One of the most under-the-radar games this holiday season is undoubtedly Insomniac’s Resistance 3. In a holiday release window where many other AAA shooters are being released like Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (wow, that’s a lot of threequels), it’s easy to overlook a game like this. However, to do such a thing would be a crime against the gaming world. Resistance 3 delivers a fantastic experience with its unique array of guns and expertly paced campaign that is easily the best of the trilogy and one of the best PlayStation 3 exclusives to date.
The game starts off with a new lead character, Joe Capelli, who was (SPOILER) forced to kill the protagonist of the first two games, Nathan Hale. The game takes place four years after the events of Resistance 2. The Chimera having already won the war on humanity. Ninety percent of the human race is either dead or now a converted Chimera. Capelli and his family, as well as a small group of other human survivors, are forced to live underground in their hometown of Haven, Oklahoma due to the overwhelming numbers of Chimera that roam right above them. The constant tension and fear is felt from the moment players begin the story in the living quarters; wounded soldiers moan, a man laments his lost loved one, and a mother does refuses to bear her child into this horrifying world.
The human element of the game has been noticeably ramped up as with the characterization of Capelli. He has a wife and sick child that serve to create his internal struggle. The conflict starts when the famous and important Dr. Malikov, who has found a cure for the Chimeran virus using a unique protein found in Hale’s blood, finds Capelli to deliver a key piece of information: he has a strategy to end the war that hinges on Capelli. Both must travel from Oklahoma to New York by any means necessary to shut down a tower that is creating a wormhole in space as an entrance for more Chimera while freezing Earth to a point that is inhospitable for humans to survive but perfect for the Chimera. The rest of the game focuses on this journey with plenty of twists and surprises throughout.
The single-player campaign received the biggest tweaks in terms of a series revamp. The journey is expertly paced by Insomniac to give players quiet moments of stealth skirmishes that accentuate the huge chaotic battles with epic sized monsters. Going from Oklahoma to New York gives shows of a bevy of American environments, from riding a rickety boat in a foggy swamp to scaling a frozen city to reaching a Chimera base. The campaign itself is a linear journey, but many areas gives players huge and multiple-tiered environments to work with for different combat advantages and strategies. There are various types of Chimera with two main factions: feral and militarized. Both have diverse types that require different methods of elimination as some are able to fly around the map while others just require more bullets because of their sheer size. The A.I. for these creatures has seen vast improvement. Enemies smartly and tactically shoot and flank players from any point on the map rather then perform a scripted action triggered by gamers passing through an invisible wall.
Resistance 3 focuses on what the Resistance franchise has always done best: the guns. Gamers should herald the return of the weapon wheel from Resistance: Fall of Man, accessing 12 unique firearms that can be used at any point during the campaign. Some returning guns are the Bullseye, Carbine, Magnum, Rossmore, and Auger, but each have been tweaked and refined in subtle ways. Some of the new ones are the Cryogun, which freezes enemies in place only to emit a blast that shatters them, and the Mutator, which shoots a toxic ball that mutates enemies to make them explode and damage nearby targets. They all have tight and responsive controls and feel distinct from one another. Each gun also has a secondary fire that dramatically increases the way players can slay enemies. Another exceptional enhancement to the guns is the new upgrade system. Each gun has three levels to gain the more players use it that gives even more unique killing methods, such as the Rossmore being given incendiary rounds or the Bullseye being able to shoot three homing beams. The amount of ways to dispose of Chimera is staggering in Resistance 3.
Another notable feature of the game is that every mode offered can be played in co-op, whether it is online or local split-screen. The once standard split-screen mode offered by so many shooters in the past has been somewhat of a lost art these days. In Resistance 3, this comes at the expense of the eight-player campaign mode from Resistance 2, but it provides a tighter and more focused experience. While the campaign has no co-op designed implementations during any of the missions, it is still better to have it there than not.
The online multiplayer has also seen a significant change from Resistance 2, and while it doesn’t ultimately innovate FPS online multiplayer, it’s still done well. The 60 player battles in the previous game have been scaled down to 16 players, and as a result, Resistance 3 still provides a much more tactical experience. Players are given the standard multiplayer modes like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, but new modes such as Breach and Chain Reaction spice up the entertainment. Breach has players attack the other team’s reactors and vice versa while Chain Reaction has them gain or defend areas around the map to either open or prevent a wormhole from forming. Also included are Abilities, Killstreaks, and weapon upgrades. This system has worked well in other online multiplayer games but it has a distinct Resistance-style that fits the universe Insomniac has created. With plenty of leveling, modes, and unlockables, the online component provides the game with tons of replay value.
The overall presentation in Resistance 3 looks and sounds fantastic, with a 3D option if you have the required equipment. While the graphics are nice and shiny, the atmosphere is what really stands out. The environments provide tons of variety and fit an overall tone that the game conveys: a despairing 1950s. The attention to detail in the surroundings is exquisite, whether it’s the haunting fog dispersing through the cracks in the boat or the enormous Kraken corpse being feasted on by Chimeran leeches. Oh, and both of those are in the same chapter. The entire voyage bleeds atmosphere that immerses gamers into the world of Resistance. In addition, the game is more gruesome and bloodier than the last two entries. The Chimera are more visibly lethal this time around and the death animations have been intensified as well. The sound design should also be given a nod because of the melodies that complement the atmosphere as well as each gun sounding powerful and diverse.
Resistance 3 takes what was best from the last two games and intensifies the rest. The fantastically paced campaign as well as the unique arsenal of guns are fitting caps to the epic trilogy. The online multiplayer component is done well with a welcome addition being the split-screen option. The graphics look great and convey what it should: atmosphere. Resistance 3 is a must-own for any PlayStation 3 owner and can stand toe-to-toe with any other PlayStation 3 exclusive on the market.