Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: 11/14/2006
Available Exclusively On
Resistance has been one of those games I have always dreaded playing. I picked the game up in 2010, many years after the game’s original release, and it felt dated, even back then, clunky, and absurdly hard. I never finished the game. I finally decided to get back into it and my first regret was not playing this game on easy. This game is so frustrating, unbalanced, and difficult that I wanted to tear my hair out.
Let’s start with the setting and story as Resistance has always had interesting enemies and plot, but Fall of Man does little to really show this in any way. The Chimera is an awesome foe. Similar to Locusts in Gears of War these are the only enemies you will encounter. There are only a few types, but each type has been made carefully so you know what weapons to use in which situations. You play as Nathan Hale a typical generic white bald dude with no voice who is somehow immune to the Chimera infection. He can regen health and survive situations most people can’t. The story is told in the past tense by an army officer and the entire game takes place in England during WWII. I love alt WWII history, and this game had potential.
This also leads me to the game’s art design. It’s so gray and dull. While the Chimera infrastructure designs are really cool, the overall tone of the game is very boring. The graphics are also really dated. This is another HD-era game where it still had one foot in the previous generation. There are also only two other main characters and they aren’t explored, there’s no backstory, who is Nathan Hale? Why should we care about him? Nothing.
Fall of Man’s other strength is Insomniac’s signature awesome weapon design that was carried over from Ratchet & Clank. Each weapon is well crafted and has a unique alt-fire mode. Now I said the weapons were well designed I didn’t say fun to use. The game’s aiming is awful. Incredibly squirrely, a terrible zoom mechanic in which the camera just snaps to the iron sights. This is an example of last-generation design. You can move the camera fluidly or have the gun pulled up to your eyes. The PS3 can handle it, I promise. Now the weapons themselves are fun.
There’s a generic carbine assault rifle that’s the only accurate machine gun in the game. Its alt-fire is a grenade launcher (okay that one isn’t unique). The other assault rifle is the Chimera Bullseye which has a homing tag you can place on enemies and the bullets will fly to them no matter where you aim. The issue with this weapon’s tagging system is the awful aiming! It’s so difficult to get a tag on an enemy. The next weapon is a pump-action trench gun. Its alt-fire is a double shot (okay, again, not very original) but there’s a stupid delay after using for the animation to stop so I didn’t even bother. The next weapon is a giant nail gun of sorts called the Hailstorm. It shoots nails or can launch a need ball and slowly fire them at enemies like a turret. There’s a blob mine gun (every Insomniac shooter has a form of a blob gun) with an alt-fire to just remotely detonate them. There’s a rocket launcher with an interesting pressure-sensitive speed adjustment as an alt-fire mode. There’s a sniper rifle that can slow down time, an infamous auger that can shoot through walls, and has an alt-fire that puts up a shield. While this is a cool gun for the player the enemies make this a living nightmare. It’s impossible to hide or get away from these bullets so you need to take down these enemies first.
There are also a couple of grenade types like the hedgehog grenade which shoots out spikes and an incendiary and explosive grenade. So with the weapons out of the way and explaining how awful it is to shoot them the overall gameplay is insanely difficult, frustrating, and unfair. The checkpoint system is ridiculously unfair. Some levels only had a single checkpoint and the game gets insanely hard fast. Some later levels I repeated about a dozen times until I remembered every enemy placement and knew exactly what weapons to use when. I also hate how the Chimera is just bullet sponges. No one likes bullet sponge enemies. This also leads to awful hit feedback from the enemies. Gears of War did this the best at the time. Animations that show the enemy is hit. The Chimera just stands there and you have no idea if your bullets are connecting. Sometimes I would lay hundreds of rounds into one enemy and it doesn’t help that all the guns are stupidly inaccurate, but the Chimera can hit you from across the map with no problem?
There are only a few moments where you control another vehicle that you get a breather. The constant barrage of unbalanced difficulty and awful aiming coupled with inaccurate weapons just leads to a mostly unfun and unfair experience. There’s literally no reason to play this unless you want to complete the entire Resistance trilogy for some reason. There are other Insomniac staples like Skill Points you can acquire but do an undetermined thing that unlocks multiplayer skins. The servers are long shut-down but I did play when they were up years ago and it’s nothing to write home about. The terrible hit detection carries over and the inaccurate weapons. It’s nothing to miss honestly.
Overall, Resistance is a good start to a series but falls short in a lot of ways. Dated visuals (even at release), gameplay that has one foot in the previous generation, terribly unbalanced difficulty, no-hit feedback from enemies, insanely inaccurate weapons, terrible aiming, bullet sponge enemies, and boring multiplayer. The story isn’t even worth anything to ponder. Resistance has a lot of negatives going for it, but the few redeeming factors are the unique weapons, well-designed enemies, and some interesting interior levels, and the vehicle sections are pretty cool.