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PS3 Shooter Showdown: Single-Player

With several recent shooter releases, there is actually a decent selection worthy of doing a showdown.

These are listed from worst to best. Agree? Disagree? Speak up in the comments…


Summary: Endlessly repeating offices and warehouses. A real bore.

I expected a great shooter with some technical porting problems. I got the exact opposite: the port was perfectly adequate (I tried the PC demo as well as the PS3 game) but the game itself was terrible.

All games have repetition, but this was really excessive and stale. Even the scary scripted scenes were repetitive. This developer is known for very creative original titles. NOLF2 and Tron are two of my favorites. But this just falls flat.

The Darkness

Summary: An average flashy and forgettable shooter. Great graphics, lots of extras, and stylish presentation and effects. But the story and pacing really dulled my experience with the game.

I could imagine potentially loving this kind of dark style and writing when I was younger. However, today, it just seems hackneyed and junky. The graphics and effects are still top notch, but overall, this was merely average.

I read the Darkness comics. While the art was fantastic and the writing had some cool parts, overall the comics were mediocre. Unfortunately, the video game is worse. The comics were more about epic supernatural struggles between mystical sects, while the game pretty much skipped all that and was just about killing gangsters and cops in NYC.

Rainbow Six: Vegas

Summary: Great, solid tactical shooter. While the multi-player is great, the single player was merely good. It does what it does very well, but has a somewhat narrow focus.

This game improves on the tactical shooter genre with better graphics and a variety of improvements. It’s nothing ground-breakingly new, but it’s well done for it’s type of game. This can be a little slow paced compared to other shooters, but it’s fun. As a single-player game: good but not great.

Half-Life 2

(Not yet on PS3. Impressions from PC version)

Summary: Great but dated shooter. Lots of great innovations for it’s time, huge length and variety, but also many flawed pieces (vehicles, story, uneven level design). Overall, it’s a great title and was a notable technical achievement for its time, but nothing grounbreakingly original.

This game definitely gives you value. This is a long game with lots of content. However, the quality is mixed. There are some very creative levels that are exciting to play through, but there is also some long dull levels and boring puzzles. This game sets you up for some really spectacular gunfights but other parts, such as the drivable vehicles, feel very unpolished.

One other piece I didn’t like is the story. Most shooters have this type of junk sci-fi plot with common cliches and terrible dialog. However, it’s usually easy to simply ignore the narrative and enjoy the exploration and action. However, this game makes you sit through frequent scripted NPC dialog scenes. Listening to the cute girl in jeans lecture about her father or the old scientist go on and on about some space machine mumbo-jumbo is horribly boring and completely disconnected from the game play.

Resistance: Fall Of Man

Summary: The current king of the hill. Definitely my favorite single-player shooter. In a way, this is like a “Best Of” game that incorporates the best elements from other shooters, but Resistance improves on all of them and provides a huge variety of game play. Very easy to play through. Every aspect is very well polished throughout the whole experience. Overall, there is nothing fundamentally groundbreaking here, but it has lots of touches of innovation, and this perfects a wide range of gameplay elements.

What I really like about this game is just the overall level of polish and variety throughout the game. The first level is plain, which I assume is intentional to allow novices a chance to get accustomed to the controls. However, all the other levels are very well designed, well paced, they set you up for very exciting action scenes, and are very fun to play. Some other highlights:

  • Enemies: Every enemy has some really cool scripted moves that cause some great “wow” moments. I actually jumped out of my seat the first time I was biten by a zombie. Or the insect-like enemies will sometimes swarm in large numbers and scurry across walls and ceilings. That’s not an original concept, but I’ve never seen it done so well or to such dramatic effect as it’s done here.
  • Sound: The use of surround sound in this game seemed much better than most. Also, this game supports true 7.1 PCM audio if you have an HDMI audio receiver.
  • Glass Shattering: Very cool! Also, the spikey hedgehog spike grenades detonate very realistically. Small touches like these definitely add up.
  • Vehicles: I’ve never seen vehicles this polished in a shooter. However, the vehicle portions are more of a fun diversion than a core part of the game.
  • Story: I usually hate stories in shooters. Every other game that I mentioned had a terrible story and terrible dialog. Resistance has a generic story, but at lea0st it’s not painfully bad, which is a huge improvement. I still skipped over all the collectible story notes you find. However, the cut scenes between levels were actually mildly amusing diversions rather than annoying interruptions.


Resistance has easily held on to the crown. However, with so many big titles in this genre coming later this year, I suspect that will change…