Resistance 3 User Review
Resistance 3 is Insomniac's latest incarnation into its PS3 exclusive FPS series. The successor of the critically lauded Resistance 2 is indeed worthy of carrying the Resistance name, but it is not without its flaws that hold it back from what could have been a masterful game.
This review contains spoilers from R2, so if you haven't completed that game, you should steer clear of this review until you have.
R3 picks up four years after R2 concluded. The Chimeran invasion is nearly complete with only 10% of the human population remaining, and with long time Resistance protagonist Nathan Hale left with a massive hole in his head at the end or R2, we step into the shoes of the man who put that hole in Hale's head after he turned into a Chimera, Joseph Capelli.
Capelli, having been dishonorably discharged from the army after putting Hale out of his misery, has found refuge in Haven Oklahoma. He's started a family and is basically living underground with his wife Susan, his son Jack and a group of freedom fighters who struggle day after day to survive with the impending threat of the Chimera finding their location.
The opening of the game where we are introduced to the world of Resistance 3 is impressive. We really get a good look at what Capelli is up against and what he has to fight for. Insomniac does a good job of presenting this situation with a variety of characters we're introduced to when we get our feet wet with a short tutorial with the game's controls. The people here feel real, and we as the player feel their struggle.
When series veteran Dr. Malikov tracks Capelli down, saying that he has made a plan to make a last ditch effort to erradicate the Chimera once in for all by destroying a vast tower that is freezing over the world in New York, Capelli at first balks. He doesn't want to leave his family, and thinks this is a suicide mission. But Susan convinces him to go with Malikov as they flee from a Chimeran invasion, so that their son can have a normal life.
It's a nice moment, and while I wish more time could have been spent with Susan and Jack, the player gets just enough time with them to care about the other characters before Capelli goes on his journey.
That's the set up, and throughout the game, every scenario is dark and seemingly hopeless as if you're going up against an army that always outnumbers you 10 to 1. But it's here that Insomniac's famed weapon design from this series and the Ratchet and Clank series really shines through.
The weapon design here is absolutely amazing. Each weapons has a distinct feel to it, and also has a distinct purpose. Some are great in close range scenarios, some are great long range, others medium range. The best part? You can carry all 12 weapons at one time, freeing you up to use whatever you want at any specific time. No more of this standard two weapon business. Nope, you can use as many of these well designed weapons as you want to, that are each diverse and each have a specific purpose. Some weapons freeze enemies, others cause them to mutate into a giant pulsating blob that can explode at will, some shoot through walls, put up forcefields, tag enemies and homes in on them, lights enemies on fire, makes enemies disentigrate and makes enemies explode (*takes a deep breath*).
Each weapon is introduced at a specific time over the course of the game, so you don't feel overwelhmed by the selection. But once you've mastered a weapon, there's a new one to add to your arsenal. The diversity and selection that Insomniac has to offer with its weaponry is unreal, and keeps everything fresh urging you try out all your options through each fight.
The weapons also progress, meaning the more Chimera you kill with a specific weapon, the more powerful the weapon becomes, and the more alt ernatefire power for each specific weapon, you also unlock. This is the best aspect of the game, and it's here that Insomniac really makes this FPS stand out from the crowded genre.
The gameplay itself is fast and pulse pounding. The Chimera are smart, and take note of your style and adjust. They're not mindless. They make you fight for survival. The scenarios are overall, well done, howerver none of them really bring anything new to the table in terms of expanding the FPS genre. It is shoot everything and everyone in a pretty standard manner. There are many varying enemy types though with different behaviors and abilities that keep things interesting.
The level design itself is well done and hides any sort of feeling of “I'm just going into this room and shooting this thing over and over again”. The environments vary as well, and different mission objectives roll through. However, it just lacks that diverse punch that the weapons give you in terms of what the game asks you to do.
Another plus is the return of the health meter. You actually have to physically go out and find health packs in R3. A welcome break from the regeneration that is all too common these days in not just FPS games, but all action games. It's quite rewarding to be on your last bar of health, pop out of a corner, blow up a chimera with the sinper rifle's secondary fire and run to grab a health pack. Kudos to Insomniac for going retro in this respect.
Another problem is the length. R3 is the shortest (yet tightest) game of the saga. The story tells an epic cross country journey, but in fact we don't get to see enough of it. I beat it in a little over 6 hours. R2 took me 12, and R1 took me 10. It had more depth and a better sense of completion by the end of it. When I was done with R3, I felt empty. I felt like even though it clearly was the end of the game and a very intense finish in the final stand against the Chimera, that the journey there didn't take long enough. It was a struggle granted, Capelli went through hell, but it wasn't enough.
There wasn't a sense of sacrifice in terms of getting to the end. It felt like in truly masterful games of this generation that victory came with a price. I felt that in Metal Gear Solid 4 and I felt that in Uncharted 2 as well with Heavy Rain. Here though, I didn't get that sense. I felt like it didn't take nearly long enough to get to New York. It feels like almost in the blink of an eye, you're there. And while the road there is intense, it just didn't feel like the long, epic journey I believe Insomniac set out to make.
Another thing that is frustrating with R3 is that when I'm playing the game, I don't feel like Capelli. I feel like a soulless camera. Capelli makes no noise during gameplay. If someone says something to you, there's no response. And then you get these nice cutscenes and he feels like a real person. It just felt hard being connected to him during the gameplay because he was a toal mute. I like to hear my characters talk during gameplay, or at least you can tell what they're feeling. If someone addresses them, I expect them to respond. It just gave a feeling of disconnect with the character I was playing as. It was jarring going to a cutscene sometimes, because I'd forget Capelli was even there. It may be nitpicking, but it does detract from the empotional power of the game.
Regardless, from a cutscene, and character perspective, R3 does shine. The cinematography, direction and editing has been given a facelift from the first two games. Even though the story stumbles near the end, especially with the final lame cutscene, as a whole, R3 is well done. You truly feel for Capelli. He's a real person with a family in the most dire situation in the histroy of man. We feel his connection to his family throughout and especially when he gets to New York. The first cutscene with Capelli there is something of raw, pure, unadulterated emotional power and speaks to the untapped emotional potential that Insomniac could have tapped into more, but didn't.
The other characters other than Malikov that you encounter are kind of a waste of space and aren't really developed very well. But in the end, that's ok, this is clearly Capelli's show. He's a much more likable, well rounded and well thought out character than Nathan Hale ever was.
Despite hindrences, there's no denying that R3 is a great single player experience. The variety of weapons, the mostly engaging storyline and the incredibly deep gameplay (because of that weapon variety) is exceptional. I just wish it had been a little longer, and gotten more emotional, and didn't have a cookie cutter ending. Still, it's hard to find FPS games these days where you can tell the single player is the driving force of the package, because despite my criticism, R3 has a lot to bring to the table.
On the multiplayer side, R3 is actually very, very fun. The weapons add a lot of variety to the multiplayer like they did to the single player. All the levels are diverse and very well designed. And with the weapon wheel actually translating to multiplayer, you're not limited to two weapons. You can kill people and pick up their weapons to add to your inventory. It's awesome. And there's a perk where you can roll with three guns with a load out, which gives you a bunch of choices in terms of your plan of attack.
The modes are standard. Free For All, Team Death Match, Capture the Flag and a few others. You've seen this before. The perks are a mix. Some are old hat from COD and prior Resistance games, while others are unique like the ability to drop an ammo or health beacon which allows anyone around the area to stand inside it and either reload, or regenerate.
Still, it's that incredible weapon variety and level design that puts R3's multiplayer in its own little niche, and establishes itself apart from COD and Battlefield. It's refreshing, very replayable and fun. However, there are some lag issues every once in a while, and as of now, the split screen multiplayer feature is quite laggy. But I heard that's something Insomniac is going to fix soon.
The final feature is co-op with either a buddy next to you, or across the planet for the single player campaign. This is a great feature and shooting Chimera is even more fun with a friend. This is definitely a game that is enhanced by the co-op because of the firepower both of you possess. It's a lot of fun, and warrants a try even if you've beaten the game by yourself.
Overall, Resistance 3 is a great shooter. It's a lot of fun, and while it doesn't completely deliver on everything it set out to do, it's clearly good enough to stand with the best of the genre, and establishes itself as its own game in an FPS world full of copycats.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.