There is one game from the PS3 launch title range that my friends and I have experienced many hours of enjoyment from, that game is Resistance: Fall of Man. Even 5 1/2 years into the lifespan of the PS3 it remains one of my favourite titles for the platform.
The plot is a mixture of alternate history and Sci Fi and is pretty much summed up by the opening cut scene. Russia is sealed off and no information gets in or out. What does eventually get out, however, is an invading army of what appear to be aliens (called Chimera). They quickly overwhelm all of Europe. When the game starts American troops are on their way to York for an apparently vital exchange with British resistance soldiers and are ambushed when they arrive. You play Sargent Nathan Hale as he sides with what is left of the British forces in the fight against what appear to be aliens.
You have probably noticed that I have said “what appear to be aliens” twice now. That is because while the opposing faction look like aliens their origins are never really explained in the game. I understand that their nature is explained in future games but I’m not reviewing them, I’m reviewing this one. And during this game their origin is not delved into, though this is more than made up for by what you learn of their technology and physiology.
The story is a basic one and told effectively. It is delivered in two very traditional ways, cut scenes (which never linger) and intel documents that can be hunted down at your leisure. The intel documents in particular are great for fleshing out the world as you progress and you can learn some fun stuff. Both about the enemy and the culture of the alternate history.
As for the characters they are all as basic as the story. They are all good enough and they have their moments. There is nothing strictly speaking wrong with them there just isn’t anything about them that raises them above other characters in similar situations. What I like about the game is the presentation, the levels are spread through out the UK and Insomniac was wise enough to pick different kinds of location so that the feel of each level had something different about them. You will fight enemies in the ruined city of Manchester or the now, not so sleepy fields of Cheshire, Somerset (for a mental image of Somerset image all of the times an American character has gone to the English countryside and you have a good enough idea of what it is like). The 1950’s atmosphere feels convincing and genuine.
The game feels like it could have been just another war game of the area and in my mind that merely serves to make the presence of the Chimera all the more appropriate as an invading force. The graphics are good and they show a cohesive world despite the mash up of genres. The feeling of basic set up presented well is something that is mirrored in the game play.
The big question facing a lot of games (and particularly) shooters ever since Halo is, health pack or regeneration? Should health be earned or should or it be assumed? Resistance decides to do both and manages to get the best out of both as a result. Your health is divided into four health bars. If you are injured and you avoid getting hit for long enough you will regain health but only enough to fill one health bar. If you lose half a health bar it will grow back, if you lose it all it is gone unless you get a health boost. This means that you will be given room to breath but such room can only be considered a limited resource. If you play sloppily you will be punished for your mistakes. At the same time there is enough hope that if you press on and fight well that you will be rewarded.
The enemies are varied, but more importantly so are the weapons. The weapons continue the theme of mixing a world war 2 aesthetic with alien invasion and you are presented with both human and Chimeran weapons. A common criticism of games like this is that the guns just feel like fancy versions of familiar favourites but that is not true. You do have the familiar favourites for the human weapons but the Chimeran weapons do come with different features that will change how you play. The best examples are the gun that shoots through walls and the gun that fires explosive balls that are very similar (if not identical) to explosive globes fired by one of the more animal like Chimeran enemies (I don’t want to give away the surprise of what it is). Whether you charge on ahead, bait your enemies into account or pick them off one by one will be determined by what weaponry you like to use.
If you are looking for a game that requires little financial investment that will reward you with a lot of replay ability (especially with friends) then I recommend that you buy this game. I give this game 3.5/5+ Well presented, cohesive world + Satisfying array of weapons that do feel like different choices - Not recommended if you want something more complex - The individual characters don’t really stand out, neither are they really explored.