Thursday, October 10, 2013
Trilogy Review: Resistance
First person shooters are abundant in the gaming world. It's popular because it truly puts the player into the game. They are the shooter in essence. Call of Duty is the most popular one today. While those are technically realistic, (well, aside from Nazi zombies) there are quite a few shooters that are science fiction and fantasy based. My personal favorite is the Sony exclusive series, Resistance.
Resistance: Fall of Man was a PS3 launch title way back in 2006. The story was engaging enough, being set in alternate history soon after World War 2 where creatures called the Chimera have taken over. There are virtually no real cutscenes, everything is said through narrated stills. This is perfectly fine for two reasons. This being a launch title, it was to show what the PS3 was capable of gameplay wise. And secondly, the game was downright terrifying in some parts.
Resistance somehow manages to balance plenty of button mashing shooting and horror. There's nothing scarier than being dropped into a battlezone where you have no idea what's happening. I'll never forget that first level in Fall of Man where I'm walking then at a corner a Chimera appears. Seven years later, Fall of Man still manages to be an engaging, and often terrifying ride.
Resistance 2 did away with the narrated stills and was slightly more cutscene driven. Finally we got see what exactly playing as Nathan Hale was really like. The game traded horror for a more science fiction shooter. The terror was still present, but to a lesser extent since you know what you're dealing with. Resistance 2 is also notable for introducing Dr. Malikov. It also introduced a Chimeran 'character' in the form of Daedalus which was pretty cool since it gave the story an actual villain instead of mindless foot soldiers.
Resistance 2 also had this ongoing subplot with Hale, he was slowly turning a Chimera. In the end, he's shot down by Joseph Capelli, who would go on to become the protagonist in the third game,
Resistance 3 is definitely the most story-based of the trilogy. It features plenty of CGI cutscenes and is character-centric. It spends its time in the opening parts showing us Joseph's wife and son. It's pretty nice how traditional the storyline is with these little things. Interestingly, it appears Joseph had a drastic character overhaul from the previous game. There he was a hard-nosed arrogant person, here he's the complete opposite. Sure, shooting down Hale changed him, but that drastically to the point where he's actually such a likeable protagonist? Pretty far-fetched, but we'll go with it since he's a good character to root for.
The gameplay isn't all that different, it's pretty much 100% identical to the previous two installments. It's still pretty scary and nerve-racking, but like the second one it can't come up with the dread the first one has. It's not really its fault however, by then we were used to the Chimera and on an active mission rather than never knowing what was coming like in Fall of Man. The most notable thing about Resistance 3 is the entire Graterford Prison level. This is by far one of the greatest video game levels I've ever played. There's such an amazing level of nerve-racking, dread, and fear throughout as you navigate this Hell on Earth. The ironic part is that the majority of it is occupied by humans, not Chimera! Sadly, there's no real final boss at the end of the game. I was hoping it would reveal some kind of evil mastermind to the whole operation.
Resistance 3 also gives a couple of pretty interesting scenes with the Feral Chimera against its military brethren. It's a shame the story didn't focus more on this, the scene with the Widowmaker demolishing the foot soldiers was fantastic. Unlike most horror-related things, this game has a very simple and nice ending. Joseph destroys the terraformer in New York and is reunited with his son and wife. It's simple, but a nice closure.
The Resistance trilogy rises above the usual first person shooter series. It's genuinely scary, to the point where you dread going into a dark tunnel cause you know something is going to pop up unexpectedly. There are two small console spin-offs I haven't had the luxury of playing. It's been said that there's no plans for any more games in the series. I think it's a shame, but who knows, maybe the PS4 will get one. And this trilogy is definitely ripe for a movie adaption.