Resistance has been one of the most popular franchises on the PlayStation 3 since it helped launch Sony’s current generation hardware. What it was supposed to be was the premiere first person shooter for the console. What it ended up being, is a game that has undergone many changes over its three renditions. Insomniac’s rewrite of history is an interesting one, if you’ve made the journey through all three games. While Insomniac doesn’t do much for those that have never played a Resistance game before, the concepts are familiar ones. The Chimera, the ugly six-eyed baddies you’ll likely see plastered on any type of media for the game, have taken over the earth. All parts are in disarray, with small segments of fighters holding out where and while they can. Resistance 3 picks up where number two left off, and that includes the fact that you’ll be playing with an entirely new hero this time around. You are chosen to take on a mission that could save the world in traditional against all odds fashion.
Much of what Resistance 3 gets right this time around boils down to fun-factor. Resistance 3 is hell of a ride in the single player campaign, despite its many glaring faults. It’s an exceptionally good looking game for starters, and that never hurts when combing through which praises about the game are most important. Since first person shooters are all about immersion, Insomniac’s job well done on the graphics for their latest can’t go without recognition. Character models, environments, special effects, and the game’s mixed presentation will keep your eyes glued to the screen at all times. Since Resistance 3 is a story in which the hero, Joseph Capelli, is tasked to travel to New York to take down the Chimeran “Death Star” if you will, there are plenty of varied environments throughout. Traveling to New York you’ll see all the trappings of traditional first person shooters almost to a fault. You have your snow level, your spooky level, your mystery plot twist level, alien enemy base, and of course vehicle sequence(s). While some of these things have been used ad nauseum by other games in the genre over the years, Resistance does make each level fun with a combination of gameplay twists that make each level unique to Resistance 3, with a unique graphical style that very few games in history have ever matched. Showcasing the PlayStation 3 horsepower and a strong developer pedigree, Insomniac really dials up the intensity in Resistance 3 in the form of things like explosions, shaky cam effects, and particles. Some battles or chase sequences can be downright hair raising affairs with the amount of action taking place on-screen.
As has been the case in the past, Insomniac does not disappoint with the weapon selection, abilities, and power-ups in Resistance 3. The weapons themselves make the ride enjoyable, if only for the inherent coolness of alien technology. It can make for some unique brands of firefights which is paramount in a game where combat is going to playout in the same way many times throughout. New inclusions in the Resistance arsenal break up and separate itself from its predecessor well enough to keep you keen on picking up the new weaponary and using it enough to level it to gain new abilities, if just to see what it does. Joined at the hip with the graphics of the game, using these said special weapons also provide their own different amounts of eye candy depending on which ones you choose to fight with. The burrowing Chimera Auger is fantastic and adds a layer of depth to the battlefield, while the new Atomizer and Cryogun are both fun to play with and look cool while doing so.
This fun as I mentioned is a bit short-lived in the campaign, but unfortunately, the single player portion of Resistance 3 measures up to the standard that is now set for the genre. I clocked in my first playthrough in about 8hrs front to back. The real battle begins though when taking Resistance 3 out into the multiplayer arena. With an expanded set of game modes from the beta which had been running for the last few weeks, there’s plenty to play in Resistance 3’s multiplayer component. Insomniac may have taken a page from current genre leaders in multiplayer, but it definitely sets itself apart with its wide and varied weapons selection. Graphical fidelty also sees little degredation when moving over to the multiplayer so it is literally the gift that keeps on giving, long after the single player fun is over. Shipping with 8 multiplayer modes (and campaign co-op), Resistance can not be faulted for any lack of content. The beta was not without its bumps in the road, but in my time with the game I experienced zero issues with multiplayer. So it looks, like any bugs that may have hindered the game in beta have been squashed.
You’ll love Resistance for a number of reasons, I know I did. Many of those reasons might be superficial, but they do lead to what I found to make the game extremely enjoyable.
Resistance 3 is not without its faults. The under-developed story relies heavily on environment, and only your willingness to pick up artifacts throughout the game give a chance to get the most out of the story. The new characters are barely even grazed upon when talking about depth, motive, or emotion so finding a reason to care might be difficult for some. Resistance 3 is a game that forces you to go all-in at the very onset of the game. This choice is coaxed in what I found to be the easiest way, in giving the player some intense gun-play to wrap their hands around. Though it is something that is undeniable by game’s end, you just want a bit more from the story, and more importantly, a reason to care about Joe Capelli. If you don’t make this choice to care at the very onset, I could see Resistance 3 coming off as somewhat flat for the better part of the game, despite still being fulfilling in the fun department.
This method works well considering that the game is the third game in the franchise. The captive audience should care about the fiction. Though with so many changes made to the game, you would estimate that Insomniac had plans to reel in more fans to the franchise, and in my opinion, this needed a much deeper explanation than a 1:30 cut-scene at the beginning of the game to drive home major plot points. Buying all in as I said, is buying in completely to the fiction of not only the third game, but to the first two as well. Without better explanation, those that haven’t played Resistance 1 & 2 are going to have hard time with that.
The gameplay while fun, can rear some problems that those who choose to nit pick games (myself) will have absolutely no problems in identifying. The world as I described above does a great job of setting the atmosphere with lighting, sound, and other tension builders. The varied enemy units make for plenty of on-the-fly weapons adjustments as you see fit, and for the most part the pacing in regards to difficulty is well done. As you progress through the game and become a more proficient soldier, with better weapons, you’ll face more formidable foes (or at least more of them). Though the enemy AI is probably the single worst part about Resistance 3. Nearly all firefights will include multiple instances of an enemy or two just doing nothing, and it isn’t uncommon to find one staring right at you when you turn around. Wondering why they aren’t firing on you is only weird the first couple times, before you just come to accept the fact that the game probably just has a problem in that regard. The enemy AI problems aren’t limited to enemies standing in place, they’ll at times run sporadic loops that are not inspired by anything going on in game. Unfortunately this AI component creeps into the allied side as well. You’ll play through many levels where you are either tasked with protecting or following a computer controlled ally and problems can arise in the traditional forms that most games of this type incur. Its usually a case of too fast or too slow, and having to wait for these computer controlled squadmates. Furthermore, in a gunfight they are all but useless, and you can’t help but feel that you are doing most of the dirty work yourself.
Resistance 3 is probably Insomniac’s best work. It’s by far the best Resistance game in the franchise, and I would go as far as to say that it gives Killzone 2 a run for the best first party shooter on the PlayStation 3 this generation. The single player was an absolute blast to play, and with a multiplayer offering that is geared to satisfy long after the thrills of campaign wear off, Resistance 3 is a game that can keep you occupied for some time. Sure if you had to tick points off for minor problems throughout you could find your fair share, but in my estimation they did little to stop the overall enjoyment that could be found by fan and newcomer alike.