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
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.
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.
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.