Resistance: Fall of Man - PS3 - Preview
In some ways, Resistance: Fall of Man is a step backwards for Insomniac Studios. Sure, the game is being developed for the PlayStation 3, and yes, Insomniac is the studio that has been behind Ratchet and Clank as well as Spyro games, but with Resistance, Insomniac is reaching into the past.
Way back in 1996 Insomniac released its first title, Disruptor, a first-person shooter that really put Insomniac on the video-game map. Since then, the company has made a pretty good living off other characters, and the third-person perspective. But with the next generation PlayStation platform, Insomniac reached into the past and rekindled its love of the FPS genre.
Resistance: Fall of Man is set in 1951, but not in the world we all know. This world had a divergent history, one in which World War II never occurred. The game itself actually takes place during four days – July 11-14.
Sony and Insomniac hosted a media day back on August 29 in Burbank, and only now can we let the cat out of the bag.
Resistance is, in a word, sweet. While some of the story elements could be seen as borrowed from other ideas, the game – on the whole – plays out with intensity and glorious gameplay elements all inserted into a stunning three-dimensional realization that will really become a benchmark for the FPS genre.
Ted Price, president and CEO of Insomniac, was frank in stating that “this is different than what we have done in the past,” but he also stated that Insomnia is “taking the power of the PS3 and creating a lot more depth.” He cited the four pillars (goals) for Resistance as being immersion, believability, creepiness and fun.
Ok, a little bit about Resistance. It begins with a mutated race called the Chimera sweeping out across Russia. The Chimera are a parasitic life form that infects other life forms with a virus that mutates the infected into new Chimera. Before long, Europe has fallen and is under the dominion of the Chimera. England is all but conquered when the United States decides to end its isolationist stance and sends forces to the island nation to help. But if the U.S. government knew more about this enemy, it didn’t tell its military. U.S. Army Ranger Nathan Hale is patrolling with a group of British soldiers when they are suddenly overwhelmed by bug-like creatures. The unit is destroyed and Hale is infected with the Chimera virus. But it does not have quite the effect on him that it does on so many others. For the next four days, he fights his own war against this race, and players may begin to unravel the origin of the Chimera, and much more.
Not only is this a vibrant single-player game, but it is also a robust multiplayer one as well. The game features 40-player maps, with some of the maps being sized for 8-40 players, depending on the number entering the event.
Mike Stout was in charge of the multiplayer design. He stated that the four points the team strove to achieve were diversity, community features, fun and a fair gaming experience.
“There are two types of multiplayer gamers out there,” he said. “There are the hardcore ones who like to compete, and the people who go on to just have fun. We wanted to create a game where those two groups could go.”
The goal was to create a frantic, fast-paced and visceral game. While there are not vehicles in the multiplayer games, there are five modes of play – death match, team deathmatch, capture the flag, breach (destroy the opponents reactor and capture nodes along the way) and meltdown (like breach only scaleable). There will be 60 available player ranks (the higher the rank, the more stuff you can get) and the game will support downloadable content. There will be two factions – the Chimera and humans.
As with any Insomniac game, part of the fun is the exotic weaponry and Resistance has that. There is the Bullseye (can paint a teammate and then blow them up along with nearby enemies), the Laark (rocket launcher except you can stop the missiles in mid flight and redirect them with the controller), the Augur (fires through walls), the Fareye (human sniper score that can also slow time for brief periods), the Sapper (create goopy fun with globules that will explode if an enemy touches them), the Hedgehog (exploding grenade that sends spikes out in 360 degrees), and the Hailstorm (shoots “crapload” of bullets that can ricochet and do more damage). At this point, there is no Sheepinator. Each of the weapons does have an alt attack though.
The game itself uses Insomniac’s proprietary engine and the entire single-player campaign can be played in co-op mode. There will be three vehicles that can be driven in co-op mode.
Graphically the game was stunning. During the event in Burbank, it was running at 720p, but the goal is to have it up to 1080 by launch. The environments are destructible and detailed. The sound was equal to the graphics, with a rich narrative.
Hands on allowed the media to play parts of levels, not full levels, but the experience was somewhat typical of the FPS genre in some regards, but not so in many others. The AI of the enemy was bright and often the Chimera employed tactics that some FPS gamers use – like run forward, shoot and then backpedal while continuing to shoot.
In all this is one launch title that is looking like a must-have for potential PS3 owners. Sony allowed a treat in seeing snippets of the game, but these were more than enough to whet the appetite for much more.