In a world full of World War II games, post-apocalypses thrillers, and first-person shooter madness, Resistance manages to put all three ingredients together to make one of the tastiest game trilogies ever. Yeah, it’s not very new at this point, but up until a few months ago, all I owned was Resistance 3. Which isn’t a game I’d recommend playing on its own. I had to go back and play these PS3 gems, as you should already know, they are must plays for any FPS fan.
In Fall of Man, you’re thrown into what seems like a typical WWII shooter, where have we see this before? But then you’re surrounded by the ugliest creatures shooting their versions of needle guns at you, in which I thought “this is definitely an Insomniac title.” Turns out that Europe was invaded, but this time by something called the Chimera. They’re built up as aliens of some kind (which sadly, isn’t really touched upon until the end of Fall of Man and Resistance 3). And once again, it’s time for America to come to the rescue! Except it’s kind of hard to do anything against over-grown Alligators.
Resistance’s story was easily the most interesting part of the game. The characters, for the most part, fell short. But wanting to know the history behind the Chimera was something that kept me going. Little did I know, that’s where my biggest disappointment with the series would come from, as their origin is never given much depth. Nathan Hale, the main character of the first two, wasn’t too interesting. Just your typical badass with little to no personality, I was more interested with his apparent immunity to the Chimera virus. It worked out in Fall of Man, but once I got to Resistance 2, with no world building, mindless action, and over-done crash landings… essentially a Transformers movie, Hale’s story fell short.
When you have a character whose only interesting aspect has nothing to do with personality, you’ll eventually run into a brick wall. Resistance 2 refused to tell its audience more about the Chimera, and just focused on getting from point A to point B. We were stuck with a lifeless lead, whose actions are never explained. Luckily, this is fixed with Resistance 3. Joe Capelli takes over for Hale, a tiny bit of Chimera back story was throw in, and we once again had ourselves a great campaign. Coming from being my most hated character in Resistance 2, I’d say Insomniac made a great character arc for Capelli, now being a family man, torn between staying alive to see his only child grow, or saving the world. Resistance 3 was surprisingly emotional, it was a great step-up from the borefest that was Resistance 2. I’d definitely put Resistance’s story up there with Halo.
My absolute favorite part about Resistance is the variety of guns. They aren’t as crazy as something in Ratchet & Clank, but they’re unique enough to separate them from the million of other FPS’s out there. There’s the Auger, that gets stronger with every wall its bullets go through, the .44 magnum, whose bullets also act as C4, and the Automizer, able to attract enemies to the center of its shot and spin them around like some kind of carnival game. I could go on and on about each weapon, but it doesn’t just end there, figuring out which weapon worked in certain circumstances was half the fun. Fall of Man and Resistance 3 let you pick and choose from every weapon you’ve picked up, right there, on the spot. Fighting a group of regular Chimera and those that carry Auger’s? Easily switch to the Auger, takeout those able to shoot through walls first, switch to the Marksman or Carbine, and take care of the rest. A huge group of Grim’s? Switch to the Magnum, and take them out with those explosives bullets.
The huge weapon selection is what makes Resistance so damn fun, unfortunately, Resistance 2 had to cut that down. Instead of having a full arsenal at the tip of your finger, you now had to pickup weapons whenever you found them lying around, and drop your old one, just like any other FPS. There are many reasons why Resistance 2 is no doubt the worst of the trilogy, and this is a huge one. Instead of engaging enemies through strategy, all I ended up worrying about was how much ammo I had. Sure, it was harder, which is arguably a good thing, but when you have to sacrifice fun for it, count me out. Thankfully, the full arsenal was brought back better than ever in Resistance 3, but I can’t help to think how much better 2 would have been if not for that. Let’s not forget that Resistance 2’s gun selection wasn’t that great either.
One thing that I remember most from playing these games is the difficulty. Resistance is HARD. Fall of Man’s first level was ridiculous, there are no health kits, so you’re stick with your corrosive health bar. Try making that last for 10 plus minutes on hard. Fall of Man nailed it. Enemies will always be overpowered, but the way Insomniac used certain types of Chimera to make your life harder was brilliant. Fall of Man requires a lot of cover if you want to get through it alive, so at one point of the game, they introduce enemies with Augers, you know, guns that can shoot through anything. It made dealing with groups of enemies that much harder. Your first instinct would be to get some cover, but once you got to that cover, the Auger bullets would go past the thing protecting your life, and straight to you, thus not allowing you to spam behind a wall.
Resistance 2 was also hard, but more so in a cheap way. Enemies were extremely overpowered, two to three shots from a high level Chimeran soldier would end your life before you even knew it. And I’ll never forget the Chameleons, invisible enemies that kill you in one hit. Yes, you read that correctly, they’re as cheap as they sound. Thrown at you in the most random of places, they add to Resistance 2 what I like to call “fake difficulty.” Games that give you the illusion that they’re the hardest thing since the NES era, but actually use cheap means, like the Chameleons, to make it hard. Resistance 3 took a different route, being generally easy for the majority of the game, and then tasking you with the most annoying group of enemies towards the end.
When it came to graphics, Insomniac did a great job. They got better each game, Fall of Man being the worst, but that isn’t saying much considering it was a PS3 launch title. That fact actually makes it all the more impressive that it doesn’t look like an upscaled PS2 game. Resistance 2 was definitely a step in the right direction, but a little too dark for my tastes. While Resistance 3 looked damn good, almost at a Battlefield 3 level. At least to me.
I do regret not playing these games when they came out, or even a year ago. The servers for all three were shutdown earlier this year, so sadly, I wasn’t able to experience their online co-op and competitive multiplayer. Which, from what I’ve seen, look fantastic. Maybe I would’ve liked Resistance 2’s multiplayer more than its singleplayer. Anyone at Insomniac want to open up some new serves for me to play on?
The Resistance Trilogy is the best set of shooters on the PS3. From their awesome Chimeran narratives, unique gunplay, and action packed campaigns, it’s no wonder that all three of these games have seen a lot of praise in their day. Killzone isn’t the Halo of PlayStation, Resistance is.
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