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Resistance 3 Review (PS3)

22 September 2011 KingofMetal79

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Resistance 3 is the next canonical entry in Sony’s exclusive shooter franchise that started back in 2006 with the Resistance: Fall of Man – the PS3’s best selling launch title. In the following 5 years we have seen the release of a sequel (Resistance 2) a well received spin off (Resistance: Retribution) and the announcement of a game for the Vita (Resistance: Burning Skies). However it is arguably with the most recent entry that Insomnia’s alien invasion epic steps up…

In Insomniac's latest first-person shooter (FPS) we find ourselves once again attempting to defend earth from the Chimera, who have taken over the planet and eliminated most of humanity. Following their successful colonisation of Europe and America the Chimera are now attempting to terraform our planet to create an icy environment in which to thrive. In the game you play as Joseph Capelli, the man who killed Nathan Hale at the end of Resistance 2 and since we last saw him, Capelli has left the army and started a family.

At the start of the game we find Capelli and his family hiding in Haven, Oklahoma. However the arrival of Dr. Malikov, and his plan to destroy the terraformer in New York sees the Capelli faced with a difficult decision.

I truly believe that a lot of the game’s strength comes from the story and look. For the first time in this series I felt like I was genuinely part of the resistance (pun intended!) fighting for my life. From scrambling through the rubble of many a ruined building to exploring ghostly empty suburbs the game has a truly great atmosphere.

Personally I don’t normally pay much attention to the plot in first person shooters but I find the story in Resistance really compelling and the story in the 3rd main instalment is certainly on par with the others.

Another thing you will notice pretty quickly that it is a great looking game and while not quite on a the same level, technically, as say Killzone 3 it does a wonderful job of bringing the dark and gritty world to life – whether it is a snow covered streets of war torn New York or the desolate backwaters of Missouri.  Furthermore it’s not only the visual that have been given a shot in the arm but the weapons as Insomniac have really built on the great arsenal of weapons introduced in R1 and R2. While Resistance 3 sees the return of some fan favourites (Auger, Marksman, Bullseye) the game also sees the introduction of some new weapons (Mutator, Wildfire, Cryogun, Sledgehammer) that I’m sure in time will become franchise regulars. Furthermore all weapons available in the game can be upgraded/levelled up through the usual XP system. With each level comes a weapon mod – scopes, attachments, ammo variants etc.

In addition to the overhauled weapon selection Insomniac has improved Resistance in pretty much every department including level design, environments and variety of enemies.

While some may say that the game isn’t incredibly original it does take inspiration from one of the genre’s best - Half Life 2 (from the roof top encounters in the Ravenholm inspired villages to the Nova Prospekt looking prison section and non regenerating health, I felt Valve’s classic can be seen in many aspects of the game).

Any FPS released this gen worth its salt should have some good set pieces and Resistance 3 is no exception. From the fog laden boat level on the Mississippi to several Chimera ambushes the game has some truly memorable moments and like Resistance 2 there are some great boss battles and while they are very enjoyable do not overshadow the story or have the frustration factor of say the recent Eidos RPG shooter, Deus Ex: HR.

The frantic pacing keeps you on your toes throughout and it is far less predictable than the previous two entries. The game’s wave of (welcomely varied) enemies and their ability to shot through cover (thanks to the Auger) means that you have to constantly keep moving.  There is very little time to catch your breath and certainly very, very few opportunities to camp. The end result is an utterly relentless assault that keeps on your toes and fingers on the joypad until the very end.

The aforementioned frenetic pacing means this third instalment is a challenging game even on normal setting. There were several occasions during the game where it took multiple playthroughs to beat it. I can’t remember the last time that a FPS was so challenging and in return rewarding.

I was glad to learn that after a one game hiatus campaign co-op was back. While the specially designed co-op missions of R2 were fun I personally would have preferred the ability to play the single player content in offline splitscreen co-op. Even though it is clear that the co-op story has not specially modified to incorporate two characters it still is very good. (This said I thought) the co-op was very enjoyable and when all is said and done there were many a level where playing with a second character added an extra dimension and in several instances genuine strategy was required.

On conclusion of the game there is a feeling of closure as the story has an air of finality to it. However if this is the last we see of the games main entries it would be a shame as I believe it could be pushed in a new direction and still remain original and exciting (Chimeran home world?). Even though Insomniac has said that Resistance doesn’t feature in its near future, development of future instalments could be passed to another developer (a la Halo) as I still feel there is enough room for more, new and fresh stories to be told in this alt-universe … I guess only time will tell.

Until now, I feel the franchise as a whole has not built on the potential shown in the first game and has lacked that ‘special something’ which has prevented it from genuinely competing with the likes of Halo etc. However Resistance 3 surpassed even my high expectations (created by some good pre release hype) and I feel has over taken Killzone as the Playstation’s premier shooter exclusive..

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