Resistance 3

0 Comments 30 September 2011

From galaxy-crossing fuzzy-eared aliens to gritty American soldiers, Insomniac (developers of the Resistance series) have had an interesting journey. Starting with the early Spyro the Dragon titles, they went on to become one of Sony’s favorites after creating the Ratchet and Clank series. But then they abandoned their kiddy beginnings and created Resistance, one of the darkest shooters on the market. But enough with the history lessons – how does their latest game fare?

Firstly, let me say that the story of Resistance 3 (R3 from here on) is much better than that of the last two. After the (RESISTANCE 2 SPOILER WARNING) dramatic end of Nathan Hale, protagonist of the previous instalments, Insomniac have decided to go with a new hero – Joe Cappeli. Although he was an unlikeable jerk when he appeared in the last game, the developers have worked on him a lot to shape him into something more sympathetic. Now he’s a family man, looking out for his wife and child with no intention of fighting. The plot of this threequel is pretty depressing though – the alien Chimera have killed or infected 90% of the human race, with a small band of survivors hiding underneath Oklahoma. The invaders have even split into two camps; the military Chims and the feral ones, those that have gone off and bred. The plot is actually quite engaging, with the overarching goal to make it to New York to shut down a Chimeran tower with the help of Dr. Malikov (or as I know him, Doctor Russian).

As for gameplay, it’s quite odd by today’s standards. Here’s an FPS with no regenerating health and the ability to hold the entire game’s arsenal at once. It’s actually quite a surprise after the direction that Resistance 2 took, which was the opposite of what I just described. To be honest, it was great to see a game deviate from the norm. While in most shooters you have to hide behind a flowerpot to recover from your grievous bullet wounds, R3 makes you find the medkits in a level and then plan accordingly for a firefight. One of the more thrilling experiences I’ve had in a game this year was sprinting away from an angry pack on Grims (essentially zombies) with a sliver of life left and a single shot left, desperately looking for the green glow of a health pack. Being able to hold every weapon in the game at once was also a welcome feature – it’s great fun to blast through a horde of angry Chimera with your rifle/sledgehammer/blob gun.

Speaking of weapons, Insomniac have once again shown they are the most inventive developers on the block. The Bullseye is back (of course), with its enemy-tagging awesomeness, as are most of the old weapons. However, Insomniac have still come up with a few new ideas, like my personal favorite – the Cryogun. It shoots a stream of…um…cold stuff, which freezes the enemy in place allowing you to shatter them with a whack. The enemy design is quite good too – having an alien race allowed the devs to let loose with ideas. Thus we have Longlegs (annoying jumpy guys), Ravagers (big fellas with lightning guns) and Widowmakers (giant alien spiders). It’s great fun to fight all of these new enemies, with the Widowmaker being a standout. When fighting them, the military Chimera will team up with you, working together to take down the monster.

Insomniac experimented with light horror in R2, having long, dark corridors full of Body-Snatcher-esque pods, all of which threaten to hatch Grims at any second. That’s in full force here, keeping players on their toes instead of just shooting mindlessly. Actually, the game has a few changes of pace. From the aforementioned light horror to on-rails “keep those fellas off the boat” type levels to tense stealth/sniper missions, there’s something for everyone.

As per usual, the game comes with an online multiplayer mode. The size has been scaled back from the 60-player firefights of R2 to a simple 16. I haven’t had the chances to properly test the multiplayer yet, but it was nice to see Alice Springs as one of the maps.

As for downsides, most of them are just little niggles. The lip-syncing in some scenes is atrocious, turning a serious discussion into a puppet show. Some enemies do way too much damage to Joe, such as the sniper Chimera that seem to take down about half your health with a single shot. The durability of some enemies has been increased too, which is kind of annoying. It was satisfying in R2 to punch your way through a horde of Grims, but now each one can take three smacks – it undermines you a bit. Occasionally the audio and visuals were a bit out of sync, but I’m sure that will be fixed in a future update.

Insomniac took a risky move with Resistance 3, but it’s paid off. Straying from the beaten path proved to be a wise decision. R3 is one of the more interesting games of this generation, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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