New generation consoles launches are fickle times. For every ’Super Mario 64’ there is a ‘Marky Mark: Make My Video.’ For every ‘Soul Calibur’ there is a ‘PerfectDark Zero.’ Having an original and exciting title to boost sales is essential. For the New Zealand launch of the Playstation 3, that game looks to be Resistance: Fall of Man.
Resistance is a Sony’s flagship first-person shooter for the Playstation 3. The game is set in an alternate world in which the Second World War never occurred; yet Europe was overcome by an even more deadly threat: the Chimera. Told in a flashback style, the game is presented through a series of vignettes, narrated by a British female army officer. You play the game as an American officer, Nathan Hale, who is somehow the only survivor of an alien ambush on his platoon. Not only that, but Hale has started to develop some peculiar attributes. You must lead Hale through a series of ever more difficult missions, both on foot and within one of the many Halo-like vehicles scattered through the ravaged English battlefields. The Insomniac title comes with a fair degree of pedigree, these guys are the creators of the Ratchet and Clank series on Playstation 2, so expectations were high from the get go.
A very militaristic approach to the menu screens mean that they can be a little underwhelming, offering the player either Campaign, Co-Op or Online modes. But once the game is launched proper, fans of the genre will feel comfortable and at ease with the intuitive controls. The game presents numerous intelligent creatures and environmental objects that will impede your progress through the campaign. Despite enemy hordes fanning out across the battlefield, the frame rate remains constant and the dark atmosphere ever oppressive. The game relies on washed-out textures to replicate the misery and horror of historical combat so pales slightly when placed against the crisp colours of a Lost Planet or Gears of War; but the graphics still go a long way to hinting at what the Cell processor could be capable of.
The game borrows slightly from other successful shooters (Half-life 2 and Halo come to mind) but it seems more like homage than a blatant rip-off. Vehicle sequences give a refreshing change of pace while moving the action quickly through some massive zones. The game can occasionally feel like its on rails, moving through a linear and predetermined course, yet the enemy AI means that each level and mission can be played through several times with different permutations, utilizing different tactics and weapons.
It’s the weapons, the beautiful glorious weapons that really make Resistance tick. Each weapon is unique in its own way: the Bull’s-eye gives you homing bullets, the Auger can shoot through walls and the sniper rifle can slow down time. Every weapon will be vital in order to finish the campaign and need to be mastered if players want to be able to foot it online.
Sonically Resistance follows the FPS standards, providing above average voice acting and good audio clues to the keen-eared player. Players who listen closely will be able to hear the crunching of enemies’ boots on gravel or the whine of an air-fuel grenade before it explodes, giving them that split-second extra preparation time. Players will be keen to play through the game more than once because of the inclusion of new weapons and hidden goals to unlock. The campaign can also be completed using two-player co-operative mode which gives players an even better example of the PS3’s graphical abilities, with both screens running full speed the entire time. Although Resistance possesses a fine and satisfying single player experience; the game really ups the enjoyment level when taken online through the Playstation Network.
Upon opening up the online screens, players are met with the option to go with either Ranked or Custom. Custom makes it a lot easier to find the game you want and jump straight in, giving a list of every available game and giving you the option to create your own. Ranked games, on the other hand, mean waiting while the network checks nodes and tries to find players, but has the benefit of counting toward your official resistance stats. Excelling at ranked games will progress you through the 60 ranks all the way from Private to the enviable Supreme Commander, each rank giving your character more customizable options through the Soldier Load out.
Up to forty players can be present in a single game and despite the heavy numbers; the game has never lagged for me at all. Intelligent and devious fellow players make the online experience a must-try; the gameplay is frenetic and compelling, with various amounts of selections (one-hit kills, damage multipliers, radar, weapon and race selection) the choice of game seems almost endless. Resistance’s online play and overall re-playability pushes the title into the forefront of the Playstation 3 launch titles and should fly off the shelves come March 23rd.
• The weapons are out-of-this-world, great fun to use and master, while being easy enough to pick up for the uninitiated.
• The Online play is easily the best of the launch titles, with the developers providing new maps and patches to keep things interesting.
• The graphics can be a little muted, especially when running through the standard AV cables.
• Getting owned online for the first couple of weeks is going to be frustrating.