Resistance: Fall of Man – A great game and even greater showcase


Tiger Media Network

Despite being a beloved console nowadays, the PlayStation 3 got off to a rocky start. With its steep $600 price tag, its new hardware that seemingly no third-party company could figure out, and its lack of polish compared to its competition, the Xbox 360 seemed the clear winner of the 7th generation. 

However, one of the biggest issues of the PS3 when it first launched was the astonishing lack of games. While it would later go on to have a stacked lineup of excellent first-party titles, the “PS3 has no games” meme reigned true for the first half of the console’s lifespan. Despite this, there was one notable exception that seemed reason enough to get a PS3: A first-person shooter called “Resistance: Fall of Man.” 

Developed by Insomniac Games, the creative minds behind the beloved “Ratchet and Clank series”, a staple of Sony’s previous console, and later the “Marvel’s Spider-Man” franchise, “Resistance: Fall of Man” was a major change from their usual fair, but still proved to be successful, presenting an interesting blend of World War II and Science Fiction action, with the decision to release right alongside the PS3 being its greatest strength. As a launch title, “Resistance” was an excellent showcase of what could be done with the game engine and new software. As a game itself, while it definitely didn’t break new ground in the genre, “Resistance: Fall of Man”, still provides a great FPS experience, complete with an engrossing alien invasion narrative, a fantastic selection of weapons and graphics that look great so many years later, proving just how talented the people at Insomniac are. 

Release and Additional Info: 

  • Released in November of 2006 an exclusive launch title for the PlayStation 3
  • Developed by Insomniac Games, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Originally known as “I-8”, before being renamed to its current title after its official unveiling
  • Insomniac was one of the first companies to utilize the new hardware of the PS3
  • Featured a large multiplayer suite with multiple modes, although official servers shut down in 2014. 
  • The first game in the “Resistance” trilogy, followed by “Resistance 2” in 2008. 

“Resistance: Fall of Man” takes place in 1951, in an alternate history featuring both World War II-inspired clothing and weaponry with more advanced technology. In “Resistance”, Europe has been invaded by the Chimera, a mysterious alien race that has killed and infected hundreds of people, using advanced technology to convert citizens into more Chimeran foot soldiers. By the time the game starts, Europe has completely fallen, with Britain, where the game takes place, under the Chimeran occupation, with a small group of human Resistance fighting back. Players assume control of Sgt. Nathan Hale, an American Army Ranger who, shortly after arriving in Britain with a small group of American soldiers, is attacked and infected by the Chimeran virus. 

However, while his fellow soldiers are brutally converted into Chimera, Hale himself proves immune to the infection’s full effects, instead gaining enhanced strength, speed, and healing abilities. Allying himself with the British Resistance, including British Intelligence Captain Rachel Parker and Royal Marine Lt. Stephen Cartwright, Hale works to end the Chimera’s invasion and drive them out of Britain. 

In terms of story, “Resistance” certainly isn’t going to set the world on fire, showing a pretty standard military story, with each chapter showing the escalation of the conflict and the different avenues taken to defeat the enemy. However, I find its overall narrative to be quite interesting, considering the game is basically just “What if World War II was fought against aliens instead of the Nazis?” “Fall of Man” paints an incredibly bleak picture of how woefully unprepared humanity would be for an alien invasion at that point, showing a desperate group on their last longs against a very dangerous threat. The Chimera are truly some of the most interesting, terrifying, and disgusting antagonists in any medium, and it’s a shame they don’t get that much recognition. 

Not everything in this game is as interesting, however; Nathan Hale is certainly not the most memorable of engaging protagonists, being another tough, gruff soldier with a shaved head, who may as well be a silent protagonist given his staggering lack of dialogue. He certainly has his moments in the story, fighting off waves of Chimera on his own, but he definitely deserved some more depth. Plus, his infection with the Chimeran virus isn’t explored or focused on that much, just being a footnote in the game’s overall plot, with only a few, very brief scenes actually going into it. There are some highlights in the characters, though, with Cartwright being a particular favorite of mine. 

Really, my biggest issue is not with the story itself, but rather how it’s told. “Resistance” does feature plenty of cutscenes, which even 18 years later still look phenomenal. But the majority of the game’s plot is shown via WWII-esque slideshows narrated by Rachel, who explains everything about the game’s events in painful detail. Everything from the Chimera invasion, their different technologies and strategies, and Hale’s exploits are told through boring exposition, which really takes away from a lot of the intrigue and tension of the game’s events. The worst offender is when Hale is exploring the Chimeran Conversion Center, still an excellent area that really shows how unsettling the game can be. 

However, instead of being able to uncover the conversion process yourself or just have it left to your imagination, the entire process is explained by Rachel, which really takes away from its impact. Even so, I’m willing to cut Insomniac some slack, given the game’s production. This was their first venture into the FPS genre following “Ratchet and Clank”, their first time working with the PS3’s hardware, and on top of that, Sony gave them a pretty tight deadline to finish the game to coincide with the release of their new console. This decision was most likely made to save time and money, and while I still would’ve preferred to be shown rather than told, I’m more forgiving of it with this knowledge in mind. 

Gameplay is another aspect where “Resistance: Fall of Man” certainly doesn’t break new ground, but still proves to be really fun, and interesting in some aspects. Really the thing that stands out about this game is the blend of its World War II setting and Science Fiction aspects. Alongside Carbine rifles, tanks, and jeeps, you have alien laser rifles, energy mines, and hulking alien mechs. The weapons continue this trend, with both standard WWII weapons combined with the Chimera’s more advanced weaponry. The weapons you’ll be using the most are the Carbine, and the Bullseye, the standard laser assault rifle used by Chimeran soldiers. More powerful weapons include the LAARK, a rocket launcher, the Auger, which fires piercing plasma bolts that go through walls, and the Hailstorm, which fires several small plasma projectiles that ricochet off walls and other solid surfaces, although ammo for these is scarce. Other great weapons include the Rossmore 236 Shotgun, the L23 Fareye Sniper Rifle, and the X-003 Sapper, which launches mines that detonate in the proximity of enemies. 

Players also have access to a good selection of grenades, including standard Frag Grenades, Hedgehog grenades which deploy large spikes, and Air Fuel Grenades, which create a massive fire, incinerating everything in its vicinity. In keeping with their previous “Ratchet and Clank” games, the player has access to all of these weapons at a time, able to select each of them through a weapon scroll menu. The game’s health system is also worthy of note; Hale has four bars of health, and while he can heal over time, only one bar of health heals at a time, the rest of which need to be filled with health packs. The entire gameplay loop certainly isn’t mind-blowing compared to other FPSes, but the shooting and large supply of weapons make it so much fun, and elevate the game from solid to truly great. Keeping in line with many other first-party Playstation 3 titles, “Resistance” also featured the use of Sixaxis motion controls; However, in comparison to later titles like “Killzone 2”, their implementation is far less obnoxious. The only time you’ll use motion controls is when being grabbed by enemies, requiring you to shake the controller to get them off. For one, the enemies who will grab you are so slow that it’s easy to avoid them altogether or kill them before they get their hands on you, and second, “Resistance” has a feature that every single game that uses Sixaxis should have: the option to turn it off. 

Really, these are the main criticisms I have:

  • There is no sprint button, making traversing from one area to another way slower than it should be 
  • Enemies feel like massive bullet sponges, taking way more punishment than they should 
  • The difficulty spikes ridiculously high during the final levels, throwing tougher and more annoying enemies in greater quantities 
  • The environments, with some exceptions, all feel very similar, with a very muted color palette. 

However, there are also a few more highlights of the game: 

  • Excellent graphics and character models, which still hold up today 
  • A silky smooth framerate that stays consistent throughout 
  • A fantastic orchestral soundtrack, composed by David Bergeaud

I’m not going to sit here and say that “Resistance” is a perfect game, and when looking at other shooters at the time, it isn’t anything particularly special. That being said, as a launch title for the PS3, and as a showcase of Insomniac’s talent, it more than earns its place. Its alien invasion story and blend of past and future technologies still remain as strong as ever, its atmosphere remains pitch-perfect, and its gameplay is about as fun and enjoyable as you can expect from an Insomniac game. In 2006, it was a great reason to get a PS3, and in 2024, it’s a great first-person shooter that is more than deserving of a remaster or re-release. 

Nick McCoy is a senior at Fort Hays State University, studying digital media and journalism. An avid gamer and music listener, he reviews video games and songs and hosts the radio show “The Understanding of Nick” for KFHS.