[25 April 2007]
Sony should have had a “killer app” available for the PlayStation 3 launch. It should at least have one by now. It doesn’t. Resistance: Fall of Man is the closest thing to a “killer app” the PS3 has. Resistance is a superb console first-person shooter (FPS) that is a necessity for anyone who owns a PS3, if you want to do more with the system than admire it’s beauty.
You are Nathan Hale, and you are thrust into the European Theatre of WWII. You are (predictably) a badass White American with survival skills far superior to your Euro counterparts, and these skills pay off in the form of cut scenes narrated by a woman possessing an English accent that just happens to be quite sexy. She tells the audience what’s up. Creatures called the “Chimera” have come out of nowhere and have started attacking the allied forces. It’s up to you, just you, to kill off hordes of Chimera while uncovering the secret to their success and the explanation for their hideousness. The real reason they’re ugly? Because it’s easier to kill something once you dehumanize it. You start off the game being dropped off from a helicopter onto the edge of a battlefield and have to machine gun your way to pass the first level to find an alien weapon and possible regenerative powers. Plotwise, that’s all I’m going to be spoiling for you. This is a FPS, and it’s all about shooting things, spilling blood, and the weapons you get to spill the blood with.
When it comes to these three categories, Resistance does not disappoint. One complaint is the gimmicky element of the shake function. For the PS3, Sony ditched the rumble packs and developed the SixAxis technology. All this means for video game players is that instead of the controller rumbling whenever we are hit or around a collapsing building, the programmers have added some seemingly intuitive features that will only be used twice in the whole game. For example, shaking your controller shakes enemies off of you, but if you’ve ever played a FPS before, you’ll never ever need to use this feature, and if you haven’t, you’ll panic and maybe shake the controller as a natural reaction to being startled. NBA Live ‘07 also suffered from some useless motion sensitive controls and it’s hard not to wonder if this will be a common motif in non-motorized vehicle games on the PS3.
That complaint aside, this game delivers in the variety and monstrosity of the enemies you will face. Not to ruin things too much, they range from big to small and from very humanoid to Resident Evil 4. The AI is annoying, which is a good thing. Many times, I would try to hide behind a barrel, only to find that my target was also hiding behind a barrel, but that the target had a friend and that friend was shooting me from the other side. It’s not so easy to hide or to kill. This is a basic feature of top tier shooters, but the superior AI makes it more rewarding when you dispose of enemies.
Speaking of the disposing of vile aliens, the blood physics in this game are ridiculous. Word on the street is that this game has Playstation 2.5 graphics, but the game still looks amazing. Enemies drop satisfyingly and you can do the usual “hit them while they’re down to see their bodies twitch” thing that is kind of sick, but that everyone does the first time they kill something in a FPS to make sure the enemy is down for good. The physics in general are good; the level where you have to run and float on top of tunnels as the passageway becomes blocked is a particular standout in this department.
Different enemies are killed more quickly using certain weapons, but I always find myself using either the machine gun you start out with or the Luger, which gains power as it shoots through walls. This doesn’t make much sense to us humans, but the aliens came up with it so I’m going with whatever their explanation is for how the gun works. The secondary fire of the Luger is also great, as it’s a shield. Enough said. Ammo conservation is a problem, especially when you’re down to a gun that shoots what can be best described as “balls that make a funny noise when you shoot them”, but that are supposed to be some kind of explosive. That gun isn’t useful for a shootout, so if you find yourself down to just that, you should just die and rethink your strategy. There are also standbys like the Sniper Rifle, Missle Launcher, and an assortment of grenades like the hedgehog, which shoots spikes (like in that movie Eraser, which wasn’t a good movie except for the hedgehog grenades in it). The sniper rifle even has a cool “GTA” feature which lets you slow everything down so that you can focus your aim and try not to get shot while doing so.
Aside from the control specifics, this is still a Sony system and there is an online mode for this game. Those two words, “Sony” and “online”, never mix well in the same sentence. I am assuming and hoping that Sony is still developing their online experience, as it’s the one thing that Microsoft can say they kick Sony’s ass in, when it comes to gaming. Does anybody remember Killzone? Exactly. This is a great game to play with your friends on the same system, and there is room for 7(?) controllers, so maybe we can hope for Sony to roll out a game that can be played by 7 people, but only on a fifty-foot HDTV.
Still, as far as first-person shooters go, this is easily one of the best out there. Get it if you have a PS3, and if you don’t, this isn’t any reason to get one; when that killer app does come along, however, you’ll certainly want to get this game along with it…unless, of course, that killer app is Resistance: Fall of Man II.