Here at PSXE, we often talk about the progression of the industry, and how our games change over time.
One of the most intriguing subjects involves the advancement of titles within any given generation; drawing parallels between launch lineups and later offerings is oodles of fun. The PS2 launch lineup was pretty damn good; I remember Summoner , SSX , Tekken Tag Tournament , and TimeSplitters all making favorable impressions on everyone. But later, we entered the realms of Final Fantasy XII , Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater , and God of War II .
…my oh my, how things changed.
As we approach the fifth anniversary of the PlayStation 3 in North America, we look back at what was undeniably the best launch title for Sony’s new piece of hardware: Resistance: Fall of Man . It was before Call of Duty ruled the roost (CoD3 was another PS3 launch title, but it paled in comparison to Insomniac’s excellent shooter), and it was before we’d even heard of Uncharted . It was before Final Fantasy went multiplatform, before Blu-Ray was the accepted high-definition format (HD-DVD was still around), and before the Network had expanded and blossomed. It certainly seems like quite a long time ago, doesn’t it?
I stand by my initial review , which you’re welcome to read if you didn’t back in 2006. Of course, it doesn’t really qualify for a 9.3 by today’s standards but how well does it stack up? Well, after failing to get into any matches in the Resistance 3 beta (hopefully, that gets fixed soon), I popped in Fall of Man and started playing again. I had this wry, whimsical grin as I did so; I fully expected to notice the relative blandness compared to the extreme sharpness of today’s titles. After all, Battlefield 3 footage was playing in my head, and I can easily recall Crysis 2 and Killzone 3 . …tough competition, and things will only get better.
And while it’s true that we’ve moved past the graphics in Fall of Man , I think it’s important to note that Insomniac’s distinct art style remains a major highlight. It’s the same sort of style we’ll see in Resistance 3 ; it’s more about creating an atmosphere and engrossing environment rather than emphasizing each individual pixel. Furthermore, I think the relatively basic health regeneration system works very well; personally, I’ve never been the biggest fan of this new system where you see the screen go red when you take damage. I mean, I guess I just like the precision of seeing exactly how much health I have. And the enemy AI stands up well, too.
The story isn’t bad at all, the campaign is of a solid length (this was also before shooter campaigns started getting shorter), and the various and diverse backdrops make the game endlessly entertaining. Most importantly, I’d like to mention the rock solid stability of the game. It’s a mark of many PlayStation exclusives; there are no obvious technical shortcomings like clipping, crashing, freezing, slowdown, and any other common glitch we often find in lesser productions. We haven’t left such glitches behind, believe me. But Insomniac’s excellent effort was indicative of the type of solidarity we could come to expect from exclusive titles.
The weapons are a little unbalanced and there are a few other minor flaws, but the overall package really remains stellar even after all these years. That heavier, slower type of movement that Insomniac left behind in Resistance 2 still seems surprisingly enticing, the various combat situations and bosses are still super fun, and the technical presentation – ranging from visuals to audio to menus – is also impressive. The bottom line is that I was reminded why I love the franchise, and why I’m relatively convinced that come September 6, we’ll receive yet another stellar experience.
Even by today’s standards, I’d say Resistance: Fall of Man still falls into the mid-to-high 8 range and for a five-year-old production, that’s special.