Resistance: Fall of Man Preview
Sony has always relied on strong third-party support, but with the release of the PS3, it seems SCE has taken the initiative to provide consumers with something truly special. Hyped as being a potential "Halo-Killer, Insomniac's Resistance: Fall of Man is likely to be a major highlight of the launch lineup. In fact, if all current information is accurate, it's got a darn good chance of being the cornerstone of that lineup.
Creators of the acclaimed Ratchet and Clank franchise, Insomniac is a well-established and respected name in the industry. However, there has been some speculation regarding the team's choice in their PS3 debut, primarily because they have little experience in the first-person shooter genre. The naysayers have wondered if they can approach the competitive FPS circle with enough moxy, but after months of updates and details, it seems we needn't have worried. Resistance is shaping up to be one heck of an experience.
The story is one of historic fiction, and focuses on an invading alien race known as Chimera. In the 1930s, Russia somehow became separated from the rest of the world, and during this time, the hostile race flourished and began prepping itself for world domination. Enter 1951, where they've embarked on their sinister mission, and England steps up its arms to meet the enemy head-on...thus forming the core of the "resistance."
The main character is American soldier Nathan Hale (history buffs should get the reference), who was left for dead after the Chimera annihilated his unit. But he miraculously survives the attack, and is more than ready to dive back into action. The game chronicles the events that occur thereafter, and the plot unfolds through both traditional cut-scenes/FMV and also by the player discovering tidbits of information in the environment. As many of these details concern the future, not necessarily addressed in the game, Insomniac is hinting at a sequel (or two) down the road.
The gameplay will likely focus on Insomniac's strengths, and one of those strengths has always been their ability to create imaginitive weapons. You can expect to see a large arsenal in this one, and the team has worked to implement a great deal of strategy regarding firearm selection. If you choose the wrong one at the wrong time, the "fall of man" may come about sooner than you anticipated. For example, you'll have access to Chimeran weapons like the Auger, which fires a concentrated bolt of electricty that cuts through both flesh and solid objects like a hot knife through butter. But because the enemy has access to the exact same arsenal, and because different foes have different weaknesses, the player must think before blasting into battle.
In addition to weapons that will include rifles, unique grenades (the Hedgehog is a cool one), and up-close-and-personal blaster-types, the game will also feature some very spiffy AI. Sure, you'll have the alien brutes whose only goal is to separate your head from your shoulders, but you'll also deal with enemies who use their head before attacking. Some will duck for cover, others will team up to flank you, and still others might just surprise the hell out of you, as the hunter becomes the hunted.
Next, we have to talk about the technicals. Ever since the spring, Sony has pushed this game as being a good PS3 representative. In other words, it should be awfully pretty. Tom Price, Insomniac president and CEO, currently has a blog going to update our eager eyes with more info, and one of the things we've heard is that the game was specifically designed with the PS3's architecture in mind. Price's quote was initially misconstrued as meaning the game could "only run on the PS3," but he clarified a few weeks ago; it was simply developed expressly for the PS3, that's all.
That being said, they're really straining to take full advantage of the system's inherent power. By separating the game's subsystems into individual SPUs on the Cell, they've been able to put the details through the roof, and ratchet up the particle effects to true next-gen form. On top of this, Resistance will boast 256 times the pixel and textures of one of Insomniac's PS2 titles, and over 400 character animations (compared to maybe 30 on the PS2). If this doesn't get you salivating, nothing will.
Lastly, we tackle the multiplayer and online portions of the game, which are equally - if not more - impressive. You'll have split-screen co-op offline (complete with co-op specific events and encounters), and up to 40 players online at once in several different gameplay modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Meltdown, and Breach. One of the most intriguing facets of the online multiplayer centers on the fact you can play as either the humans or the Chimera, with each side presenting their own strengths and weaknesses. As a Chimeran hybrid, for example, you'll be able to use Rage mode, which allows you to move extremely quickly and see through walls. However, this ability can only be used sparingly, and if abused, will sap valuable strength and energy.
It's about fast-paced action that includes tactics and strategy, it's about never-before-seen special effects, it's about involving and diverse multiplayer and an intense, story driven single-player, and in the end, it's the most anticipated PS3 title to date. So now that you're fully informed, you may want to mark down Resistance: Fall of Man as your first must-play game for the PS3.
9/18/2006 Ben Dutka