Reviewed: September 21, 2011
Released: September 6, 2011
Weíre quickly approaching the fifth anniversary of the PS3 and its flagship FPS title, Resistance. Back in those days Insomniac was still coming to grips with Sonyís new hardware as well as their first venture into a non-Ratchet & Clank game. While their initial effort was surprisingly good, there was room to grow, and that is exactly what they did do with their incredible sequel in 2008 that took the single-player to new heights of storytelling and introduced us to 60-person multiplayer. And now, three years after that epic installment, Insomniac somehow manages to best their previous efforts with the grand conclusion of their alien invasion trilogy in Resistance 3.|
Resistance 3 picks up four years after the jaw-dropping finale of the last game that left our hero, Nathan Hale, dead on the ground, shot in the head by Sentinel, Joseph Capelli. Joe is now our new lead character (and narrator) who briefs us on the events of the past four years, including the creation of a vaccine that has stopped the spread of the Chimeran virus, thanks to the research of Dr. Malikov and Nathan Haleís contaminated blood.
Our story starts in a dusty town in Oklahoma where Joe, his wife, and sickly child live in an underground bunker with a community of other survivors. The game has a very Metro 2033 or Homefront vibe to it as you walk around various subterranean dwellings carved out beneath the city, attached by tunnels with ladders that pop up in various surface-world establishments. This opening level serves as a quick tutorial when you are summoned to the gun range to practice with your Bullseye and Magnum sidearm. It also gives you a chance to appreciate the intricate level design and read a few collectible documents that will fill you in on the backstory. Prepare to seek out more of these documents and tape recorders stashed in future levels.
Just as the tutorial finishes a Chimeran patrol wanders into town forcing you and several of your male population to head to the surface to survey the situation. Naturally, things go wrong and you end up in combat with several Chimeran soldiers and a giant spider-like Stalker. This serves as your main introduction into the superior combat model that has been a trademark of the Resistance franchise from day one. It is also a welcome return to the radial weapon-select menu system that allows you easy access to any of the numerous weapons you will be wielding during the game.
As a giant terraforming beam heads into town, the population, along with your wife and child, are forced to flee to safety, while you ultimately choose to team up with Dr. Malikov, who just happened to wander into town, and make a treacherous journey to New York City to launch an assault on an alien tower that has opened up a wormhole to the Chimeran home world and threatens to plunge the U.S. into a new ice age.
What follows is an epic adventure, as you travel by riverboat to St. Louis, and then by plane and even train where the game literally flies off the rails in one of the more out-of-place missions in the game when you are captured by escaped convicts who have taken over a Pennsylvania prison and setup their own little version of Thunderdome. Fortunately, this one particular chapter only sidetracks the story and the gameplay for less than two hours before you are back on track for NYC and a grand finale worthy of the series.
Gameplay is refreshingly challenging thanks to one of the few FPS games that dares to use a heath pick-up system. Unlike most other post-Halo FPS games that simply allow you to hide and heal, Resistance 3 forces you to seek out and use glowing green health canisters. This keeps you from bunkering in and slowly picking off the enemy, especially when those enemies can shoot through walls with the Auger. Now, you are forced to keep moving, usually forward, to claim dropped health and advance to the next checkpoint.
Resistance 3 is packing a loaded arsenal of all sorts of cool human and alien weaponry including all of your past favorites and a few new twists. The weapon wheel makes it easy to pick weapons and check your ammo at a glance, and there is a quick-swap button to cycle between your last two weapons. Secondary fire abilities add greatly to the battle tactics, and your weapons level-up through use, giving you good reason to stay loyal to your favorite guns.
And youíre going to need quick access to those guns if you are to defeat the new and enhanced aggressive AI of the Chimeran forces. These guys have never been this tough, with forces pinning you down with suppressive fire while others will flank or rush your position and snipers will make for the high ground while enemy dropships will zoom over the battlefield raining down fire or dropping off enemy reinforcements.
With so much danger it might be wise to bring along help. Thankfully, Resistance 3 offers a co-op campaign mode for both online and local split-screen gaming. And for those thirsting for global domination, head online for epic battles with up to 16 players in locations set around the globe in a new and more focused progression-based multiplayer experience that allows players to spend points and customize their character and loadouts based on their playing style. Classic 8-vs-8, Human vs. Chimera deathmatch, CTF, and objective matches like Breach mode and Chain Reaction on maps created from all three titles in the series are just the beginning. New kill-streak rewards offer new ways to play the game, while tactical and passive support abilities bring Resistance 3 into the online age of Call of Duty.
Resistance 3 looks amazing. Admittedly, it started out a bit rough, but as my eyes slowly adjusted to the light, I emerged from that bowling alley into one of the most realistic and visually stunning worlds Iíve seen in any recent FPS game. I love the fact I am now playing in the U.S. with set pieces like the St. Louis Gateway Arch looming on the horizon. There is a creepy blend of alien infestation that is seamlessly woven into the levels, especially in the riverboat chapter with all the vines, pods, and ice formations and even a gutted kraken carcass. Enemy models are as evil as ever with sinister animation and some truly terrifying new creatures lurking in the later chapters. Just wait till you meet your first Widowmaker.
The game sounds just as good as it looks with full support for Dolby Digital and DTS 7.1 surround that will encompass you in all the glorious sounds of your fight to save humanity. The weapons each have their own signature sound as do the various enemy types; most of which will send shivers down your spine. There are great environmental sounds, captivating voice acting, and an emotional score that drives the narrative as much as the action sequences, creating the perfect blend of interactive entertainment.
Resistance 3, much like other recent Sony-exclusive titles, makes the most of their new technology including full support for the PS Move and their fantastic Sharp Shooter weapon. While using this device will require a bit of a learning curve (just ask anyone who played Killzone3), once you have come to terms with this new way to play a FPS you may never want to go back. And with or without the PS Move or Sharpshooter, Resistance 3 also supports full Stereoscopic 3D for those lucky enough to have a fancy new 3D HDTV. The game makes good use of the 3D technology, creating an immersive world with a great depth of field without exploiting too many of those in-your-face moments.
Resistance 3 may just be the best FPS game Iíve played on the PS3 this year. It is definitely a more personal experience than Killzone 3 or even past Resistance games, with a more focused story and linear mission path featuring higher stakes - fighting for family, friends, and the entire world. If youíve never played a Resistance game then now is the time to go out and get and play the first two, so you can experience what is likely to be the biggest and most epic FPS trilogy the PS3 will ever see.