reviews\ Sep 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Resistance 3 Review


Man, there are a lot of three-quels this year. Killzone, Uncharted, Gears of War, Mass Effect (announced, anyway)… it’s like everyone is trying to wrap up their epic sagas all at once, and we’re along for the ride on each one. The latest three-quel to push along its story arc is Resistance 3, a game that has a few components similar to the first two efforts, but also some new stuff to keep things interesting. It’s this combination, along with engaging co-op and multiplayer options, that makes this fight against the Chimera one of the more entertaining to date – even if it comes up slightly short in a couple of areas.

The game picks up right after the second Resistance, with ***SPOILER ALERT*** Joseph Capelli putting the fatal blow on Nathan Hale, the hero from the previous games. After finishing him off, a scientist discovers some kind of cure for the Chimeran virus that’s taken over 90 percent of the world. Rather than sit idly by and handle incoming invasions while keeping his family alive, Joseph vows to protect the man who’s working on the vaccine and getting him to New York City, where he stands a chance at saving the world. As expected, the journey comes with plenty of bumps, as all kinds of Chimera nasties want to plant you in the ground.

We admit – we miss Hale. Capelli isn’t much of a leading man when it comes to holding his ground against the invasion, and it shows in some of Resistance 3’s campaign. It’s fairly plotted, and there are plenty of events to keep things from tumbling into the doldrums, but we can’t help but think that something could’ve been done to make Capelli more of a heroic type, rather than just a family man trying to survive. Maybe that was Insomniac Games' intention, to give us some average Joe taking on the Chimera, rather than a superhuman like Hale. Still, this choice may not be to everyone’s liking.

Fortunately, the in-game action more than makes up for the lack in character substance. The guns are just as great as always, including the laser auger, that can shoot through solid objects (perfect for taking out snipers), and the Bullseye gun, which lets you fire one tracking shot where the others follow. (Someone’s been watching The Fifth Element, hmmm?) What’s cool this time around is how the guns level up over the course of battle, improving their performance to one degree or another, such as better firing speed or more ammunition capability. You can carry as much as you like, and you’ll need access to whatever firepower you can get, as the Chimera are even nastier than before.

Along with weapon power-ups, Capelli can also power up over the course of his journey, improving his skills and gaining access to bubble shields and other goods. They’re nothing amazing, but if they make all the difference between life and death, you’ll want to use them.

Unlike the eight-player co-op from Resistance 2, Insomniac opted to go with a two-player set-up this time around. Considering the more intense storyline involved with this sequel, it kind of makes sense. It's total fun provided you can find a partner to keep up with you. This is an area where the game slightly falters if you don’t have a friend around. You can team up with someone, but there’s no matchmaking system to find a player of similar skill. It’s a crapshoot of sorts. Still, once you do find someone that can help you along, it’s great stuff. Split-screen is available as well, though viewing is limited in this mode.

With multiplayer, Insomniac Games once again decided “less is better”. Instead of 60-player match-ups, this time you have 16, but it works surprisingly well. You’ve got various modes to choose from, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Chain Reaction (where you capture areas), Breach (destroy or defend locations), and Capture the Flag. The maps available aren’t bad, and being able to use some of Resistance’s unique weapons and options is pretty cool. You can level them up here as well, though the leveling isn’t quite parallel with what you do in the single player story. Power-ups can also be earned, provided you can get a big enough kill streak. Get enough and you can become a behemoth with a grenade launcher. Fun!

That said, it would’ve been nice to have a Bot Zone option like Killzone 3 had. When you don’t have friends around, it’s fun to take on strangers, but being able to practice against AI bots would help improve your skills. Maybe Insomniac should consider this with an upcoming patch?

Resistance 3 definitely sounds like a war machine. The in-game score is moving and gives off a sort of “end of the world” vibe. The sound effects are outstanding as well, including the guns themselves. It’s like Insomniac researched like crazy and said, “Hey, what kind of awesome sound should we assign this weapon?” The voice acting’s okay, but again, Capelli doesn’t really sound like much of a lead in this story. However, the secondary characters make up for it.

Now, as for how Resistance 3 looks – it’s top notch. Insomniac really did its homework here, seeing what worked well in Resistance 2 and bumping up things like stage design, great particle effects (watching buildings come apart is pretty cool), Chimeran enemies (the bigger ones are NASTY), and weapon effects. They all combine together in a unique sci-fi inspired experience, and one of the smoothest PS3 shooters since Killzone 3 earlier this year. When comparing it to that game, Guerrilla Games’ effort does have an advantage, as it uses more space on the disc. Still, if you’ve gone and conquered that one, you’ll find an easy transition here; this is one swell-running game, and it does it all with a smooth frame rate. No lag, either.

Had Resistance 3 included a more compelling lead hero and better co-op options, it would’ve been an unstoppable juggernaut. That’s not to insult its credibility though. Insomniac Games has still done a stellar job with this title, with the kind of exciting gameplay and eye-popping visuals that will keep you drawn in, whether you’re on your own or going at it in multiplayer. The gun leveling up is superb and keeps you wondering what great improvement you’ll unlock next. You’ll find this shooter hard to resist.


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