Retro Monday: “C-12: Final Resistance”

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The saga of Crytek UK and the news cold-open continues…
So… Crytek has finally come forward and said there was some recent financial troubles within the company. At least a “transitional phase” (citation: GamesIndustry.Biz) where they are moving to a more digital and online publication service so more money and capital is/was needed. Read this as ‘we focusing on our ‘Good Old Games.Com’ publication platform because Steam and money‘. The platform is pretty good so advancing it is a great idea. I just don’t want them to get tunnel vision on just the releasing platform to the detriment of they developing sector.
Internally, we have acknowledged that the flow of information to employees has not been as good as it should have, however we hope you understand that communicating details of our plans publicly has not always been possible.”

I understand but I’m still concerned. A lot of high-ranking people left while you were curled up in your financial tunnel. Give us some information on your games currently in development and put us all at ease. (“Homefront: The Revolution” to be exact. I’m dying to see Americans as the “terrorist” group for all the irony it brings. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” so nerrr to naysayers.) The last thing both of us want is your games to be crap.

Title: “C-12: Final Resistance

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge (Now, Guerrilla Cambridge)

Publisher: SCE Europe

Released: April 2001 (PAL)

July 2002 (NA)

2001 was the advent of the grizzled space marine who fights aliens who want to destroy humanity/the world/the universe. The archetype that is the no-faced man in space armour with a blue ‘private alone time‘ hologram came out this year too. Before you start, I don’t like ‘HALO‘. It fits with my dislike of ‘Call of Duty‘. But the former I respect and can understand the appeal and the love of the extended universe. The later is just [EDIT: awful and bad] with nothing to offer but a patch/update to their online multiplayer.

Final Resistance‘ sees you play as Lieutenant Riley Vaughan after the big spectacle of all of civilisation being destroyed (this was the PlayStation One after all). As the story goes, aliens invaded because they want our carbon, (Carbon 12 (C12) being the most common form of carbon). With humanity being on the bring of destruction (again) Vaughan has been transformed into what they are fighting. The aliens steal away humans and turn them in to cyborgs for the robot army and that is what Vaughan has become. A cyborg! Although not a full cyborg. Although after playing the some of the “Deus Ex” series, Vaughan would only pass as a really messed up augmented. But it does give the feel that the cyborg-ing process was haphazard and done with technology the humans didn’t understand. It goes with the idea that this was done a last-ditch attempt to stave of extinction, at any cost, one last time.

That’s the one thing that the game does really well. You play as a bad-ass army man with cyborg powers (limited by the power of the console so no fancy effects). But most of the solders look at you with fear because you are what they are fighting and you have a laser coming out of your “Terminator” style eye. Played with the dystopian setting it has that ‘survive at any cost‘ vibe I said from before but it doesn’t get laborious or preachy. It’s just plays out as a former army man, now cyborg super solder, doing his job. Vaughan says at one point that he knows that he is different from the rest humanity now, and by the end (when something big and spoiler-y happens) is forced to accept his separation in it entirety. There is even a twist at the halfway point when the sub-but integral-antagonist is introduced that involves him and the (what can be called but isn’t) love interest about how far the cyborg process has gone and how it changes people.

The story is the best thing about the game. It has that ‘really deep if you think about it for too long‘ aspect which is something I relish in. It just means that I can play a game that I bought over a decade ago and still have a fresh experience when I play it now.

While the story is great, the rest of the game is pretty average. Most of the game has you adventuring through a level finding keycards and doing pushing block puzzles. They never get boring or frustrating, being just right length and complexity most of the time. In the more open levels it can be very easy to get lost and end up back tracking but there are only a few open levels so it would be a rare occurrence. Most of the game is liner in the “Tomb Raider” style of ‘here is an area and the door to progress is locked‘. It’s a staple of the action adventure genre these days.

While it transcends its age in some respects it sits unmoving in others. The story is one that would be good even by today’s standards, minus the fact that the dystopian alien invasion genre has been milked to death the last few years. The rest of the game just feels dated and there is no way round it. I like the game and enjoy playing it but it is one that has been relegated to the history books. I wouldn’t mind playing a game these days takes hints from Final Resistance’s plot, where bad stuff happens to the player character but they have to trudge through, just watching bad thing happen, and do the job he was built to do. “HALO” only managed to do that with their latest numbered instalment.

I do hope that modern games take some hints from games like this that sit relegated into the history books, rather than their co-developed cousins that they have more in common then just their heritage. Mixing some octogenarian blood in to the gene development pool may sound weird but at least it would be mixing something different in the pool. I’d rather have a new “HALO” like series that has the promise of going somewhere rather than another “CoD” like series, developed by dozens of studios, and still moves less than the tectonic plates.

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