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April 12, 2007
Resistance: Fall of Man - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
23/3/2007SonySonyInsomniac Games1-42-40
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Levels are stunningly detailed.
Every system launch needs at least one big title - but the PS3 has two key titles from Sony. The first is the wonderful off-road racing game MotorStorm from Evolution Studios while the second is this First Person Shooter from Insomniac Games, Resistance: Fall of Man. This game was first shown at E3 2005 and was known as I-8 for a while before its official title was announced. Even in May 2005 the game looked brilliant, but E3 2006 last May it was jaw dropping with only a few question marks remaining over the title. It's now March 2007 and the game is in stores. How does it fare? Well read on. We'll start with the story...

The year is 1951. In an alternate 20th century, Europe has fallen to the Chimera, a mysterious race that appeared in Siberia and is destroying everything in its path. Britain is almost overrun, with just a few pockets of resistance holding out. Mankind’s only hope is for America to launch a last-ditch operation to turn the tide.

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Yes, this is in-game.
You are Sergeant Nathan Hale of the 1st Regiment, US Army Rangers. Your mission is to lead the last stand against the Chimera. Your chances of coming back aren’t good – in fact, it’s almost a suicide mission. The Chimera possess incredibly effective technology and a virus that will mutate your dead comrades and turn them against you. You’ll be going in with just your reflexes, your will to survive – and an array of the most destructive weaponry the world has ever seen.

So Resistance: Fall of Man is primarily a First Person Shooter with the single player Campaign mode set across 30 missions. The game starts off at a fairly leisurely pace so you can get used to using the weapons including guns and grenades. The range of weapons is quite impressive with well over a dozen on offer including Rossmore 236 shotgun, the L209 LAARK rocket launcher, the L23 Fareye sniper rifle, the XR-005 Hailstorm chaingun, and the XR-003 Sapper sticky-mine launcher. Each weapon has a primary and secondary fire method, with a few even having a tertiary fire mode. There are also several types of grenade including Frag Grenade, Air Fuel Grenade which fills the air with fuel and then ignites it), and the very awesome Hedgehog Grenade which sends out 50 darts in all directions impacting anything in their path. The physics and CPU power to compute these darts must be phenomenal, but there is no hit on performance at all!

As you progress through the levels you'll encounter over a dozen different Chimera enemies each of which acts and reacts differently. In some sections of the game you will encounter other humans being attacked. If you can save them then they will assist you fighting the Chimera for the next section of the game. If you fail, they'll be killed and you're on your own. The physics in the game is pretty good. Boxes and objects can be smashed. Windows shoot out accurately. One bullet hole will do nothing, a second may create a crack between the who holes while a third will often smash out the triangle of glass between the holes. Impressive.

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Some of the mutated enemies.
Now we did say that this game was 'primarily' a FPS because the game does stray from that genre on a couple of occasions. You'll occasionally be able to jump into a Razorback fast attack vehicle (basically a jeep) to tear around a level, or a Wolverine tank, or Chimeran Stalker but those levels are few and far between.

Being on the PS3 there are times when enemies grapple with you and you will have to use the Sixaxis’ motion sensing to repel their attacks. By shaking it around you will force the enemies away from you so you can then blast them with your weapons. Unfortunately these attacks are to few and far between to become a major part of the game which is a shame. Indeed over the entire 15-odd hour game we only had to wrestle enemies on 5 or 6 occasions.

As a single player title Resistance: Fall of Man is quite an experience, but it's certainly not the best part. By far the best part is the multi-player options and modes. Firstly Insomniac Games have included an offline co-op mode so you and a friend can complete the game together. If that's not enough there's also a 4-player split-screen mode for offline competitions.

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Enemy design is impressive.
As you guess it though it's when you get online that this game comes into its own. When you first get online you have to download an update for the game which runs in at about 80MB so make sure you have a bit of time to spare the first time you connect online - it took us about 5 minutes to download and install the update. Not content with 8-players, or 16, or even 32-players online as is often the maximum in PC and XBox 360 games, Insomniac have gone ballistic and included support for up to 40-players online! That's phenomenal. While we are yet to participate in a 40-player game we have taken part in matches with over 30 players - and it was trouble free! Online game modes include Deathmach, Team Deathmatch, Breach, Meltdown, and Capture the Flag. In the coming months Insomniac will likely be releasing more add-ons (either free or for a small fee) that will add more modes and functionality to the impressive online mode. Best of all, playing this game online - as with all PS3 games - is free!

So criticisims. Although close, this game isn't perfect. I was disappointed in the linearity of many of the levels. There weren't nearly enough buildings to enter and use as covering areas. There were also so many opportunities to include hidden areas or rooms that are never used. The placement of power-ups such as health and ammo is unrealistic and far too forgiving on the two easiest difficulty levels. Why would you load up a hanger with power-ups in the middle of the room when there is a medical center that is stripped bare? I also felt that the locations were all a little too similar. I would have loved to see some action in forests around England, or in some more as-yet undestroyed locations that as slowly destroyed as the battle rages on. Still, this is minor nit-picking in an otherwise brilliant title.

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You can even shoot off enemy coolant hoses!
Graphics are what make next-gen titles stand out and there is little doubt that Resistance: Fall of Man is exactly that, next-gen. Not only does the game throw dozens of enemies Chimera and friendly soldiers in a single area, but also litters the world with battle torn buildings, massive explosions, bullets and shrapnel, smoke and a tonne of other effects all in glorious 720p but most impressively, no matter how much is being thrown around the level, the frame rate never skips a beat. Each of the (over a dozen) different enemies look wonderful, as do the friendly soldiers and their animation, while a little rough is still quite impressive.

Cinematics in Resistance: Fall of Man are fairly brief with many of them simply consisting of static images with a voiceover detailing the next phase of the mission or storyline. At times though there are cinematic cut scenes showing Nathan Hale. I actually expected a bit more in this department, but given the time constraints, and the need to perfect the gameplay and engine I can overlook this.

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Using the awesome hailstorm gun.
Audio in this title is superb. The difference that Dolby Digital 5.1 with THX certification makes over traditional Stereo or even Dolby Pro Logic II is immense. You'll now hear enemies coming from all directions, and it certainly assists you in the game in locating enemies attacking you. I would have liked a bit more speech throughout the levels, but as you are by yourself through the majority of the game it's understandable. Music has been composed by David Bergeaud and is quite stirring changing pace with the action at key moment. The effects are where this game does shine. The bullets and explosions will immerse you in the battlefield like few other games prior to this.

Resistance: Fall of Man is a stunning first generation title. It really put almost every PC First Person Shooter to shame, and if this is a first generation title I just can't wait to see what else is around the corner, including Insomniac's next title which is the brilliant looking Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction which is due for release around Christmas. Unless you have an absolute disliking for this genre then there is no reason not to add this stunning title to you collection.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSStunning graphics from start to finish with a silky smooth frame rate. Truly a next-gen title.
SOUNDSolid music and speech but it's the effects and Surround Sound that makes this game.
GAMEPLAYFrantic in single player, but online this game is taken to a new level.
VALUEAs one of the cheaper PS3 launch title, this is probably among the best value with online set to last months.
OVERALLResistance: Fall of Man is a wonderful launch title for the PS3. Not only does it show off the power of the system, but has plenty of great gameplay, and super multi-player modes as well. An essential purchase.

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