Resistance: Fall of Man
First off, let's get this out of the way: Resistance ain't no Gears of War. But it's actually somewhat unfair to even compare the two directly (though that won't stop us, nosiree.)
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Gears of War is a genre-blending, quasi-experimental approach to duck-and-cover warfare that's closer in spirit to Resident Evil 4 than run-and-gun shooters like Unreal Tournament or Halo. Resistance: Fall of Man, meanwhile, is happier to work within well-established first-person shooter parameters, offering up time-tested FPS throwbacks like health packs and ammo boxes.
Lies My History Teacher Told Me
PROTIP: With the Bullseye, try firing a tag (hold L1) and firing a swarm of bullets at it, then fire another tag at a group of enemies to destroy them all.
Resistance does, however, take an unusual approach to its storyline, setting up an alternate timeline where World War II never happened. Instead, a mysterious race of mutant/human hybrids has swept Europe, conquering and converting everything in its path. Though the setup is epic in scope, the game itself shifts to personal scale as it follows three days in the life of Sergeant Nathan Hale, a US trooper who is infected by the Chimera invaders. Between-level cinematics are presented in faux-documentary style, complete with gritty black-and-white photos and a History Channel-style narration that attempts to uncover the real story behind Sgt. Hale's encounters with the beastly Chimera. It's a welcome touch.
As a whole, Resistance's storytelling far exceeds that of the more juvenile Gears of War. The setup is clearer, the characters are likeable, and the dialogue is actually believable. The tale is surprisingly compelling, providing more than enough juice to keep you engrossed right up to the ending credits.
And certainly, that ability to grab your attention is Resistance's single biggest asset. Its fast and ferocious single-player campaign, which should take most gamers about 10 and 12 hours to finish, is a blast and engaging throughout. Where Gears generally pits you against five to ten Locust at a time, Resistance pummels you with entire platoons of Chimera killers, enough enemies to quickly induce panic in even seasoned FPS vets.
PROTIP: Your stock Carbine is one of the best weapons in the game. Save your precious grenades for the Hybrids.
Thankfully, you have access to an arsenal that more than evens the odds. And rather than rehashing a predictable arsenal of lookalike machineguns and rifles, Insomniac has tapped its Rachet and Clank heritage to create one the wildest, most unconventional FPS arsenals seen yet. The resulting firepower shatters some of the genre's most persistant gameplay formulas and injects a dose of manic genius to the shoot-and-scoot action. Some weapons are designed to shoot through, or reflect off of, walls and obstacles. Others lay traps, "tag" enemies with magnetic beacons, summon protective shields, or zap entire crowds of enemies en masse. Dual firing modes jack up the offensive (and defensive) capabilities still further. Even the sniper rifle, a straightforward gun if there ever was one, has been given a new lease on life thanks to a new functionality that turns headshots into a slow-motion dance of death. The boys at Insomniac have clearly left nothing to stale convention, and Resistance's single-player and multiplayer modes owe a great deal to this ingenuity.
PROTIP: These Widowmakers are a real bitch. Dodge its goo balls and hammer it with LAARK missiles. Finish it off with a few Hailstorm turrets.