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, the creators of Ratchet and Clank, Resistance was a sci-fi first-person shooter that was never viewed in the same vein as Killzone, which also was a sci-fi FPS. In my opinion however, Resistance was the better series due to its scale, unique weapons, and grim narrative.
It was arguably the strongest launch title for the PS3 and acted as a good showcase for developer Insomniac, who were best known for their popular and colorful 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 came with an alternate mode of fire. One of my personal favorites and a staple throughout the series was the Bullseye, an assault rifle whose 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. Now, it should be noted that from a gameplay standpoint, the first title in the series wasn’t particularly 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 and critics 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 never stood a chance. Every large-scale encounter feels far more desperate than the previous entry and there is an overwhelming sense of dread that carries with the player throughout the game.
The Chimera in Resistance 2 can be incredibly intimidating with some even being the size of skyscrapers, just wait until you see size of some of the bosses you’ll face, these were easily some of the most epic moments in the game. 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. Resistance 2 wasn’t just a step-up, it was a leap over its predecessor.
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 bodies piling up everywhere. It was the best chance you could have to get a fairly lengthy kill-streak. It was just unfortunate that the 60 player multiplayer would not appear in the sequel, opting for a more traditional experience instead.
Resistance 3 was a strong end to the series and is a personal favorite of mine. Players would assume the role of Nathan Capelli from Resistance 2 and even thougg off as a stereotypical soldier in that title, he was a far more interesting and empathetic character in this final chapter. The player finds Capelli happily married and living with a group of survivors in Oklahoma. This particular community is diligently working 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 feels as if they are living on borrowed time. Capelli is easily a more complete character than Hale and his reluctant determination made him a relatable protagonist.
Insomniac did an excellent job at bringing the series to a satisfying conclusion in Resistance 3. While the scale feels toned back, this was done intentionally to showcase the grim aftermath of the Chimera invasion, allowing the player to fully grasp the situation that humanity finds themselves in. The previous titles lacked emotional impact and this was primarily due to the previous protagonist being a generic caricature instead of someone like Nathan Capelli who had everything to lose.
Resistance was a series that deserved far more love than it actually received. While Killzone was considered Sony’s flagship FPS, Resistance had a strong case to be considered the best shooter in Sony’s library. Unfortunately, Insomniac has stated that they will no longer work on the Resistance series. While this is disappointing, it is understandable as it allows the studio to focus on new IP’s and other projects. Luckily for everyone, Resistance 3 can be found on PS Now, so players can experience one of the best titles on the PS3. Maybe one day Sony releases a remastered version of the trilogy so that the series can be played in its entirety. That would be a helluve treat for Insomniac fans.