Tech News on G4
Strange journey ends in 'Resistance 3'
Oct 12, 2011
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
Few Playstation 3-exclusive series are as memorable as Insomniac Games' "Resistance". The first game was a launch title for the system in 2006 and is still a PS3 standout. The sequel, meanwhile, was mostly well-received but for some, didn't live up to the lofty expectations brought about by its predecessor.
This brings us to Resistance 3, which has its own quirks, putting it smack dab in the middle of the series when it comes to overall quality.
The plot the series follows is one we've seen many times before, and involves aliens, known as Chimera, invading Earth. With the protagonist of the first two games, Nathan Hale, killed at the end of Resistance 2, gamers take control of Joseph Capelli in Resistance 3. Those who played Resistance 2 will recognize Capelli as the person who killed the star of the first two games after Hale became infected with the Chimeran virus.
Resistance 3 takes place four years after its predecessor. The Chimera has all but taken complete control of Earth, and the pockets of humans that now live and cower underground can barely be described as a resistance.
Capelli lives with his wife and young son in an underground safe haven in Oklahoma. They lead a simple, relatively peaceful life, but the game begins with a group of Chimera passing near Capelli's shelter. It looks like the aliens will pass by without incident, but a simple knocked over bottle alerts the aliens of the humans' presence, and all hell breaks loose.
Soon after, Capelli hears word of a scientist who believes he can stop the Chimera for good, so they start a dangerous trek to New York in order to hopefully finish off the invaders once and for all.
Resistance 2 certainly feels more similar to the first game in the series. Things are constantly bleak, and there's a never ending feeling of helplessness, even as Capelli gathers new weapons and befriends new allies. Seeing a child doodle on a wall for entertainment shows just how depressing the world has become. And despite Capelli's arsenal, there are moments that show just how powerful the enemy is. There's one scene where the protagonist and the aforementioned scientist are travelling to New York in a rickety wooden boat and they pass two gargantuan alien machines. They can do nothing but hold their breath and pray they aren't seen and annihilated on the spot.
All that said, Capelli does have one of the coolest weapon line-ups ever seen in a first person shooter. He'll start off with the usual assault rifles, handguns and shotguns, but it's not long before he's freezing enemies and bashing them into pieces with the Cryogun or turning them into walking tumours with the Mutator. All weapons, even the basic ones, have awesome secondary fires that make a simple firefight that much more memorable.
The one issue with all of this is that the weapons are all mapped to a wheel that pops up by holding the triangle button. It can be quite a challenge quickly getting to the proper weapon while running around in the middle of a heated battle. It's all too easy choosing the wrong one, plus, it's not always easy telling the difference between the weapons, even after playing for several hours. The player can quick swap between the last two weapons held by tapping triangle, but it's rare that the same two weapons are used for very long in succession.
While the bleak atmosphere that permeates Resistance 3 is one of its strongest points, the actual combat is for the most part quite good, with a few caveats. Battles against enemies don't just feel like simple set pieces; they're intense and require some strategy, as opposed to running out in the open with your index finger held down on the trigger of your gun.
That said, the difficulty swings wildly at points. One moment you're on a ship with unlimited ammo and health - making it basically impossible to die - and another minute you're surrounded by a pack of snipers that not only have superb aim, but can jump from one building to another without breaking a sweat, all with minimal health and ammo strewn about.
The pacing of the story is excellent, but it's these fights that cause issues with momentum.
Developer Insomniac Games dropped the flawed co-operative experience from Resistance 2, where up to four players could fight through several non-campaign levels. In Resistance 3, the entire campaign can be played through in co-op either locally or online.
While the co-op here doesn't hurt the game in any way, it doesn't particularly help it much, either. There are no objectives or game play mechanics that really require two people, besides adding the need for two people to press the square button to open a door instead of one.
Co-op does help the difficulty somewhat, as when you're downed, instead of having to instantly reload the last checkpoint, your partner gets the chance to run to your aid and revive you.
Speaking of health, Insomniac has sadly opted to once again ignore what it did (best) in the original Resistance: Fall of Man. In that game, the player had four energy nodes which would automatically refill as long as you had some life still in one of them. In Resistance 3, there is no auto-healing; you're forced to rely on health packs.
The game runs smoothly, though the campaign was fraught with a number of glitches, often involving NPCs who don't run to where they're supposed to or do what they're supposed to do to activate the next cut scene or open door. When this happens, your only choice is to reload the last checkpoint and repeat what you just did. This is especially frustrating after completing a hard-fought battle that brought you to the brink of death.
The levels are varied and are sure to keep your attention. You'll travel from an underground mine, to a ghost town, to an alien structure that leads to one of the most insane endings to a game in a long, long time.
The multiplayer, meanwhile, is as by-the-books as they come. You can check off all the usual things that are expected in a competitive FPS setup these days: game modes that include capture the flag and deathmatch, levelling up system, unlockables ... you get the idea.
While it all plays well enough, there's absolutely nothing here that we haven't seen before. Resistance 3's multiplayer is very arcade-like, feeling closer to Call of Duty than Killzone 3. The problem with this is that all those wonderful guns from the campaign go to waste. Either you're dead before you get to use them, or more importantly, they aren't even available until you reach a very high level.
Although there are many different powerups available for every type of player, games never feel cohesive. Everything feels like deathmatch, and even objective-type games seem to put more of an emphasis on killing players than it does on completing objectives.
There are other nagging issues, like the fact that you can't see what level a player is at when a game is loading up. Not only that, but the majority of games I played had distinctly unequal teams; sometimes one team would have eight players while the other had only two. The worst part is that the next game would load up and numbers would be similar. This is particularly disappointing after seeing a game like Gears of War 3 add bots so that every match is even.
The maps themselves are also some of the more uninspired designs we've seen in recent first person shooters.
Despite some flaws, Resistance 3 has one of the better campaigns to come out in 2011. It's a return to form for the gritty series, though it's a shame other problems bring it down a few pegs. Likewise, the multiplayer isn't bad in any way, but with so many other interesting options out there, it doesn't do enough to stand out, either.
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