Game Review: Stargate: Resistance
Release: February 10, 2010
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Developed by FireSky, now owned and operated by Dark Comet Games
Available Platforms: PC
Players: Up to 16 online
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Thanks to the Stargate: Resistance team for providing some great art!
Stargate: Resistance is a multiplayer only, third-person shooter developed by FireSky but now owned, operated, and updated by Dark Comet Games. I really didn’t know what to expect the first time I booted up the game, as I wasn’t a big Stargate fan. What I found in Stargate: Resistance really surprised me.
Stargate: Resistance is a third-person shooter, and it’s online only. There is no practice mode against the A.I., and there isn’t a campaign either. There isn’t even an opening cinematic. This isn’t really that big of a deal, but it’s odd that they chose such a rich universe to base their game on, and then have virtually no story to back it up.
When you boot up Stargate: Resistance you are presented with a galaxy map. From this galaxy map, you can select different planets. Each of these planets serves as a map, so you are effectively choosing which map you want to play on. When you click on these planets, it brings up a list of games that are active on that map. There are many different game modes, such as Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Capture the Tech (read: Flag), and more. You can select which game mode you want to play on which map, which is nice. You can choose exactly which game type on which map, and even dictate the faction you play as (see why this is important below).
Also, each of these maps has a ring around it representing the “Galactic Struggle”, and different buffs and bonuses are awarded to factions depending on their success at the given moment. I really didn’t notice it affecting play that much, and they balance out (once side receives a damage bonus, the other receives a health boost). On this map, you can also view your profile, where you are able to customize your characters to some degree, although you may have to purchase additional packs for some outfits. Your profile also allows you to do some basic standard stat-tracking and view your achievements. Yes, there are achievements here, but you can’t compare them with your friends, and there really isn’t any incentive to earning them. Again, there isn’t anything new or revolutionary here.
Gameplay in Stargate: Resistance relies on you interacting with your team on a constant basis. There are only three classes for each side. For example, the Stargate Command has a Scientist (which is a support class), Commando (a ranged sniper class), and a Soldier (the tank). However, if you play as the System Lords, be prepared to learn a whole different play style altogether. I don’t mean that as a critique; it’s actually refreshing to have to change play styles based on the team you choose. Again, you can choose to play as one faction if you want by selecting them at the galaxy map when you boot up the game, so it like you have to be awesome at both. However, whatever team you choose, your team needs a few of each of these different classes working together if you have any hope of winning.
If there is one word that stuck in my mind while playing Stargate: Resistance it was balance. All the classes have a place, and if you play the class correctly, nothing can stop you. Conversely, the game seems the most frustrating when you are getting crushed because you aren’t playing your class correctly. There is very little room for improvisation here, but it makes Stargate stand out from a “lone-wolf” type game such as Modern Warfare 2. The maps here are also noteworthy. Maps have spots for every class to use to their advantages. Little sniper ledges are commonplace, but there is also a great balance of tight corridors (which makes for chaotic battles) and wide open spaces (which allow you to maneuver more easily). They do seem a bit large for some game modes however. A lot of the time, battles occur in a small portion of the map for the entire game, so every time you respawn you have to spend 15 seconds running to the action
Technically, the gameplay is decent. The camera always allows you to see the action and never gets in your way. The hit detection can be spotty at times but for the most part not it isn’t bothersome. The controls work fine, and you have everything you would expect in a shooter. All your favorite game modes are here. It is fine to play with, but it lacks a certain polish the big-budget titles have.
As for story, there isn’t really a good one. A couple paragraphs reside in the manual that serve to give a reason to pit Stargate Command and the System Lords away, but that is about it. However, a lot of the little things are in-line with the Stargate Universe. All the weapons and classes line up with the Stargate you know and love, so true fans won’t be totally disappointed.
The graphics in Stargate: Resistance are surprising as well. It is built on the Unreal 3 engine, so you can expect lifelike animations and nice textures. It’s nice to be fighting in a narrow corridor and see sparks flying off the wall (nice consolation for my poor aim). On a snowy world, you can see the snow falling, which helps draw you into the game. The particle effects were also nice. I did experience some random glitches and some textures popping-in, but that is forgivable with an online game (especially since those instances were few and far between). You won’t be blown away by these graphics, but anybody with a decent machine should be able to run them at least medium settings. The sound was above average. The guns had a pop, and the special abilities each had distinct sounds (it helps tremendously to identify your attacker because of the sound of their attack). The music got old and tiresome after a while. You can silence it if necessary, but I found it really didn’t get in the way. Somewhat of a sore spot for me was the lack of commentary by the characters. You could call for a medic, but your character wouldn’t scream it out loud. Your only cue would be text in the message box. Dialogue would have improved the experience significantly.
The last thing that blew me away was the community. As soon as I jumped in a game, the other players were welcoming and extremely helpful. They answered all of my questions, and helped me learn the game without putting pressure on me to over-achieve. Everyone wants to win, but there is a great sense of camaraderie that I haven’t seen in any other community of late. The sense of community is almost worth the price of admission by itself. The developers have been constantly updating the game and keeping it fresh and balanced, which is a welcome change. Also, the developers are also very involved in the community, often hopping in games and swapping stories with the players. I have never seen such a close relationship between the developers and the players before.
However, the community might also be Stargate: Resistance‘s downfall. While the game is solid overall, the player population is astonishingly low for game that has been out a relatively short period of time. Often times, there are only one or two games going on at a time. This was on a weeknight, granted, but I don’t want to see the games list during the day. The anemic player count is surprising and somewhat disappointing, but this is one problem the developers can’t fix with a patch.
Another problem I had with the game is that it has an amazingly steep learning curve. There is no tutorial. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada. You are on your own. I was able to compensate with great teammates who really bailed me out, but you won’t find a tutorial to teach you what to do once in the game. There is a manual, but you have to actively look on the web for it. It’s nowhere to be found in game. You are left out to dry when you first boot up the game. Other than that, you won’t find any other major problems.
In conclusion, Stargate: Resistance is a solid game. There really wasn’t anything that I saw made me say, “Well, it would have been playable except for…” It’s a good, well-developed game that has a few minor flaws.
Let’s go over some of the positives of the game:
- Gameplay is solid. A perfectly capable team-based third-person shooter.
- Graphics were above average.
- The community is top-notch, especially the the developer/player relationship. Simply amazing.
- The price is low, but you must keep in mind that you aren’t getting anyting BUT online multiplayer.
- It is balanced extremely well.
However, there are some drawbacks:
- There is an extremely steep learning curve. BE AWARE!
- The sound is lacking when compared the graphics.
- The game population is very, very small. I am not sure how much longer this one will be around.
The game is solid. No doubting that. If you are a team-based shooter fan or a hard-core Stargate fan, go for it. For the price, you really can’t go wrong. However, if you are on the fence, check out Ben Lehman’s second opinion before you finally make your decision.