Sony have today announced that they are switching off the multiplayer servers for the PSP’s Resistance: Retribution in May. Why are we lamenting the shutting down of a 6 year old game on a superseded platform? Well to me, it’s the penultimate nail in the coffin of the Resistance series after the servers for the three PS3 generation games were switched off early last year; in fact only Nilhistic’s Resistance: Burning Skies is the only game in the series that is still being supported, which is a sorry state of affairs. We decided it was a good excuse to look back at the three PlayStation 3 exclusive games developed by Insomniac that formed the backbone of the series:
Resistance: Fall of Man
Released in 2006 as a launch title, Fall of Man was the first PS3 game to sell a million copies. It also captivated us because it was set in Britain in an alternative version of the 1950s; not just London either, there were levels or maps set in York, Grimsby, Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester too. In fact taking the fight to the Chimera inside a digital replica of Manchester Cathedral caused controversy with the leaders of the Church of England, who claimed that its depiction was desecration and copyright infringement (a point which was even debated in by Tony Blair in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions), and that it was inappropriate of Sony to allow players to fire guns in a city with a gun problem. Sony’s response was: “We do not accept that there is any connection between contemporary issues of 21st century Manchester and a work of science fiction in which a fictitious 1950s Britain is under attack by aliens.”
The sequel picks up with Nathan Hale back in the US as part of a special squad of ‘Sentinels’ who are attempting to control their Chimeran infection with inhibitors, whilst using the benefits of enhanced vision and strength against the alien enemy. It was a shame for us Brits that the game went stateside, but that’s not all it took away from us; the health bar is gone, replaced by regenerative health that is a side effect of the Chimeran infection, offline coop from Fall of Man was removed (admittedly replaced by a separate online coop for 2-8 players), and finally the weapon wheel vanishes and Hale can only carry two weapons at any time. This for us was a low point in the series as it seemingly tried to emulate the Call of Duty franchise. At the time Insomniac said it was a failure for the fans and stated that they would use it as a lesson when developing Resistance 3.
It was a lesson well learned too, as we consider Resistance 3 to be the greatest first-person shooter of all time; even besting last year’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. It reintroduced the weapon wheel and health bar, and featured full campaign coop both on and offline. Following the events of Resistance 2, the protagonist Nathan Hale has been replaced by Joseph Capelli and the game has a less militaristic, more dystopian feel as only 10% of the human race has survived the events of the invasion. Capelli’s journey feels more personal than Hale’s as he battles across the United States against all odds, in an attempt to save what’s left of humanity and to provide a future for his family. The weapons are great, really packing some punch when upgrading, and the reintroduction of the weapon wheel was a welcome change from other cookie cutter shooters, adding a crucial strategic element to encounters. The game also supports the Move Sharpshooter and 3D, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Sadly, as far back as 2012 Insomniac were clear about the fact that they toyed with the idea of Resistance 4, but decided that they weren’t going to produce any more games so that they can focus on their own intellectual properties.
That said, Sony own the IP, so who’s to say that we won’t see a Resistance game on the PlayStation 4, especially given the success of Bethesda’s back to basics, single player focussed, Wolfenstein: The New Order. In fact SCEE registered the trademark “Resistance” on 26-Jan this year, so they are certainly doing something with the property, whether it be a remaster, a reboot or a continuation of the series, we can’t wait to find out more! Speaking of which, perhaps that’s what that E3 conference will be about…
…I can dream.