Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: 1 – 2, 2 – 16 (online)
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Hours Played: 12
Progress: Finished the campaign
Now a staple among Playstation 3-exclusive titles, the Resistance franchise epitomizes all that a quality FPS title should be. Awesome weapons, frenetic pacing, well-tuned controls and non-stop action. With so much to live up to, can this third iteration in the franchise succeed? Read on to find out…
The Resistance games tell the story of an alternate 1950′s world that has been invaded by the alien “Chimera”. Technologically advanced and utterly ruthless, these Chimera either annihilate or convert every human being in their path to human-alien hybrids. As countries slowly collapse a hero by the name of Nathan Hale fights a desperate struggle as part of the human resistance. Immune to the Chimera virus that has been released across the planet, Hale continues to fight even in death, which happens at the end of the last game, by providing antibodies that allow humanity’s surviving warriors to resist this disease.
In Resistance 3 the player assumes the role of Joseph Capelli, family man and resistance fighter in a small community in Oklahoma and former Sentinel and squad member of Hale. Wishing nothing more than to forget the ravages of war and move on with life, trouble finds Capelli and his kin and he ultimately decides for the sake of his wife and young son’s future, to heed the pleas of Dr. Fyodor Malikov and travel with him to New York to attempt to bring down the massive spire there that seems to be the hub of all Chimera activity.
Cut scenes are usually brief and aside from setting up the next challenge as the player progresses from one check point to the next, making his way across the Eastern United States towards New York City, there is not much going on story-wise. Most of the story is told through the set pieces in the game. Ravaged cities and infected buildings tell the tale of a world that is on the brink of collapse. Massive alien structures and hordes of enemies are a constant reminder of the hopeless struggle this one man faces against overwhelming odds. The game introduces some friends and the odd companion but Resistance 3 is at its best when it drapes you in desperation, shoves a gun in your hands and asks you only to survive.
Visually the Resistance franchise has always looked good, however it never quite reached the fidelity of titles like Killzone or Gears of War. This time around Insomniac Games has once again stepped up its efforts and produced its finest offering yet. The detail of the environments is stunning, bombed out buildings reveal their ravaged interiors as their collapsed walls lay crumbled around them and swirling snow covers Chimera fortifications and dilapidated New York apartment buildings alike. Environmental filters are phenomenal, sunlight is diluted by the ever pervasive dust, draping the levels in a soft, pastel-yellow. Abandoned buildings are filled with thick clouds of spores while an organic moss covers much the of their interior. The lighting takes center stage in Resistance 3, the way it dynamically casts shadows and provides brief moments of reprieve in an otherwise dank and dark world is amazing. While making my way through the mountains of Pennsylvania in the pitch black of night I was tracked by a Chimera drop ship. As I was scurrying through the brush to avoid detection, its search light lit up the environment, showcasing the stunning lighting in the game. The way the branches of bushes and trees were etched out in shadows as the search light panned past them was absolutely amazing and fully dynamic, as every time you replay the level the drop ship flies a different path.
The game still has a slightly cartoonish look, however its realism has been significantly enhanced by way of the amazing lighting filters. Character models are reasonably well animated and look good, however it is the Chimera models who impress a lot more than their human counterparts. The cut scenes are typically brief but well done, oddly, they show just how much Capelli resembles Hugh Jackman in this game. Like the game before it, Resistance 3 plays with scale, the draw distance and size of the environments is very impressive. Whether you are on a rigidity riverboat being chased by a massive Chimera Goliath or standing at the base of one of the immense floating, Chimera terraformers, the scale is always impressive.
I really like Resistance 3‘s soundtrack, it is both haunting and beautiful and is often the players’ lone companion while making their way through war torn, Eastern United States. The sound effects are especially effective, hearing the low-pitched growls and snarls by Chimera Grims as I made my way through pitch black buildings was an extremely frightening experience. Voice acting is decent and the overall audio presentation in Resistance 3 is simply top notch.
Resistance 3 controls like a dream, it may not favor the level of agility found in Halo or the quick cover mechanics from Gears of War but its level of precision is second to none. The default control scheme is one of the more conventional and intuitive ones out there with R1 for fire, L1 for aiming, L2 for grenades and R2 for secondary fire. Jumping is performed with the X button , crouching with the circle button , reloading is the square button, tapping the triangle button switches to the last used gun and holding it pressed brings up the fabled weapons wheel. In multiplayer the precision suffers a bit however, mostly due to frame rate and lag issues. Like Killzone 3, Resistance 3 can also be played with the new Sony Playstation Move Sharp Shooter, there is even a kit available that bundles the game and gun.
Resistance 3‘s shooter gameplay is all about fast pacing, challenging enemies and big weapons. In between the bigger confrontations, which can involve everything from chancing upon a confrontation between a massive, feral Widow Maker and militant Chimera, to staving off a Chimera invasion force while defending a resistance hideout, there are the quiet parts. These quiet parts are a grim reminder that humanity is in its final throws of extinction and that Joe Capelli stands alone for much of his quest. Making your way through a shelled out house that has been covered by fleshy pods while hearing the growls of its soon-to-be-spawned residents, is a fearsome experience indeed.
Known for its wide variety of exotic weapons, Resistance 3 ups the ante by adding new ones like the mutator, which fires gobs of rapidly mutating Chimera virus and the cyro gun, which freezes enemies in their tracks. Many of the weapons’ secondary fire ability add a tactical component that allow the player to set up defensive perimeters and traps, not unlike the new placmids that were introduced in Bioshock 2. A new change is that weapons now automatically upgrade by using them throughout the game, each weapon has two different levels of improvement to work towards, all with their own distinct advantages.
Resistance 3 is a tough game, enemy AI is sophisticated, especially Chimera Hybrids are very adept at using cover, always being on the move and using grenades. While the medium difficulty still throws resilient and adaptive enemies at you, it provides plenty of ammo and health upgrades to keep the player going. Switch to hard however and be prepared for a real challenge, and that is without even attempting the “inhuman” difficulty mode which is unlocked after completing the game for the first time. Although the main concept of the game never strays from “shoot that bad guy!” the pacing and gorgeous environments ensure boredom never sets in.
A significant part of Resistance 3‘s gameplay experience, the multiplayer, is a little bit more chaotic and less refined than Call of Duty‘s but not quite as frenetic as Halo. A big change over last game is reducing the total player count from 60 to 16 (8 VS 8). This was the right move, maps feel tighter, are very well designed and have lots of cover and architectural objects to make use of. As is to be expected, weapons and skills (four in total, two active- and two passive) can be upgraded. By levelling up, new weapons and abilities become available however, in order to choose them as part of your load out, skill points have to be used. These skill points are awarded upon leveling up and also serve as the required currency to upgrade both weapons and skills.
At first the game seemed a bit unbalanced to me, there are no match making filters that allow you to play with people of your own skill level and some weapons can really get quite powerful once upgraded. What has to be noted though is that weapons dropped by dispatched opponents can be picked up just by walking over them and are available for use simply by highlighting them from the weapon wheel, until you die that is. This makes it much easier for new gamers to be on an at least somewhat more level playing field and prevents gamers with more experience to be the only ones that can dominate.
There are a number of negatives here that weigh the multiplayer experience down a bit. First of all, the frame rate can be an issues, couple this with regular lag and things can get frustrating, especially when the outcome of a tense fire fight hangs in the balance. Spawn points are also far too predictable, making spawn camping much too lucrative. Spawning in general seems to be an issue, during Free For All matches I regularly saw three different people spawning in exactly the same spot within mere seconds of each other. Lastly, the game is really missing a kill cam, instead we get a brief close up of the killer but it fails to show us exactly in what manner we got killed. Who cares what the guy looks like or what he’s holding? I can see his name and weapon on the dialog box in the bottom left corner of the screen anyway, I want to know in which manner he got lucky enough to get the best of me.
This is one of those rare games where the objective based game modes, which so often feel like a tacked-on afterthought, are just as much fun as plain old deathmatch. Most are variants of king of the hill with chain reaction being one of the most popular. In this team-based game mode each team attempts to gain control over several locations to open or collapse a wormhole. Resistance 3 has a very healthy online community, no matter what the time or day, I was in a match within mere seconds, lobbies fill up quick and available games are found extremely quickly.
I absolutely love Resistance 3‘s campaign, its biggest pitfall is simply that it’s too short. Clocking in at about six hours, technically it is not all that much shorter than some other recent triple-A FPS games, it is just that the experience is so satisfying that you do not want it to end. Multiplayer and hidden collectibles of course add replay value but for those of us who enjoy a good single player experience it all ends a tad too quickly, I suppose this means one had better start the game on the hard difficulty setting to get the most out of it.
Resistance 3 is everything you would want out of an FPS, great weapons, lots of enemies, superb visuals and enjoyable multiplayer. The single player campaign is over a bit quickly and multiplayer mode does have a few issues but overall this is a solid successor to 2008′s Resistance 2. FPS fans with a Playstation 3 would do well to pick this title up.
+ Resistance 3 uses its environments very effectively to tell its story
- There is not much going on here narrative-wise
+ Beautiful environments with great scope
+ Stunning lighting- and environmental filters
- Frame rate issues in multiplayer mode
+ Great soundtrack
+ Fearsome sound effects
+ Precise controls and intuitive button layout
+ Fast-paced, highly satisfying shooter action
+ Great weapons line up with fun secondary abilities
+ Well designed maps
+ Very healthy online community
- Frame rate- and lag issues can slow things down
- Spawn mechanics need work
+ One of my favorite FPS games, it just “feels” right
- Single player campaign is too short