Looking back at the PS3’s extensive library made me wonder why Resistance never got as much recognition as other first party titles. Developed by Insomniac, Resistance had the unfortunate luck of being overlooked by Killzone. But in my opinion, Resistance was the better series.
It was arguably the strongest launch title on the PS3 and was a good showcase for developer Insomniac, who were most known for their popular Ratchet and Clank series. Resistance Fall of Man revolved around the invasion of Earth during the 1900’s by an alien race known as the Chimera. Set in Europe, the player assumed the role of Sgt. Nathan Hale, an Army Ranger assigned by the US government to assist in a planned British Operation to eliminate the Chimera threat.
As this game is set in an alternate history, there are a unique variety of weapons to choose from. Like the Ratchet and Clank series, every weapon had an alternate mode of fire. One of my personal favorites, the Bullseye, is one of the first weapons you interact with in the game. It’s alternate fire tags an enemy and every bullet fired will target only that enemy, it was useful for shooting around corners or killing enemies in cover. Resistance wasn’t especially innovative, especially in its narrative and protagonist, but the setting and variety in weapons created a solid foundation for the series.
In 2008, Resistance 2 was released and is considered by many fans to be the best in the series. Set immediately after the events of the first game, the player finds themselves once again assuming the role of Nathan Hale. Although he survived the events of the first game, he was taken into custody by the Special Research Projects Administration (SRPA) and then transported to a black site. Chimeran forces shoot down the transport and in an act of desperation Major Blake of the SRPA releases a Chimeran leader, Daedalus, who then escapes and sets in motion the invasion of the United States. Hale is recruited to become a Sentinel, a soldier infused with the Chimeran virus and is thus given command of Echo Squad consisting of Sgt. Warner, SPC Hawthorne, and CPL Capelli.
While the narratives are rather similar, Resistance 2 painted a far grimmer picture than the first game. The Chimeran invasion is practically unstoppable and every location that is featured in the sequel displays the effects of the Chimeran virus. There are numerous instances of ravaged towns and cities and the player really gets a feeling that the human race ever stood a chance. Every encounter feels far more gritty and desperate than the previous entry. The Chimera can be incredibly intimidating, wait until you see size of some of the bosses you face. While the protagonist still comes off as fairly generic, his actual arc is far more interesting this time around. Hale is practically a ticking time bomb due to being willingly infected with the Chimeran virus and it does make for a effective finale.
What made Resistance 2 special was its multiplayer. While the first game featured a competitive multiplayer mode, the sequel had both a co-operative campaign separate from the single-player and a competitive mode that featured up to 60 players. Yes, I said 60, it was chaotic, fun, and actually ran surprisingly well. Maps varied in size, you didn’t always have to play with 60 players, but what’s the fun in that? Participating in a 30v30 was quite the experience, I remember when everyone would show up at a chokepoint and there were just bodies piling up everywhere. It was the best chance you would have to get a fairly lengthy kill-streak. It was just unfortunate that the 60 player multiplayer would not appear in the sequel.
Resistance 3 was a strong end to the series and is a personal favorite of mine. Players assume the role of Nathan Capelli from Resistance 2. The player finds Capelli married and living with a group of survivors in Oklahoma. The community is working hard to survive and evade Chimeran forces, but are unfortunately found and forced to flee as the Chimera use a terraforming machine to decimate the town. Capelli reluctantly leaves his family and must trek to New York alongside Dr. Malikov from the previous entry to close a recently opened wormhole that will eventually freeze the planet and leave it uninhabitable. Along his journey, the player will be able to view how certain pockets of humanity have resisted the Chimeran forces, but like the previous entry, it seems as if they are living on borrowed time. Capelli is easily a more complete character than Hale and his reluctant determination made him a more relatable protagonist. Overall, Resistance 3 was a satisfying way to conclude the franchise.
Insomniac has since stated that they will no longer work on the Resistance series. While disappointing, Resistance 3 can be found on PlayStation Now. Hopefully, Sony gets around to adding the first two games and we’ll be in business. This is a series that deserves more appreciation.