Resistance: Fall of Man will be released as a PS3 launch title, filling the requisite "sci-fi shooter" slot in the bingo card of console launches. At Sony's recent Gamer's Day, I played this PS3 exclusive from Insomniac Games; the areas I saw looked good and played well, but little suggested this would be a new benchmark FPS. Still, it should be a strong PS3 opener to introduce the system.
The Insomniac team didn't say much about the story as I started playing -- something about horrible human-monster hybrids -- but I didn't care. I was there to blow stuff up, and the gameplay held my interest. Resistance felt good as a shooter; the controls were competent, and the action maintained a fast pace, with lots of monsters -- sometimes dozens -- trying to shoot me.
I was already used to the Sixaxis gamepad's minimal heft without rumble motors and weights, but I missed the tactile feedback to signal being hit. Instead, spurts of blood splotched my point of view, like puddles splashing a windshield. Insomniac stayed fairly conservative with motion-sensitive controls; if a monster grabs you or an opponent tags you with a homing beacon in online games, you have to shake the controller to break free. Otherwise, the analog sticks and buttons control the game like other shooters. I liked this setup; I'm sure some developers will try to cram motion-sensitive movements into games when not needed. This use fit the action.
Drab brown colors filled the areas I played, creating a dismal mood; I looked forward to spurts of my own blood to remind me of how the world used to look before this damned monster insurrection. Insomniac said that the game will include many different environments, so the tired browns may not represent the rest of the game. I hope not, because as good as it looked on the HD display, even the post-apocalyptic wastelands need color.
I plodded on, riding an elevator into a tower while my team of soldiers waited for me below; they fought with me on the ground moments earlier, but I guess they didn't think we'd all fit on the ride up. Thoughtfully, they let me go first.
Unfortunately, the elevator led to a catwalk area full of planks between gutted buildings. These monsters must have been more sure-footed than I was, with their extra sets of eyes enhancing depth perception; I frequently fell to my death. Maybe more time with the game would have helped me stay balanced, but I gave up on the fate of the world after a series of non-acrobatic deaths.
It's hard to make a fair assessment of a game in a crowded, loud situation like Gamer's Day. For example, the sound effects seemed okay, but the chaos of other game journalists made me focus on the graphics and gameplay. My initial impression of Resistance is that the game has potential, even if much of it has been done in many other shooters.
The game included a few unique aspects, like creative weapons and big environments with dozens of enemies. Insomniac stressed that the enemies have good AI and work together or retreat like actual human-monster hybrids would, but I didn't have time -- or actual monsters -- to evaluate that claim.
Insomniac also touted the extensive multiplayer modes, with up to 40 people online. Two gamers can conquer the single-player campaign together on the same PS3 in a split-screen game, too. I didn't get to play any of these types, but the cooperative method seems especially suited to the game.
Resistance: Fall of Man owes a lot to Doom and many other shooters; its enemies and setting are familiar. But if it succeeds in its pacing and gameplay -- which seems likely -- who cares if it's an innovator or homage?