Resistance: Fall of Man is a well-crafted arcade shooting experience.
Cons: Online multiplayer, while possessing support for up to 40 players at once, manages to be dry and monotonous, the story and characters are weak, last few levels can get ridiculously hard, no end boss.
A launch title for the PS3 back in 2006, Resistance: Fall of Man still holds up today as a great sci-fi shooter. To me, this game is reminiscent of the arcade shooters of old, not having to rely on "realism" as a selling point or to be fun. Resistance exists in its own little world, and it stands out in the oversaturated sea of generic first-person shooters.
You play as Nathan Hale, a near-silent solider who aids in a global war against an invading viral-based alien race known as the Chimera. Early on, Hale manages to get himself infected with the Chimeran virus, which gives him regenerating powers. It's actually a clever way of explaining how the character can recover health after taking on a hailstorm of bullets.
The rest of the story is "meh". While not terrible, it's not very engaging. Cutscenes are presented with black and white still images and a British woman narrating over. This narrator is the only real interesting character as she is the only one who has something to say other than military jargon. Nathan Hale himself, as mentioned above, is near-silent and has about three lines in the whole game. Nothing very impressive in terms of storytelling or characterization here.
But let's get to the meat and potatoes: the gameplay. Let me tell you, packing over twelve weapons at once and blowing away enemy after enemy is incredibly fun. Resistance manages to sacrifice realism for pure balls-to-the-wall action and is still a very challenging game. Chimera can and will swarm, and often they will try and find ways to flank you while you're in cover. And since you're on your own for most of the game, constantly having to change tactics to deal with these monstrosities is mandatory.
As for weapons themselves, they're really cool. You have your standard military carbine rifle, shotgun, rocket launcher, and the like. But the Chimerian weapons are the show stealers; ranging from a battle rifle that shoots homing tags on enemies, dual machine-like pistols that target two separate foes individually, a gun that fires an immense wall of needle-like projectiles, and more. My personal favorite is the Auger, a gun whose bullets can penetrate through solid walls and take out any enemies on the other side. Good stuff.
The single-player campaign in Resistance is surprisingly long. It took me hours just to get halfway through and by the end I was physically and mentally exhausted. But that was probably due to the last stages creeping into Nintendo Hard territory. But there's no end boss. Seriously, the final level is you firing rockets at several generators inside of a Chimera tower. Once they're destroyed, you get the final cutscene and the game ends.
Graphically speaking, Resistance is pretty good for 2006 standards. Though environments can feel a little "flat". Nothing really sticks out or gives a sense of immersion. This was obviously before the developers knew how to harness the PS3's true power, so it's forgivable. The sound is also well done, complementing the varied levels with appropriate ambience, music, and effects.
Resistance also hosts vehicle portions throughout the campaign. You'll end up driving a regular human tank, an armored Jeep, and a walking Chimeran tank. These sections are well implemented, fun to play, and do a good job of breaking up the shooting action in just the right places.
And now we get to my favorite aspect f the game: the split-screen co-op mode. Holy hell is this thing done well. Not since the first Halo have I been so pleased by a side-by-side campaign co-op experience. The second player takes control of an unnamed black man (I believe you can choose between several different characters, but I'm not 100% sure), and fights alongside Hale. You can also go online with the co-op, but it's so much more enjoyable to have someone next to you, sharing the same couch, TV, and console and blast Chimera together. The co-op in Resistance gets an A+ from me.
There are also four-player offline competitive options. While they're nothing spectacular, it's nice that they were included. They aren't as fun or engaging as the co-op, but they're great when you have three or more buddies over for game night.
"But what about the online?" you ask. Yeah, it's nothing special. You go around, shoot other players, have other players shoot you, have other plays scream and yell at you over your headset. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's like the offline competitive multiplayer, except you can't reach over and give a good smack across the face when someone acts up.
Conclusion: Resistance: Fall of Man is a well-crafted arcade shooting experience. With such a diverse and creative arsenal of guns, a smart and terrifying enemy to face, and a long enjoyable campaign with superb co-op, Resistance is sure to satisfy anyone who's looking for a great alien-blasting adventure.