Life & Style - Play - Alien nation (4 stars)

Alien nation

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David Meikleham looks at PS3’s hotly anticipated Resistance and wonders whether Sony’s disregard for the PAL territories finally alienated UK gamers

So it’s finally here, after a four month delay, a barrage of negative press, and spiralling development costs, but was the PS3 worth the wait? Initial sales figures suggest so. Sony managed to sell 600,000 units across Europe in the first week alone and there was little hassle for gamers in garnering a machine for launch day. Granted, the PS3’s European launch felt decidedly understated in contrast with the hysteria that welcomed both the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, but this could be down to Sony manufacturing more units than either of its competitors. Still, it’s hard not to feel short-changed when you first open the black behemoth.

After the initial half hour, which you’ll spend cooing at the console’s shiny veneer, the gloss wears off. The PS3’s new SixAxis pad, an updated version of the Dual Shock, feels insubstantial. The loss of the previous pad’s rumble feature to make way for gimmicky motion sensors being a particularly contentious point. Sony’s online service is also somewhat lacking compared to Microsoft’s mighty Xbox Live, though the PS3 does have a fully functioning internet browser. The inclusion of a Blu Ray player, while good value for money, is negated by the wealth of titles presently available in the UK (Stealth and SWAT, anyone?). All told it’s an impressive piece of kit, but, like any new system, the PS3 will live and die by its games. And while there’s no genre-defining ‘killer app’ to justify the lofty £425 price tag, the line-up compares favourably with past launches.

The pick of the games has to be Resistance: Fall of Man, a first person shooter that blends equal parts Call of Duty and Halo. Resistance sees you take charge of an American soldier in an alternate 1950s war torn Britain. Instead of fighting generic Nazis, you’ll be facing an onslaught of generic aliens. While Insomniac have put together an admirable effort for their first attempt at the genre, it’s clear that Resistance suffers from an identity crisis. The campaign mode and levels have been ripped straight from the pages of Uninspired Game Design 101, while the weapons at your disposal are decidedly refreshing in contrast. Alternate fire modes for all the main guns, such as an alien assault rifle that can penetrate walls, are the game’s saving grace. While it’s not the Halo-killer some may have been expecting, Resistance remains consistently engaging.

Resistance: Fall of Man (Insomniac) is out now

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