When PlayStation3 exclusive, Resistance 3, hit British shores it saw gamers in their thousands racing for the counters, eager to grab a look at the latest alien-repelling shooter – and we can see exactly why. Whoever said that ‘two’s company but three’s a crowd’ never passed the memo to Insomniac Games, with the third instalment of the Resistance franchise only building on the successes of its predecessors.
From the moment you take control of Joseph Capelli, an ill-fated freedom fighter from Oklahoma, Resistance 3 takes you by the scruff of the neck and immerses you in its world. Creepy low-light sequences see you scuttling through cramped and suffocating tunnels so convincing that the intensity is immediately turned up to 10, and the games’ post-apocalyptic cities are beautifully laid out on a scale that is only a testament to the developer’s improvement of the series. Its overlaying soundtrack could be considered a mite understated but is definitely worthwhile, with vast battle scenes often punctuated only by the sound of enemy gunfire and slower scenes made all the more atmospheric by the addition of haunting music and SOS radio callouts from other survivors. The treacherous journey from Haven,Oklahoma, to the snow covered wastes ofNew York in a fight against alien oppression is wonderfully rendered and it’s a rarity that a level feels like more effort than it’s worth.
The player is truly spoiled for choice in the weapon department as the wheel-based selection system returns from the original instalment (Resistance: Fall of Man). While old favourites return from previous incarnations, like the enemy tracing Bullseye and the wall penetrating Auger, there are plenty of new weapons to turn your head. The sledgehammer adds a brutal element to melee combat and the Mutator allows humanity to turn the tide by infecting the Chimera with a virus of their own, causing the aliens explode in waves until none are left standing. The introduction of a weapon upgrade system also makes for a more enjoyable experience and admirably spurs players to experiment with weapons normally left to gather dust in the armoury. Continual use of a weapon earns the player experience points and unlocks additional fire modes and abilities, opening up whole new ways to fight off the alien invaders.
Insomniac Games have notably improved the AI in this newest release, making the Chimera a more deadly opponent than ever before. Enemies are no longer the gung-ho warriors of old; striding out into hails of scripted gunfire in a blatant show that allies are for atmosphere rather than assistance. The new Chimera hug to cover and pop out to take their chances as a soldier would – often flanking your position before pouncing in a surprise hit-and-run attack. Many of the Chimeran enemies will be familiar to returning players, but new and more realistic skins will leave everyone impressed with the level of detail on each enemy. While new enemies such as Chimeran jet-pack troops are bound to leave your blood-boiling with their elusiveness, the most memorable new foes are the Mad Max inspired ‘Wardens’ – a mob of bloodthirsty human survivors hell-bent on making Capelli’s journey a deadly one. A welcome change of pace if ever there was one.
The new title does away with the 8 player Co-op Campaign from Resistance 2, but heralds the return of a more standardised Co-operative Campaign mode from the original game, with a fresh approach to ensure that teammates work together as a unit. Losing the last of your health initiates a timer that, once it reaches zero, spells game over for the partnership unless the surviving member can get close enough to heal his comrade in time. This new approach is a welcome addition and makes for some mad cross-level scrambles when a player unexpectedly falls to enemy fire. The result is a fun and team oriented experience, with thrills added from players roaring each other into action to heal one-another in time before being forced to start all over again.
Resistance 3 boasts a 16 player multiplayer mode which runs smoothly and lures plenty enough players to ensure full and competitive matches. The upgrade system from Story Mode also makes an appearance here and certainly adds an element of individuality to proceedings. With many of the formidable weapons only becoming available after hours of online gameplay, players will have to practice to make perfect if they aspire to top worldwide deathmatch leader boards. There are a good selection of maps and modes, and mastery of them all will allow for many hours of gameplay for new and experienced players alike.
Resistance 3 offers an interesting tie in with a free-to-play online strategy game, Global Resistance, which can be linked to the player’s Facebook and PlayStation Network accounts and offers exclusive unlockables in the main game to those interested in joining the community. Players may choose to fight on the side of the either humanity or as the Chimeran menace and compete in a huge scale war with both individual and team based objectives. While the ins-and-outs would take too much room here, anyone looking to buy Resistance 3 should definitely join the worldwide war from www.myresistance.net/global.
Despite all of the obvious positives, Resistance 3 might feel just a tad disappointing. The fast-paced story keeps you on edge through every event in Capelli’s journey, but those events seem to be spent incredibly quickly. Hard-core shooter fans will plough through the single-player campaign it in a single sitting without much trouble unless playing on one of the harder difficulty settings. The multiplayer mode is both sharp and busy enough to pick up and play regularly for decent periods but does nothing revolutionary enough to snatch fans away from established series such as Call of Duty. So, while offering a highly enjoyable all-round experience for returning and new fans alike, Resistance 3 risks being limited by the length of its campaign and though its multiplayer mode puts up a valiant fight, it is unlikely to ever slay the dragons at the top of the mass-multiplayer shooter mountain.