Been there, repulsed that.
It's amazing how quickly gamers become jaded and elitist, but it's also a cold, hard fact that a couple of months alone with a PS2 can just ruin a guy. If you're one of those PS2-owning gamers out there who would sooner subject yourself to a vigorous body-cavity search than willingly regress to playing most PSOne titles, then consider C-12: Final Resistance your One-Stop Procto-Shop of 'nostalgic' gaming.
Don't let the staggeringly dull, generic name fool you: C-12 has mood, challenge and even something of a personality, but with the dated gameplay and visuals, it just takes some time to see it...perhaps longer than many gamers will be willing to wait.
Final Resistance gives it the old earnest, college try: Dark, desolate streets, ambient sounds of wind and unknown alien, uh, throbbings abound. Evil and Incredibly Rude Aliens ™ have invaded Earth, kicked collective carbon-based ass, and left a big, cloven, three-toed alien boot-print. As an elite member of the Final Resistance (C-12 is your parking space, I think), it's your job to roam the post-apocalyptic urban wastes and dispatch the invaders with whatever weaponry comes to hand while looking as much like an eye-laser-sportin' Borg with a Soldier of Fortune subscription as possible.
As if that weren't bad enough, the aliens have the gall to implant our own people with alien hardware in order to turn them into cybernetic supersoliders. Through a process not adequately explored, one lone human warrior has "accepted" such an implant, only to find himself able to use it against the alien invaders, and nobody knows why. Clearly, C-12 was also the bingo number used to pay the guy who wrote the backstory here. Onward.
If you loved the Syphon Filter games, you'll appreciate what C-12 is going for...and if you loathed 'em, you're screwed, because it's pretty much the same thing. Think removed-camera action/puzzle-solving elements, presented here in a warren of blighted cityscapes that makes the game seem free-roaming while still pretty much shuttling you along the intended gameplay path. You're physically cut off from the remaining resistance forces but are with them in spirit via radio updates which provide new objectives (like supplying energy to unpowered devices, rescuing trapped comrades and pushing around large crate-like objects, you big hunk of man, you).
The majority of your combat and movement is in third-person, with occasional snaps to first-person for the fine tuning required to dispatch the E.T.s with head-shots, man a mounted cannon to mow down the enemy in droves, and the like. It's all strung together with cinematic cues, audio go-tos, and lovely-brumbly downtrodden Scottish accents.
While you'll begin the game armed only with a sort of alien scythe or energy blade, you'll collect a more powerful and varied arsenal including grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and a couple of man-portable energy cannons. All the elements of a fairly sophisticated action/adventure game are here, and Final Resistance really does wring all the oomph it can out of the PSOne. It's perhaps unfair but true that a game like this is going to look unforgivably crunchy and old compared to the PS2 titles it's forced to share space-time with, but there are a lot of nice touches here. Transitions from running to climbing a ladder, say, is seamless; your guy slings his machine gun across his back and starts to climb with a simple upward motion on the left stick, just as he should (no annoying 'climb' commands). The R2 button allows our hero's Borg-Eye ™ to act as both first-person viewpoint and information terminal, giving useful data about the environments, enemies and pick-ups laying about the place. Meanwhile, the right stick allows for realignment of the camera that helps...some of the time.
And of course, the game is priced accordingly. It won't make you flock to this title should you already be a hard-core PS2 gamer, nor should it, but it's good to know that gamers still relying on the PSOne are still foremost in the thoughts of at least a few developers.
While most of the alien foot soldiers you'll encounter aren't even smart enough to scatter while their buddies are getting picked off with head-shots, Final Resistance is nevertheless not an easy game. Indeed, this difficulty is the saving grace of an otherwise been-there, done-that title. The game really requires players to think about the physical options open to them, and it's possible than even an experienced gamer might wander around a particular area in frustration, wondering what game-bug is preventing them from proceeding...only to suddenly realize in a flash that they haven't considered a clue that was openly handed to them at the beginning of the mission. Additionally, some physical manipulation of the surrounding environs is often required, long after (or regardless of that fact that) you have systematically slaughtered all non-human entities within a three-block radius.
In other words, Final Resistance may be a budget title, but it doesn't act like one, and it's fairly unforgiving to gamers who don't look around themselves and play it smart, even as they're itching to pump a grenade into the first thing that ought not to move and moves anyway. Not all PSOne title still clinging to the scene with their white, desperate fingernails have to be movie-license retreads and cutie-pie kiddie games. If you think yourself patient and hard-assed enough for Final Resistance's crunchy stoicism, I can guarantee you this much: You will be challenged.
And if you can come up with a less-generic premise or game title, Sony will gladly offer you parking space C-12.