18th September 2011 - Resistance has unique sentiment for me and I suspect many other PS3 owners as it was one of my launch titles. It was fairly successful, being the first PS3 game to sell a million copies. The alternate 1950’s, first person shooter introduced us to the alien race the Chimera, and their domination through Europe and man’s struggle to fight back.
Now in Resistance 3, things are bleaker than ever. The Chimera has spread throughout the world and humans have been reduced to small pockets struggling to survive. The series has always been entertaining and fun to play alone and with friends, but it’s also had issues stopping it from being truly great. I don’t think they have nailed it this time around either, but geez, are they close.
For followers of the series you will notice the story is more personal and visceral in Resistance 3. Without ruining it with too many details, you are Joseph Capelli, an ex-special forces soldier who has tried to make a life amidst the background of the Earth falling to the overwhelming Chimeran army. Rather than telling the story of a soldier saving the world, Resistance 3 focuses on a father and husband just trying to save his family. This perspective matches well with the atmosphere and background of the game as gone are the large coordinated military counter-attacks in previous games. Humanity is on its last legs and Insomniac has created a world that looks and feels the part. One that is lonely, desperate and testing, as humans turn on each other trying to secure limited resources.
The gameplay mechanics are tight and the style of fighting matches the plot well. There is no regeneration of health here, if you go running out guns blazing without any health in sight, your dead. You are always outnumbered, rarely have help, and need to have your wits about you to survive.
Something else Resistance 3 does well is the variety of levels and pacing. There are a whole range of levels from huge fire fights with more enemies than you can count, to stalking missions, building sized bosses to take down and vehicle levels. There is always enough of a change in pace that you never get bored with the same mechanic.
One advantage with this is it strongly encourages you to use a variety of weapons, one of the Resistance franchises strong points. Old favourites have returned like the Bullseye, Carbine, Auger and .44 Magnum. There are also some fun new ones like the Mutilator which causes enemies to grow huge, acid filled cysts that not only kill the victim but damage those around them when it explodes. Friggin awesome.
The weapon wheel makes a welcome return from Resistance 1 which makes choosing any number of weapons quick and easy on the fly. Another addition which is increasingly popular with shooters these days is upgrades. Each weapon can be upgraded twice and is achieved simply by using it. Each upgrade not only proves useful but it gives a good incentive to use a variety of weapons and experiment with tactics in order with to upgrade your whole arsenal.
For those who are so inclined Move compatibility has been included. I haven’t personally been a fan of Move in shooters thus far. Aiming on screen is fine but when you need to turn, especially while strafing, it becomes tiresome and inaccurate with inevitable overcompensation usually followed by your death. Still with reasonable adjustments to sensitivity on offer it is the best use I’ve experienced so far in a FPS.
Enemy AI is a bit of a mixed bag. At times they will flank you, duck for cover effectively, and zig zag while you’re trying to sniper them. Other times they just stand there after being hit, almost goading you to take their head off with a second shot.
Co-op Campaign makes a welcome return with the ability to play split screen or online which is handy if your mate can’t be assed getting off his lounge to come over and sure to add replay value as level design allows for certain large battles to tackled from several angles.
Multiplayer has been scaled back significantly from previous iterations which involved up to 60 players. With only 16 players on the field this time around things are much less chaotic. On offer is the usual tried and tested Death match, Team Death match and capture the flag. There is also chain reaction, breach and invasion which involve more tasks such as systematically taking territory and reminds me of some modes from Unreal Tournament 3 or Killzone 3. My initial experience with the multiplayer was poor with bad network connection and the whole system freezing. Whether this was my PS3 or bugs in the network I’m not sure but it was fine every time after.
There is an upgrade system in play where points gained add to your level and your level increases open up different weapon layouts and special abilities. Fortunately for those used to being cannon fodder (i.e. me), Insomniac are fairly generous in giving out points so even the most incompetent of players will be able to gain points and progress.
Resistance 3’s story is ironically, one of its strengths and potentially one of its few weaknesses. It isn’t a major problem by any deal, but at several points throughout the game you come across sequences that feel like they should be played out and instead you are a passive observer. It kind of feels disjointed and your left out of the action a bit as things go on around you that you have no bearing on. Now obviously I appreciate this is done to help tell and progress the story, but I can’t help but feel robbed of scenes that could have been fleshed out into controllable sequences.
Another small anomaly, which may be a side effect of the style and tone of the story, is it seems to lack any real epic moments. Yeah there are twists in the story, and yes there are boss battles and conflicts with large numbers of Chimera, but for some reason it just lacks that stick in your memory moments that I found in the previous two games.
It’s interesting to fire up Resistance: Fall of Man and then play Resistance 3 to see just how far Insomniac has come with the PS3. The textures, lighting and level of detail in the environments, characters and weapons are beautifully created without a hint of any slowdown and if you’re lucky enough to have a 3D TV it further bolsters how far things have come in the last 4 years. If you have R:FoM or can get a hold of a copy I really encourage you to pop it in before you play and see for yourself.
The voice acting is solid throughout R3. It’s not at Uncharted levels but has believable main characters and banter going on with those you walk past being meaningful and actually directed at Joe Capelli when he walks past.
Enemy sounds of thundering roars and piercing screeches certainly make you sit up and even jump at some places. The music sets the mood really well, amping up as you engage in big battles and eerily putting you on edge when sneaking through a Grim infested house.
Weapons sound fantastic when they fire, even better when they hit flesh and the sound of a host of rockets pelting the Earth from the Wildfires secondary fire is something I won’t get sick of anytime soon.
Although the Campaign is relatively short at around 10-12 hours, the ability to upgrade weapons, find collectables, play Co-Op and the upgradeable features of the multiplayer still make this great value for money. Multiplayer will still be cranking along in a few months’ time and the ability to select specific levels to re-complete in Co-Op means you and your mates can tackle favourite levels again and again.
In an age of gaming where console exclusives are becoming increasingly rare, the Resistance series has been a staple for many PS3 owners. Resistance 3 progresses and matures the story, providing a personal and gut wrenching series of events. The gameplay is well balanced in the context of the story with large fights, flowing into stalking and sneaking missions and back again. The weapons are varied, have useful upgrade features, are fun to use and there are enough features alongside the single player campaign to keep you wanting to come back for more.
The style and pacing of the story may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that sense of epic scale battles is missing from previous instalments, but then again this is a very different world and so makes sense in context.
Resistance 3 offers up a great package which is hard to find any serious faults with and showcases just how far Insomniac have come with the PS3.
+ Personal, visceral storyline
+ Great range of upgradeable weapons
+ Pacing of gameplay well balanced
- Some sections of story could be playable instead of passive
- Lacks the truly epic feel of the previous games
Reviewed and Written By Khye Davey