‘Resistance: Fall of Man’ presents odd alternate history, unique silliness

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 era brought about some of the most innovative, memorable and truly out-there titles that, while varying in quality, are nonetheless timeless in their cinematic spunk and creativity. 

So, it’s fitting that we take a look at a weird black sheep of the seventh gen, one that despite being nobody’s favorite shooter, embodied the evolution of a generation from its start to almost its end. A bloated and audacious statement? Yes, but it’s not generation-defining as much as it is “generation-impressioned.”

“Resistance: Fall of Man” was released in 2006 for the new PS3 system, retailing at $499 with fewer exclusive launch titles than there are living presidents. Developed by Insomniac games, it had a lot riding on its shoulders in face of the Xbox 360.

Seriously, many forget that the first few years of the 360’s launch were unprecedented. “Quake 4,” “Gears of War,” “Call of Duty 2,” “Halo 3,” “Ninja Gaiden 2,” “Bioshock” and “Mass Effect,” were released all in the span of three years. While other consoles did eventually get some of these classics, this was where it was all going down. Combined with a larger, more fleshed-out online service and easier third-party support as opposed to the PS3 “cell” structure, “Resistance” had a lot to juggle. 

Taking inspiration from the sixth gen WW2 shooter boom, “Resistance” presents one of the weirdest alternate history set-ups I’ve ever seen, in the sense it simultaneously feels inspired yet incredibly shallow. Taking place in 1951 London, a mysterious alien disease called the Chimera is infecting humanity and turning them into monstrous 6-eyed creatures that are organizing an armed invasion of the earth — laser blasters and UFOs to boot. America is reinforcing the losing British forces amidst a total takeover of the isle, with their 50s tech being pushed to adapt-or-die futurism that channels a tiny taste of Fallout’s unique atmosphere. 

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Nathan Hale, a regular soldier who is quickly killed and infected in the opening minutes of the first battle, becomes the chosen-one hero after surviving the infection and proceeding to wage a one-man war on the Chimera. Hale is another shaved-head male protagonist who was seriously everywhere during the seventh gen, from “Call of Duty 4,” “Mass Effect,” “Infamous,” “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” to even “TimeSplitters.” He is remarkably bland but it is another case where the world and actions drive the story more than its few forgettable characters, for better or worse. 

The world of Resistance is like a fever dream 1950s apocalypse where the flying-saucer silliness of an alien invasion during that time in pop culture was given an R-rated adoption by David Cronenberg. It, unironically, is one of the darkest settings I have seen in gaming as both the narrative and environment around you sell the true sense of hopelessness as the humans face insurmountable odds across all three games, with hope dwindling as the trilogy progresses. 

Everything from how your battle comrades are constantly dying around you, to the slow scaling down from militarized fighting force and desperate stranglers out for themselves in “Mad Max” fashion, the tone is that of a downward spiral till the entry’s latter half. No longer will you fight alongside a group, rather, you are now completely alone in New York City as the last remaining human to take on the invasion. 

The before-mentioned aspect of the trilogy reflecting the generation is in how inadvertently unique each game feels as they imitate other popular FPS archetypes. The first game feels akin to a “Medal of Honor” PS2 game with aliens in the mix, the sequel is more in line with a “Halo”/“Call of Duty” game with only two carriable weapons and more linear, drawn-out set pieces. “Resistance 3,” the best of the trilogy, taking lots of notes from the “Half-Life” formula of epic narrative-driven set pieces with lots of AI companions running around, environmental storytelling and creative implementation of items and ordinances to fight enemies beyond just shooting them. It’s a road trip across a destroyed United States, and the essence of an epic, episodic journey is executed extremely well. 

A grievance I had with this series, not as much as its fault as it is Sony’s weird forward-compatibility settings with the PS3, is the inconsistent control options with third-party hardware. The first game works completely fine with a PS5 controller connected via Bluetooth, but 2 and 3 are missing several functions without using a native Dualshock 3 controller.

That aside, the series holds up quite well for an FPS of the times, another in the weird zeitgeist of PS shooters like “Killzone” that existed to pad out the exclusive library and were tossed aside in favor of third-person open-world hits like “Spider-Man” and “Horizon: Zero Dawn.”

Now with next to no FPS exclusives coming out of Sony, the PS3 remains the one-stop shop for all the interesting backlog history of the brand, and the Resistance trilogy is a must-own for those few seeking to experience the 17-year-old machine to its fullest. 

“The Resistance Trilogy” is available on PS3. 


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