The End Of The World As We Know It
If the punk rock aesthetic of Resistance 3’s cover art makes any statement at all, it’s that this title is doing something completely different than the previous games in the series. Once popping the disc into the PS3, this statement is confirmed; Resistance 3 takes a big step away from a lot of what came before it.
That’s not to say the game completely ignores its predecessors. Resistance 3 takes what was interesting about Resistance and Resistance 2 (Chimera, alien weaponry, 1950s alternate history backdrop, etc.) and polishes it. Then, it throws in a story that is actually compelling. While it manages to be even grittier and more cynical than its predecessors, it still has heart. This isn’t merely the story of military men sent on missions to blow things up; this is the story of two men on a road trip across a bleak and dying United States, even though it’s probably hopeless anyway. It’s a story of humanity, of survival, and yes, even of family.
Joe Capelli is the protagonist this time around, filling the shoes of Nathan Hale from the previous games. Even though the last time we saw him, Capelli was sort of your average tight-shirted, scar-faced military badass, he’s done a bit of growing up since then. After being dishonorably discharged from the Army, he settled down and got himself a family. In fact, this Capelli looks a whole lot more like Don Draper of Mad Men than the hardcore military meathead of Resistance 2.
I can’t stress enough the importance of this change in character. Capelli’s not out to randomly blow things up anymore. He has things he cares about: his wife, his child, his home. Having this sort of motivation adds a completely new dimension to the Resistance story. Sure, at times it borders dangerously close to being melodramatic and trite, but it feels refreshing in a series that was little more than a testosterone-fueled alien slaughter.
Dr. Fyodor Malikov has also been given a bit more depth. He carries the burden of guilt over the experiments he’s done—especially for injecting Nathan Hale and Adam Shepherd with the Chimeran virus. It’s almost as if Hale’s ghost is haunting him, pressing him onward toward New York to deliver a killing blow to the Chimeran terraforming project.
Of course, let’s not pretend this game is a sappy love fest or an exploration of guilt and the human psyche or anything. Resistance 3 has the same sort of over-the-top action sequences of Resistance 2. You will see Goliaths towering over you, smashing bridges to smithereens. You will take down aliens several times your size. You will fight your way through impossibly thick swarms of Grims. Yet these intense action scenes are punctuated with brief scenes of quietude. Or maybe it’s the story sequences that are punctuated with the adrenaline-filled firefights. Either way, the elements blend in a way that makes sense, one that drives the narrative forward while still delivering the jaw-dropping alien battles we crave. And we finally get a Resistance game with a climax that feels like a climax, as the final playable moments of the previous two games were just plain weak.
The characters and storyline aren’t the only things to get revamped. Enemy A.I. has been given an overhaul. However, I can’t say it’s been improved. The Chimera are certainly more reactive, and I saw quite a few behaviors that surprised me during my playthrough. They will now dodge grenades, hop up onto things when appropriate, and even scale walls. However, sometimes they’ll just stand there staring at you, making themselves easy targets.
The weapons have been tweaked as well. For example, the Bullseye feels a lot smoother than it ever has—it now leaves a very obvious trail, allowing you to better keep track of which enemy you’ve tagged.
Gone is the saw blade-firing Splicer of Resistance 2, to be replaced with three completely new weapons. There is the Mutator, which is basically a shotgun loaded with the Chimeran virus. The Cryogun freezes enemies, allowing you to shatter them with a melee attack or simply detonate them and watch them explode. Best of all is the Atomizer, a gun that shoots bolts of electricity. The Atomizer has what is easily the greatest secondary fire in Resistance history—it fires a whirling vortex of sparks and lightning, which pulls enemies in like a tornado and shocks them to death as it tosses them around in circles.
Oh yes, and the weapon wheel is back, only it’s gone through a fairly extensive redesign. Long story short, it functions even better than it did in Fall of Man, and it’s a vast improvement over the two-gun limit of Resistance 2.
The weapons simply feel better in Resistance 3, and part of this is that they are more functional this time around. Each gun seems like it was designed for a specific type of situation, and the game will put you into different situations that are made much easier with particular weapons. For example, the Longlegs—a new type of Chimera with hydraulic boosters on their legs—were practically designed with the Bullseye’s tagging feature in mind.
The weapons even sound better. Guns sound louder and more powerful than they ever have, and explosions have that bass you can feel in your chest if you have the volume up loud enough.
And speaking of sound, Resistance 3 sounds great all around. The voice acting is well-done, with characters having distinctly unique personalities. The background music is excellent as well—the score appropriately strings the player along through both the action moments and the softer, more emotional bits. Peppered into the mix are the classic songs from the 50s you’ll hear as you pass by radios that have been left on. All of this comes together just as it should, nailing the Resistance vibe perfectly.
Resistance 3’s multiplayer offering is the best in the series so far. The 60-player deathmatches in Resistance 2 had a tendency to get too chaotic, and to compensate, the maps were built far too large. Resistance 3 scales it back a bit, allowing for maps that are quite well-designed. In fact, the map design reminds me of some of the PC FPS games of the early 2000s. I can see a bit of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and the original Call of Duty as influences here. Maps are tight, featuring chokepoints, wide open spaces, and sniper roosts. Playing Resistance 3’s Team Deathmatch makes me feel like I’m playing an old PC shooter—and I mean that in the best way possible. In fact, it feels almost nostalgic.
Of course, I do have to bring up the bugs. Going through the campaign, I found several places where enemies got stuck inside walls or floors, or where corpses floated eerily over the ground. There were even a few places where I blew up some Chimeran egg sacs and the debris just hung in the air. While this is fairly nitpicky, Resistance 3 is a very high profile game, and I would have expected things like this to be taken care of before launch—especially when some of these bugs are painfully obvious. In fact, if this type of thing just happened once or twice, I wouldn’t even bring it up. However, none of these bugs are game-breaking, so many players will be able to simply ignore them.
All in all, Resistance 3 delivers a very enjoyable campaign with some incredible action sequences. Competitive multiplayer is quite well done, and adds quite a bit of replayability to this package. If you’re a PS3 owner who loves first-person shooters, Resistance 3 simply shouldn’t be missed.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
There’s a lot of attention to detail, and each location feels radically different than the last. 4.3 Control
Controls are tighter than ever, and are fully customizable. 4.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great voice work and music, and the guns sound awesome. 4.7 Play Value
A fantastic campaign that can be tackled solo or with a friend. Online multiplayer will keep you coming back. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|