A road trip through a world overrun by an alien force.
The Resistance series has never quite managed to build itself the following that other successful shooter series have gathered. Some would suggest that this alone indicates that the series is a failure, especially after the dismally received Resistance 2. Part of the problem has been the generic nature of the series, seemingly following in the footsteps of other, more successful franchises in both gameplay and setting. But whatever the reason for this lack of interest in the Resistance games, it has not stopped Insomniac from releasing a third installment. And for that we should be thankful…
Resistance 3 puts the player into the slightly worn shoes of Joseph Capelli. Those of you who did play Resistance 2 will know this character as the guy who put a bullet in the head of the previous games hero Nathan Hale. After the action-packed introduction to the world as seen in Resistance, complete with lots of shouting about how to use different weapons, what follows is a road trip from Oklahoma to New York that bears more than a passing resemblance to Half-Life 2.
Based four years after Resistance 2, the world has been completely conquered by the Alien threat known as the Chimera. The remaining humans live under constant threat of being discovered, hiding underground and scavenging for food in a subdued, depressing existence. It is no longer about fighting back the alien menace, but about pure survival, facing the Chimera in combat only when absolutely necessary.
The game begins with Joe, his wife and his young, sick son scraping an existence with a small group of survivors. Things quickly get worse when a Chimeran patrol is engaged. It then becomes apparent that the massive Chimeran terraforming machines are heading towards the the small underground settlement, with a view to turning the derelict area into prime alien real estate, and the survivors are forced to rapidly evacuate.
Joe decides, after some convincing from his wife, to go with the professor to New York and attempt to close the alien portal that has been established there. It is with a tearful farewell that Joe leaves his wife and child, clutching one of his son’s small mittens, and heads off to try and save the world.
Story-wise, Resistance 3 still manages to follow a reasonably generic path to the games ultimate conclusion. Any sci-fi fan will have seen the like before and most probably know what is coming. But, although generic, the story and the depressing setting of a world completely destroyed manage tug at the heart-strings and instill a sense of desperation that will push the player to continue to the end. Traveling through this world is hauntingly realistic, thanks in large to the graphical quality of the game. Insomniac have done a great job of realising this world in decay and created an atmosphere that carries on throughout.
Casting aside such modern ideas as limiting the number of weapons a player can carry, Resistance 3 brings with it a circle menu that allows for quick swapping between any of up to twelve weapons that are available. The variety of the weapons does a good job of keeping the player interested, with weapons such as the standard pistol with remotely exploding rounds, or the impressive Auger that allows players to see and shoot enemies through walls and obstructions. New weapons to the series include the Mutator that inflicts the target with an unfortunate disease that results in a rather messy explosion, and the Atomizer which, well, atomizes. Not having to carefully decide which weapons to carry makes a welcome change and, although not really keeping with current trends, keeps the action flowing.
Another throwback to shooter days gone past, the player must rely on healthpack pickups to replenish lost health, rather than waiting for health to regenerate by itself. However, the game doesn’t totally shun modern concepts and even moves in a direction few others have dared to tread by including full PlayStation Move support. Using the motion-control peripheral certainly adds a new dimension to the game. But the fiddly nature and lack of precision compared to a standard controller still leave it feeling like a gimmick more than a real alternative control method.
The campaign can be played through with another player in co-op and the online multiplayer has plenty there to keep the more competitive gamer happy. Although not the massive 60-player matches of the previous title, replaced by a more manageable collection of 16-player modes. There is plenty to keep the player coming back, with leveling up to unlock more impressive weaponry, some really interesting perks that add variety, and great maps, some of which cannot be found in the main game.
Despite a few small problems, such as the occasional glitch and a questionable AI, Resistance 3’s main problem is the overall generic feeling, a feeling of been there, done that. But however much we may have seen all this before, rarely have we seen it done so well, or in such an atmospheric way. Breaking new ground it is not, but a vast improvement over the previous game and highly enjoyable it is. Resistance 3 has raised the game for the franchise and will, I suspect, leave more than a few people eager for the next installment.