by Matthew Thompson (All images courtesy of the Resistance: FoM page found here)
(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)
Coming into this past generation, Insomniac was second only to Naughty Dog on my favorite developer list. And while I was much more excited to see the Lombax jump into next gen, their new IP for Playstation 3 was something I was curious to check out as well. It was this title, Resistance: Fall of Man, that helped keep me busy during the early months after Sony’s new console launched. Even seven years later, I have lots of great memories of the game that introduced me to the PS3.
Resistance was a big departure for a studio who had most recently developed colorful platformers like Ratchet & Clank and Spyro the Dragon. The drab color palette and grim setting were a far cry from the beautiful alien planets I’d explored in their PS2 series. And the cast of characters wouldn’t exactly fit in with a purple dragon or a wise cracking robot. But there was one common thread for people like me who fell in love with the studio because of their work on the Ratchet & Clank series: creative weaponry. And it was here that Insomniac’s new FPS series would find its identity.
Each weapon came with a clever secondary fire. For some of the more basic weapons, this alternate fire wasn’t particularly inventive, but effective nonetheless. The fairly standard Carbine rifle was equipped with a grenade launcher while the Rossmore shotgun allowed players to fire both barrels at once for some added punch. These secondary fires shined brighter in Resistance’s more creative weapons. The Bullseye allowed you to shoot a tag. If you connected with an enemy with said tag, all your bullets would home directly to the target. Tagging a baddie and quickly sliding behind nearby cover before firing and you could watch your bullets bend to track down your enemy while you stayed out of harm’s way. The Auger’s bullets would shoot through walls and its alternate ability would place a shield in front of you which would protect you from enemy fire while allowing Auger bullets to burrow through and take out the opposing Chimeran forces. The unfortunately underutilized Hailstorm unleashed bullets that would richochet off nearby walls until they pierced enemy skin while its alternate fire sent out an autofiring turret that would unleash a flurry of bullets on surrounding foes. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jak 3’s blaster upgrades when using this armament… which of course was a very good thing.
And that describes only a handful of the game’s unique arsenal of guns. Insomniac’s creative juices also seeped their way into the grenades. The most memorable was the Hedgehog grenade which after thrown acted as a proximity mine of sorts sending quill-like spikes into any foes who approached it. This was good for setting traps or just heaving into a group of enemies during frantic shootouts.
Resistance used all these funky weapons across a few different modes. It packed a lengthy solo campaign filled with memorable moments and large-scale skirmishes. The story wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but I do feel it was the series best. The narration technique worked well and the game featured the introduction of some fascinating lore involving the origins of the Chimera who acted as your main opposition in the series.
I think my greatest enjoyment from the game came through its multiplayer though. While my number 25 choice on this list helped introduce me to online multiplayer, Resistance: Fall of Man allowed me to share my brand new PS3 with friends by way of its excellent local multiplayer. It started with the campaign’s splitscreen co-op which is how I first experienced the game playing through the whole of it alongside my brother. And Resistance’s competitive modes continue to entertain me and friends at get togethers to this day. The fantastic weapons and pickup-style setup made this just my kind of multiplayer FPS while a myriad of scalable maps made it easy to find areas suited to our four-player matches. If only there were bots then this multiplayer would be about as good as it gets.
It also birthed the wonder that became known as Rocket Subway. My friends and I experimented with all kinds of weapon combinations to mix things up. It was on the claustrophobic Subway map that we struck gold. Armed with just rocket launchers on this small map, you were always seconds away from perishing. Climbing the stairs to the area’s central room was something you did cautiously. You never knew if you’d be greeted with a rocket to the face or a rare chance to sprint to its enclosed back room and be the one to pick off the next person who dared ascend the steps. And there was the awful clicking sound that meant you were out of ammo and likely out of luck. What followed was either your certain death or the off chance that someone was in the same dire situation as you. Then you could engage in the awkward dance of death that was a melee battle in this mode. Would you find glory as the winner of such a confrontation or suffer the shame of dying this way. And there was always the possibility that you both were blown away by a third party while you flailed about. These are the joys of Rocket Subway. It’s not the most satisfying way to play Resistance, but it is the funniest. So any time Fall of Man’s disc finds its way into my PS3 on game night, we always finish with a round of Rocket Subway and its always a blast.
Resistance: Fall of Man delivered on both the campaign and multiplayer fronts making for a fantastic overall package. It was a great way to help kick off the seventh generation of consoles for me and the fact that I still play it from time to time to this day is a testament to the kind of fun it can deliver.
A few more things:
- My favorite weapon is probably the Bullseye. The Hailstorm is close, but its ammunition seemed a little rare. I do wish it appeared in the other games though.
- I did consider choosing Resistance 3 over this one for a brief time while making this list. It had a well-paced campaign and its Ratchet-like weapon upgrade system was an amazing addition to series. I’d highly recommend FPS fans play it and Fall of Man. But with R3‘s campaign lasting a measly five hours and Insomniac going the complete wrong direction with the multiplayer, it really can’t compete with the original and the memories it holds for me.
- I did not consider even for a moment including Resistance 2 on this list which will certainly end up on a most disappointing games of last gen list if I decide to craft a blog for that along the way.
- Clue for #23: One of the greatest party game experiences ever in my opinion.