zanzibarbreeze's Resistance: Jinrui Botsuraku no Hi (PlayStation 3) review

An old but acceptable and fun title which is well worth a look.

It's currently 2010, and one might be forgiven for thinking that it’s a peculiar time to still be playing Resistance: Fall of Man. Resistance was a launch title for the PlayStation 3 in 2006 and it shows, which is a nice way of putting it. But chief of my concerns is whether or not a game is fun and enjoyable, and whether or not a game facilitates fun through its aesthetic and its gameplay. Despite Resistance’s age, it still manages to communicate that important three letter word.

 Even with everything going against it - questionable cutscene animation, first-person shooter motifs (soft spoken soldier fighting against aliens) - Resistance's story somehow manages to pull through and be interesting, riveting, and, frankly, be the best aspect about the game four years after the game's release.
Resistance is a well wrapped package that fits together nicely. While for the purposes of this review I’m interested in looking at how the game is holding up four years after the fact, it would be a disservice to the game not to mention its various aspects: its story, graphics, and gameplay, good aspects and bad. I think Resistance serves to surprise with its story which is quite engaging and quite remarkable. Resistance manages this even though it stars a soldier in World War II who is fighting against terrestrial aliens (the astute reader will notice this is an oxymoron). Somehow the mystery of the story – where the Chimera came from and what they are – manages to be riveting. The voice acting and dialog is sparse, but the story must be helped along by the intel documents which are littered throughout the game, which add loads to the information about the Chimera and what they might really be.

Cutscenes are used to guide along the story. By in large they look very dated, which makes it even all the more remarkable that the story manages to come out unscathed and stronger for it. Facial animation is lacking, and the actual faces themselves have a tendency to look cartoony. From the look of things the cutscene animation was hand-drawn, and not very well. It’s blocky. Characters hulk around when they shouldn’t be. Even vehicles don’t run as smoothly as they should. In game, the graphics show their age. The textures are at times blurred, at times pixelated, and a manner of other things too, none of which look good.

I found the gameplay to be serviceable. This is, for all intents and purposes, a cookie-cutter first-person shooter. There are grenades, there are eight weapons (on the first playthrough), there are ammo and health pickups all over the place, there’s something resembling a regen system, and there are the aforementioned hidden intel documents to collect, if you can find them.

So how has Resistance aged, and does it still play well today? One problem I had playing the game was the jarring gameplay. If there’s one outwardly bad thing about Resistance’s gameplay it’s that the player character moves incredibly slowly and there’s no sprint command. It’s a chore crossing large rooms or crossing a battlefield. Backtracking to collect ammunition or health is unwieldy. I almost felt like I’d rather keep going with what I had and risk dying instead of heading back to stock up, which should never be a good feeling to have in a game. Yet the game itself contrasts this of its own accord with the camera movement. The camera rapidly moves back and forth on its default setting in total contrast with how fast the character’s feet move. It’s extremely jarring; it’s actually quite astonishing, and perhaps the programmers felt they needed to cancel out the slow movement speed with fast camera speed.
 
There are some other issues, too. For one, checkpointing is rather sparse compared to more contemporary games. There are some specific fights which will leave some players tearing their hair out. Auto-aim is implemented quite heavily, at least on lower difficulty levels, and there is no option to turn it off or turn its sensitivity down. Also, the whole game has that often mentioned "Vaseline" or "soft-focus" look that a lot of early PlayStation 3 games had. Everything has a sheen; everything shines back at the camera through a dusty particle effect filter. It's not a criminal look for a game to adopt, but it certainly is not favorable in light of the graphical developments on the platform in the last few years with games like Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2.

But it’s hard to fault Resistance for anything else. It’s a very acceptable, very generic experience, apart from its story. Again, it’s a cookie-cutter game, but it has managed to pull it off comprehensibly and convincingly. You can’t disagree with Resistance on any major points. It is by all means playable and if you can get past the shoddy textures and the strange animations, the game still presents the player with more than enough fun to serve for a nice eight to ten hour experience. By no means perfect, but if you’ve passed Resistance over and you’re considering picking it up, I would strongly advise giving it a shot, if only to be up to date with the goings-on in Resistance 2 and the currently unannounced but almost guaranteed future release of Resistance 3. Is Resistance: Fall of Man fun? It certainly is, and that's an aspect that I rank as more important over graphics or old-style gameplay.
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