Yeah, It's Probably Time To Put The Resistance Series To Bed

It just never really clicked, did it? Despite all the advertising and hype and expectations placed upon it, Sony's Resistance series has always just...been there. People like it, sure, but it's not exactly a blockbuster, certainly not to the level Sony were hoping/expecting when it debuted alongside the launch of the PlayStation 3.

I remember overhearing an Insomniac developer at TGS a few years ago explaining the series' development history to some business types. How Sony had literally approached the studio and said, "make a Halo clone". What began life as a space shooter later evolved into something a little different, the retro-future setting the franchise is now known for, but those roots made one thing clear: it was intended to be Sony's Halo-killer. Or, at least, a Halo-fighter.

Which never happened. Sales were good, but not great. Public perception of the franchise has been warm, but never rapturous. In short, it's been a solid performer for Sony, but it's also fallen far short of what it was meant to be.

Why is that? I've always felt it was down to two things: presentation and design. The setting for Resistance sounds awesome. An alternate history where aliens, and an alien virus, drive us to the brink, and humanity is forced to survive by crudely combining existing technology with whatever we can scrounge from our superior foes.

But it never looked that cool. The uniform and tech designs for the humans wasted that setting by looking mostly like, well, generic sci-fi gear. The kind of stuff you'd see in a near-future shooter, not something set in the 1950s. It was all future, little retro. Which I think wasted the real potential of the premise in the first place.

That feeling of malaise extends to the characters. I know Nathan Hale because I write about video games for a living, but alongside a lack of visual flair, Resistance has also suffered from a dearth of memorable and interesting characters. There hasn't been a mascot to really pin everything on, a recognisable and identifiable hero to drive things forward.

The next was the design of the game. Resistance is a very old-fashioned shooter. Like something you'd have played on the PC in the late 90s. It has lots of weird guns (which you'd expect, given it's made by the same guys who made Ratchet & Clank), but also a very "floaty" feel, and it doesn't really bring much new to the table. There's nothing distinctive or memorable, no trademark feature about the way Resistance plays when you compare it to, say, Halo's "30 Seconds of Fun" arenas, or Gears of Wars' cover mechanic, or even its label-mate Killzone with its heavy, hulking immediacy.

Some people like that! And I'm not hating on it. I like (most of) the Resistance games too. But to be great, to be something worth coming back to over and over and over with sequel and sequel after sequel, games need to offer something more.

Now, most of that is just me. It's why I've never particularly warmed to Resistance. But I'd bet at least one of those reasons, in particular the second, is why you never hear the series mentioned in the same breath as Call of Duty, or Halo, or Gears, or these days even Crysis.

It also may explain why series creators Insomniac have left the property behind, and why Sony has now said, in light of the poor reception to the franchise's Vita debut, that "We have no definitive plans" for the future of Resistance. Hardly encouraging words, those.

Hopefully that means the series has been put to bed.

But not killed. There's promise in the premise, and at the very least it's a nice trademarked name to have hold of. Resistance. Simple, evocative, sums the whole thing up perfectly.

It'd be great to see Sony let the current take on Resistance go, and then in a few year's time - you know, with new hardware - revisit the series. Give it to a new developer, let them reboot the thing from the ground up, take what works, throw out what doesn't and come up with something fresh.


Comments

    Resistance 2 was shit and I never played 3 but the first game is the only console FPS I can name from this gen that's worth playing. I'd be happy with more of that.

    It was always cereal box fodder.

    One of em (I can remember which) had a really good TV commercial where these teenagers were on the front lawn celebrating their graduation and then Aliens rock up and spoil the party - don't have a PS3 so I've never played it but that commercial was boss.

      It was a Resistance 2 ad. I agree that it was awesome. It's what inspired me to go pick up the original Resistance. Based on the ad I expected the series was going to be some sort of War of the Worlds alien invasion set during the 50s and you'd play as a normal person trying to fight back against the invasion. Sadly, that was not the case. The bad guys weren't even aliens, at least not in the first game. I guess in a later game it's revealed they actually are. After playing Resistance though I never felt the need to continue on with the series. Out dated gameplay, a terrible story and terrible presentation of that sort all told me to keep away.

    I think what sets Resistance apart are its weapons. The Bullseye and and Auger are fantastic, and even the "standard" weapons like the shotgun and machine gun are well handled. There are definitely weapons which never get used but overall, they work well.
    And the return to a weapon wheel and healthpacks was a welcome one, for me, one which I really missed in Resistance 2. Evidently the fans thought so too, which is why it came back for 3.
    I think Resistance should get a lot more props; I've enjoyed all 3 more than any Halo of this generation. What it doesn't have is Halo's multiplayer, and community.

      Yeah I think resistance 2 ruined the series personally and it hasn't been able to recover. It felt removed from the first game, I missed Parker's narration

      And while the decision to kill off hale was ballsy I think that generally getting rid of your central character doesn't go down all that well

      I think the variety and innovation with weapons is something of a trademark of Insomniac's. I got the first Resistance on account of having thoroughly enjoyed the Ratchet and Clank series on my ps2 in the past. I loved the majority of the weapons in the first game, and coop was actually a blast.

      I wasn't into the sequel though, and I didn't bother trying 3. I think once Insomniac goes, they take the cool weapons with them and you're not left with much but for a stock-standard scifi shooter.

      Basically this... the first game was fantastic, still a product of a real FPS with the ability to carry multiple weapons, health packs, etc.

      R2 let the series down with the change to 2 weapons only and no health packs, it became a "me-too, look at me" game and it lost everything unique (although their co-op mode was so much fun). Some of the boss battles were really rubbish also. I loved the fact though they did play the ballsy move in killing off Hale.

      R3 is really the sequel that R:FoM should have originally got, so I will say to anyone that love the original, lost interest after R2, then you really should pick up the R3, it returns with co-op campaign and all the things you liked about the original. The story isn't perfect, and there were a few more things that I personally wanted before it ended, but they really capture how desperate the humans have become.

      I would certainly welcome further titles in the franchise though, I can see where the series could potentially head if that were the case, but I also have nothing against a new IP either.

    I disagree with the point that there is no discernable hero. I think The games were better when Hale wasn't being belted in to us as a hero, but then R2 and 3 focussed on the one man saving the world. I think that with the setting it was better for the hero to not be the focus and for humanity to be the focus, with the player character being the central driver for gameplay-plot. The first game was called Fall of Man, but in the end it wasn't humanity that stood up against the Chimaera, it was just a guy...

    My thoughts anyway.

    resistance 1 was great 2 not so much and i stopped playing 3 because of the audio and graphical bugs i kept getting.

    I think if they had of kept everything more in-line with resistance 1 the series might have had alot more success .

    i think if you werent a halo fanboy you wouldnt be taking shots here..... considering that you cant write an article well I cant really see it being fair that you take pop shots at a well developed game that tried to be different.

    Nice work taking cheap shots.

    I thought 3 was great, never played the others.
    Loved the whistling sounds the jumping aliens made and the gun that makes everyone puke and grow tumors.

    I personally love the Resistance series for the fact the games feel old school. I hate Halo and not because I'm a fanboy, I own both consoles. Resistance is a wicked fun old school game, I like everything from the setting, shooting mechanics and art direction. It certainly clicks with me, so speak for yourself, Plunkett.

    Halo is just yuck. Nothing about it is innovative or impressive. I will never understand the obsession. I see it as a wetdream for 12 year olds.

      If there was no Halo there would be no Resistance. So there is nothing innovative or impressive about Resistance. It was another PS3 shooter that was going to be another Halo killer and like all failed. The multiplayer was ordinary and the game as a whole bought nothing different, just copied others and not very well. Their is a reason why people like yourself need to compare shooters to Halo, just remember that.

    Same here, I just cant understand all the hype about halo. Halo has stayed the same for 10 years.
    Resistance 1 was alot like halo but when it wasnt as successful as halo they decided to take it in its own direction and made it better.

    Halo has its focus on multiplayer but for some reason people became hooked to singleplayer aswell and called it epic, the only epic thing about halo was the music.

    But resistance 2 took its own place. It changed the graphics to be more bright and colourful, the level designs became alot more spot on with the enviroments of the country its based in.
    The gameplay was more refined and only needed to fire 5-8 bullets to kill a normal enemie unlike halos 50 bullets.
    And the multiplayer was impressive. The battles would get hectic and it was fair and fun.

    Resistance 3 was easily the best. Although it had some bugs and the multiplayer was downsized, it still had very solid gameplayer, enviroments were stunning and the gunfights would get pretty darn exciting and the multiplayer was still pretty bloody good for its 16 player battles.

    console fps ... YES! i can finally get back to the stoneage YAY!

    I agree with Luke on a lot of points, mainly that the original premise was not used to great affect
    I personally really liked 1 and 2 but the idea that this was happening in the 50's didn't convince me, especially in number 2 everyone just kinda went with it, Its the 50's and Aliens are attacking! to someone in the 50's this would be unfathomable not to mention the alien tech, I mean sure Hale is a hardened soldier but in the face of everything extarordinary he doesn't bat an eye as if they were a normal enemy

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