Resistance: Fall of Man
takes place in an alternate universe where, much to the chagrin of many game developers, WWII never took place. In the absence of one big world throwdown, political tensions are running high, allowing a virus-infected race known as the Chimera to slowly take over the world. At the start of the game, the Chimeraís influence has spread from their origin in Russia across to England. You play as Nathan Hale, a solider with the United States Army that is just now getting into the war.
It is really easy to want to compare Resistance to Halo, the current ďstandardĒ when it comes to console first-person shooters. And, while Resistance does stack up well to Halo, it actually shares more in common with another Insomniac game, Ratchet & Clank.
It is an odd comparison, but hear me out. Although the two are completely different genre-wise, Resistance features the same smart level design and attention to craft as Ratchet & Clank. Levels are very linear, but give the illusion that they are bigger than they really are. The effect doesnít come off quite as good as it does in R&C, but levels still follow something of a progressive story from start to finish. Early on, this translates into lots of empty hallways connecting enemy-filled rooms, but later on things begin to open up a bit.
Layout and pacing is also similar. Health and ammo are placed in areas that just make logical sense. It is rare that youíll go long without seeing at least one of either, yet there isnít an overabundance of them. Early on, you gain the ability to heal one health bar, so youíre never left completely desperate. Instead, the regenerating bar simply gives you that little bit of lifeline you need to hopefully make it through to the next area. This also adds a small level of strategy to what would otherwise be a standard shooter. Youíll have to decide when to retreat and heal up during fights. It also makes cover a little more important since youíll want to duck down and heal a bar before popping back up and shooting.
Although most of the game is played as a first-person shooter, there are also a few vehicle levels scattered around. These include tanks, Jeeps and a Chimeran walker that a lot like Deadlockedís Landstalker. All handle really well and feel right. The Jeep is fast while the tank is slow. The only downside is that vehicle levels arenít that common and, with the exception of a Jeep ride a third of the way through the game, arenít that long.
As you progress through the single-player campaign, you can uncover files that offer backstory on the Chimera as well as completing a number of challenges that earn you skill points. These can later be spent on unlockables, like art galleries. The single-player game can be played through as a co-op campaign, completely changing the gameís dynamic. Unfortunately online co-op isnít available, so not as many people will have a chance to experience it.
Resistanceís multiplayer side contains six different online game types. A variety of maps are available that support anywhere from 8 to 40 players. Game types include standards like Capture the Flag and Deathmatch, as well as a survival mode called Conversion, and Breach and Meltdown, where you defend points on a map. The online games I played were lag-free, though I was unable to find a 40-man game. This should pick up once more consoles are off eBay and available to players. Resistance offers clan support, as well as an in-game Friend List. Youíll also earn medals based on your performance during matches.
One of the neat things about multiplayer games is that you can choose to play as either the humans or Chimera. Each plays differently. Humans have access to an in-game radar and sprint ability while the Chimera can enter a ďrageĒ mode where they become stronger, faster and gain the ability to see through walls. Both races seem balanced and teams switch sides between rounds, so if one does have an advantage, both teams have it.