Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Reviewed On: PlayStation 3
It’s the 1950’s and mankind is at war with a strange insect-like alien race known as the Chimera. The Chimera are vicious fighters and possess the ability to spread a mutating virus to humans, transforming them into more Chimeran forces and increasing their numbers. The Chimera have already taken over all of Russia, turning or killing anyone in their wake, and have now set their eyes on England. As the British Army gathers to repel the massive incoming invasion, the United States send over some of their forces as backup, including an Army Ranger Sgt. named Nathan Hale.
Upon arriving to aid the British Army, the American soldiers are ambushed by some of the smaller infection-carrying Chimera. Sgt. Hale’s team is wiped out by the Chimera, leaving him to be infected and turned. However, Hale becomes the first human to display a resistance to the virus. Instead of transforming into a Chimera, Hale gains superhuman reflexes and the ability to regenerate health. With his newfound powers in hand, Hale leads the charge against the Chimera and begins to unravel the truth about the invading alien force.
The plot of Fall of Man is a great setup for a franchise, but as a single game it falters. It’s more focused on building the world and explaining the hierarchy of the Chimera than developing any of its characters or creating anything to become emotionally invested in. It takes around 8-10 hours to finish this game, but you can count the amount of times Hale speaks on one hand. He’s an almost mute protagonist that shows zero character development, making him a character that I simply didn’t find myself caring for. As for the plot itself, it feels like it was designed to simply lead from one action set piece to another, instead of actually delivering a strong story. I can only hope the following two games in the trilogy give something to latch on to.
Although the story in Fall of Man leaves a lot to be desired, the gameplay is solid and still holds up now in 2018, a full 12 years after it released as a launch title on the PlayStation 3. Fall of Man is a first-person shooter by the talented team at Insomniac Games, who are most famously known for Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet & Clank. Although there isn’t really any of the purple dragon’s DNA to be found here, you can clearly see the influence of everyone’s favorite Lombax and robot duo.
Similar to Ratchet & Clank, Fall of Man gives players fun levels to explore, a wide variety of enemies to face off against, and a powerful arsenal of weapons and gadgets to do said fighting with. Each of the levels in this game are designed wonderfully. From the backyards and alleyways of London, to the dark underground tunnels and snowy landscapes of the second half of the game, Fall of Man has a nice variety to its locales. Each level typically has its own special goals and features as well, such as different vehicles to drive, elaborate traps to avoid, and different enemies to fight.
The Chimera are nasty and scary foes, but the large amount of different forms they can take is exciting. You have the standard humanoid versions who shoot at you with their alien technology, but there’s also a ton of weird and truly alien forms to encounter as well. There’s tiny crawling bugs, medium sized guys who can cling to walls and ceilings, towering behemoths with rocket launchers, and terrifying lanky monstrosities who rush you with their claws. Of course, there’s a bunch of other types as well, but where would be the fun in spoiling that for you?
The weapons are where the game really shines. You have your typical shooter staples like a rifle, shotgun, and grenades, but there’s a bunch of weird alien guns to add to your collection that offer crazy combat capabilities. The first alien gun you get in the game is called the Bullseye, a rifle that shoots out a tracking tag as its secondary form of fire. This allows the bullets from the gun to heat seek and go over and around cover to hit the tagged target. Some other cool weapons include a sniper-rifle that can slow down time, grenades that shoot out needles that can pin enemies to walls, and (my personal favorite) a gun that shoots explosive balls of goop that can be remotely detonated.
One of the things I loved the most about Fall of Man is that it actually requires you to make use of your entire arsenal. You have to actually pay attention to which types of enemies you’re fighting and make sure you use the best weapon for that situation. While all enemies can technically die from any weapon, each enemy type has a weapon that’s most effective against them, forcing you to swap between weapons on the fly and use your guns to their fullest.
Each level of the game also offers up special challenges that give you skill points. Most of these challenges require you to get a certain amount of kills with a particular weapon, finish the level in a certain amount of time, or perform a special action unique to that level. Completing the challenges and earning the skill points allows you to unlock extras like concept art, a making of video, and a few other surprises. There’s also a general list of challenges that can be completed across any chapter of the game, so there’s a decent amount of replayability to this game. It’s also worth mentioning that this is a game that should be completed at least twice. Starting a second playthrough adds new weapons to the game, some of which are absolutely insane.
There was an online component to the game, but the servers have been shut down for years now, so I wasn’t able to get any time with this mode. However, those looking for a competitive experience can still get some good use out of a split screen versus mode, which is also something I haven’t been able to try yet. If you’re more a co-operative player, the entire campaign is playable in split screen as well, but, once again, I haven’t tried this out yet either. I’m so lonely.
Resistance: Fall of Man is a fun shooter with a great premise, but the story never develops any of its characters or gives you anything to latch onto. Thankfully, the gameplay is incredibly solid and gives you a wide array of enemies to shoot at with a gleefully fun arsenal of guns. It can be picked up online or from a used game store for under $5, so if you’re looking for a fun shooter to breeze through, this would be a good one to consider.
– Zack Burrows