyro the Dragon before that. Resistance: Fall of Man shows that the developer also has a talent for first-person shooters, and a keen ability to make a whopping next-generation video game. Resistance: Fall of Man is the PlayStation 3 game to own.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9.5
Final: 9
Written by Cliff Review Guide