LOS ANGELES--Resistance: Fall of Man was one of the most impressive games demoed at Sony's press conference earlier this week, and at E3 we got some new details on the game in a nice, quiet room with Insomniac's Ted Price leading the demo. As reported, the game takes place in a fictional 1951 in which World War II never happened because a monstrous race called the chimera are wiping out humanity. These beasts are in fact former humans who have been perverted by some sort of virus, so the more the chimera spread, the more people become chimera. Though most of the chimera enemies we've seen so far have been roughly humanoid, some of them will be much smaller and some will even be "building sized"--but it's important to note they all grow from humans. Price wouldn't tell us exactly where the chimera come from, but he implied there would be some interesting twists to the backstory, so we're happy to wait and find out when we play the game after it's done.
By the time Resistance takes place, all of Europe has been overrun, and only some members of the British military have survived to form a ragtag resistance movement. You'll play as Nathaniel Hale, a US ranger who's the last member of his unit and who has since joined up with the British resistance. The demo level we tried took place in a level called Northern Command, which is the movement's underground headquarters and is set within real tunnels that were constructed in England. The base was being overrun with chimera of various kinds, including the soldiers and tiny crawly things seen in the first demo, along with a new enemy that was a much bigger humanoid with extremely long, spindly limbs.
Insomniac is known for exotic weaponry from its Ratchet & Clank series, and Resistance will feature quite an interesting arsenal as well. In addition to the tagging bullets we've described previously, which let you direct bullets even around corners at enemies, we had a lot of fun with the hedgehog, which is a spiked grenade that hovers into the air and shoots needles very forcefully in all directions (intensely satisfying). Then there's the augur, which fires energy shots through walls in a rapid-fire fashion. Another gun's alt-fire mode established a temporary energy wall that the player could fire through. Price said the design team wants to make all the weapons useful in different situations so you'll have a reason to switch to everything at one time or another.
The level of Resistance demoed at Sony's press conference took place in a fairly open battlefield, but according to Price, the final game will feature a mixture of these levels and more tightly focused corridor-style maps. In fact, Resistance will present a heavy survival horror-style element along with its over-the-top military action. The game will also contain a number of what Price referred to as "hero moments." We already saw one of these in the press conference demo when the small chimera enemy jumped onto and then impaled one of the player's allies. You'll be able to choose whether or not to save these guys, and if you do, they'll help out by following you around and shooting up stuff. Another of these moments occurred in the Northern Command level when one of the tall enemies grabbed a soldier and held him up in the air before breaking him in half.
As a PlayStation 3 game, Resistance looks really good. But Insomniac's proprietary new engine is also doing a ton of physics simulation--we saw one lab area where a tossed grenade scattered every object on an examination table in all directions. The game also features realistic breaking glass that shatters where you shoot it. In fact, Price promised a materials system that will model the physical properties of all the substances, like brick and metal, that are found in the environments. The programmers reportedly are enjoying using the PS3 architecture, as they've split many of Resistance's component systems, like artificial intelligence and physics, to the Cell processor's different CPUs, which allows the team to do more cool things within the game simultaneously.
There's a lot more to Resistance that we haven't seen yet, such as vehicular combat, same-console split-screen cooperative play, and the 32-player online mode, which will include deathmatch and other modes. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game Price told us about was that it will be told by a third-person narrator who is not Hale--it sounds to us like there's more to the story in this game than meets the eye. We'll look forward to finding out more about Resistance--which was confirmed by Price as a launch title for the PS3--in the coming months.