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In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Resistance: Fall of Man 
(Sony for PlayStation 3)

By Michael Palisano

As Playstation 3's premiere launch title, Resistance: Fall of Man has much riding on its shoulders, and the game delivers an intense, polished shooting experience with some ingenious design choices. The world you inhabit is rich in detail and looks fantastic in HD. It definitely showcases the PS3's power. Resistance's gameplay stands out with unique level design, smart enemy AI and bevy of cool weapons. The solo campaign is quite intense, offering just the right balance between hardcore shooting and engaging storylines. Multiplayer is likewise robust with multiple modes and support for 40 players. Resistance: Fall of Man is polished, entertaining and challenging, but does this polish represent a quantum leap forward is it this just another flashy FPS? Look inside and find out.

Set in an alternate past, Resistance: Fall of Man sets up an interesting storyline. Instead of defeating the Nazi's after World War II, the world faced an even bigger threat in the form of an alien invasion. Called the Chimera, these evil beings ruthlessly assimilated and converted mankind to their cause, making themselves stronger and more numerous with each human killed. These aliens began their relentless insurrection in Russia and gradually conquered much of Europe before heading towards the final human resistance forces in England. Now, even this lonely island has come under this assault. Resistance: Fall of Man puts players in the role of Nathan Hale, the sole-survivor of the alien infestation, who survived for reasons unknown while hundreds of his fellow soldiers succumbed to the infectious assault. The game starts off with a stunning opening level where you watch a brutal assault an English town unfold. As you and your fellow soldiers run a gauntlet through the savaged streets, you watch buildings on fire while a relentless noise of missiles and explosions surrounds you. You are under assault from the moment you set foot on the ground, the Chimera attack on sight, leaving you little option but to fire back. Using the weapons is fairly simple, with targeting requiring little more than aiming in the right direction. You can zoom in using the scope, and each is equipped with both primary and secondary fire modes.

One of the key elements that can make or break an FPS is its arsenal. Resistance's developers understand this basic fact and have provided the player has an excellent selection of standard human weapons, and Chimera arsenal, which can be picked up from your fallen enemies. The ingenuity and creativity of Resistance's weaponry is fairly impressive and includes everything from standard pistols to machine guns. You can also use several types of grenades and much more. There are multiple types of foes here as well, ranging from human-type monsters, to squiggly bugs and boss creatures, which keeps you on your toes throughout the missions. In addition, Players can switch weapons quite easily using the shift buttons. This comes in handy, since different situations and enemies need different types of weapons. In addition, at several points, you can take control of vehicles such as tanks and jeeps to traverse the levels faster. Controlling these vehicles is a seamless transition, making it easy to go from foot to wheel. Between the selection of weapons, their impressive use and the massive level design, the single player mode in Resistance offers an impressive shooting experience with plenty of depth and challenge.

Resistance's level designs are quite impressive, and range from desolate, ruined cities to the insides of Conversion plants. There's a combination of claustrophobic corridors, open areas and all out battle arenas in the levels which keeps the intensity levels high throughout. Playing through the levels can be a little daunting at first, with enemies seemingly lurking around every corner, but as you become accustomed to the environments and controls, things begin to come into better focus. At some points during the game, you'll have other soldiers at your side who can offer some assistance, but these others never seem to stick around for very long, leaving you to fight the Chimera alone for the most part. The levels are crawling with enemies who are relentless and call in reinforcements the moment they detect you. Encountering one can quickly lead you into an intense firefight. Each level offers scattered health and weapons power-ups along with other items such as power-bricks. Shooting these from afar causes a massive explosion, which can take out any nearby foes. During your mission, you'll come across papers that contain intelligence information, which can be quite useful in gathering tactical advantages for the coming fights while also helping to flesh out Resistance's compelling background narrative. Speaking of which, the plot that unfolds between levels is compelling in its pacing and interest. We won't spoil it here, but there are some surprises in the Chimera's origins and technological techniques in reproduction that make them a daunting enemy. These intersectional vignettes are nicely done in a sepia tone and narrated effectively, to help to underscore the sense of doom and seemingly impossible odds you face. The production values of these are superb, though they don't really showcase the PS3's vaunted Cell processor effectively.

The good news on the aesthetic front comes in Resistance's in-game engine, which is smooth, polished and highly effective in brining its dystopian reality to life. The level of detail in objects is quite impressive, with shattered glass, broken walls and creaky floors evoking a war zone with immense levels of detail. Adding realism is the character animations, which showcase a remarkable level of detail in facial expression and movement that suspends disbelief at certain points. Resistance gives off an aura of quality throughout with superb light sourcing, detailed texture mapping and a smooth frame rate that makes the game feel effortless. The sounds are also smartly implanted with large, booming explosions reverberating through the air in some areas. Listening closely, you can sometimes hear the Chimera grunting through walls and the distant screams of humans being converted, which adds a layer of disconcerting horror to what would ordinarily be another mindless shooter. Distinct from this is the AI, which while not as intelligent with your fellow soldiers and enemies as one would like, still presents the player with quite a number of intense obstacles. Likewise, the game's impressive physics engine allows for some impressive effects where shots ricochet off walls, enemies flail through the air and massive explosions rip through the air convincingly. The totality of effect creates an immersive and intense series of battles that brings a new level of smoothness to the proceedings. Resistance: Fall of Man fulfills its basic obligations and creates a glossy, intense shooter, that's perfect for showing off the PS3's graphics and engines, but unfortunately, the game seems to fall a little short in other key areas, which makes it less impressive than it could have been.

Resistance: Fall of Man establishes a solid early benchmark for PS3 graphics and controls well. However, players looking for a true generational leap forward are likely to be disappointed and find a somewhat predictable, linear structure underneath the state-of-the-art visuals. It looks fantastic, but the visuals can't hide the levels that unfold exactly the same way each time you play. The Chimera enemies seem to attack in exactly the same way no matter where you are, making them predictable foes. While a lot of effort has obviously gone into the sheer number of weapons and vehicles in Resistance, most players are probably going to have a strong sense of déjà vu at many points. Of course, that's the price that's usually paid in exchange for graphical polish and speedy development times. This isn't the deepest shooter you've ever played, but its still entertaining and enjoyable in its own right. It lacks complex puzzles or inventive levels, but offers solid gameplay instead. It's easy to criticize the game's lack of ambition, but its still far better than other recent launch titles which fall much shorter of the mark than Resistance. The overall design is excellent, and the attempt at melding a mid-century war game with science fiction is successful for the most part, and this hybrid approach gives the game's storyline a refreshing change of pace from the rather predictable norm. Resistance: Fall of Man won't change anyone's perception about gaming, it's still an impressive launch title that delivers a solidly entertaining experience.

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