Resistance 3 (PS3) Review

I remember playing through Resistance 2, Sony’s other exclusive FPS franchise, almost three years ago, and after I was done I couldn’t help but think that it was one hell of a ride.  Since then a lot of FPS titles have come and gone.  All the while developer Insomniac was crafting the third installment of the Resistance series.  Well Resistance 3 has finally hit store shelves and we were given a retail boxed copy for review.  After sitting down and playing through the game I have to say that this PS3 exclusive game is yet another great ride as it again captures the desperation of humanity’s efforts to survive the onslaught of Chimera who continue to try to take over the world.

It is the 1950’s, and Resistance 3’s story takes place four years after the events of Resistance 2.  Since that time, which includes Nathan Hale’s demise, humanities efforts at fighting the alien Chimera have dwindled to almost nothing.  The Chimera has overrun America and it seems that humanity is on the brink of extinction.  You take on the roll of Joseph Capelli.  If you played through Resistance 2 then you may just remember Joseph from that game, as he was involved in the story a bit.  For Resistance 3, he is a family man who has been propositioned to help close a wormhole that the Chimera has opened up above New York.  After some reluctance Joseph accepts this offer and Resistance 3’s story begins.

I won’t delve too deeply into the game’s narrative, as there are many points that are worth experiencing.  What I will say is that this story seems to attract and suck you in right from the get-go.  You will actually care about the role you take on and the underlying reasons for it.  There are many moments through the game where you will find yourself staring at the screen just watching what unfolds in front of you.  Resistance 3 is a first person shooter that manages to tell a story you care about and the roller coaster of a ride it provides will keep you riveted for the whole time you play.

As with any FPS, there are important things that any game in this genre needs to master, from the control, the weapons, to the enemy AI.

In terms of Resistance 3’s control, I was quite happy with how smooth it was in this area.  Now, as with every PS3 game I review, I always state that the PS3 controller is not my favourite controller.  I am somewhat bias as I do indeed enjoy the Xbox 360 controller for my gaming needs.  That being said, I do give some big props to Insomniac Games on their implementation of controlling the on-screen action.   Aiming is snappy and button placement is just right.  You’ll find yourself killing and strafing in a matter of no time.  Resistance 3 also offers up Move support.  It’s a nice option, but given the responsiveness needed to be successful during gameplay, some may find it a little ‘slow’ when aiming down the sights of a weapon.  Regardless, I have to say that having the Move option is a nice treat and is something kind of fun to try out now and then.

As for the game’s included weapons, they offer up a nice change of pace throughout the game and you’ll appreciate the work that Insomniac Games did here.  For those who have played the previous Resistance games, you will instantly recognize some of those old faves like the Bullseye or Auger.  There are also a few new ones as well, such as the Mutator, which when used causes enemies to promptly grow boils that swell up and explode in a gooey mess.  Each weapon has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and they all feel great, from the human weapons to those used by the Chimera forces.  New to the Resistance series is that each weapon levels up automatically depending on how much you use it.  I really enjoyed the flammable round of the shotty that you get as they provide some great kill shots.

As for the enemy AI in Resistance 3, again, kudos to Insomniac Games for their programming prowess here.   Each battle that you find yourself in takes some FPS smarts.  Chimera don’t stand around and become cannon fodder as they put up one hell of a fight in their effort to take over the world.  They duck and hide behind cover, they find alternative ways to attack, and they will flank your rear more often than you’d expect.  They definitely make things interesting.  You’ll also find that battles range from a few Chimera to wave after wave of Chimera and their varying forms that they come in.  I found more than a few times that I had to press pause after a battle and take a breather.  You’ll definitely find yourself on the edge of your seat throughout your adventure.   I also found that the pacing of the game’s battle experiences was pretty good too, as mixing things up to provide different gaming experiences made for a better game.

Playing through Resistance 3 will take you anywhere from 8-10 hours depending on your skill level and how much you really want to soak up.  It may even seem quicker as the game provides some pretty intense gaming moments.  Don’t fret though; along with the game’s solid single player experience comes a solid multiplayer experience as well.

The first thing fans of the franchise will notice is that the number of online players has been reduced from 60 to 16.  The major difference that this makes is that the battles are less chaotic so to speak and they are more in line with the online numbers found in most other console shooters out there.  The other big change is a perk like system called Abilities.  This brings Resistance 3 into the realm of most other console shooters with similar multiplayer components.  You’ll find various forms of Abilities such as ammo showing up on your radar or being able to activate a hologram of yourself.  There are also kill-streak abilities in this game, such as a shield or active camouflage.   Of course you also level up your online persona with XP and you’ll be rewarded handsomely with as you keep playing.

In terms of multiplayer modes, you’ll find your usual Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes.  There is also a Deathmatch Small mode, which allows a small number of players to go crazy.  You will also find a War Games Mode in Resistance 3.  Here you play objective-based matches.  Within this mode is breach mode (try to destroy the other team’s reactor) and chain reaction (attempt to gain control over multiple areas in order to open/stop a worm-hole).

For those looking for something other than adversarial online, cooperative play makes it return, but in a scaled back form.  Instead of eight players you are limited to two players.  My biggest complaint about this is that two players is just not enough, as being able to experience some multiplayer co-op goodness with a few friends makes the experience that much more enjoyable.  That being said, some cooperative is better than none and you do have the ability to play this mode in split-screen.

Visually speaking, Resistance 3 is a very solid looking game.  There is no doubt that Insomniac Games has taken advantage of the fact that the PS3 has been out for almost 5 years now as the Chimera and the destruction they have unleashed has never looked better.  There are new forms of Chimera in Resistance 3 and they manage to look just as awesome as the rest of those Chimera that fans of the series have become accustomed to.

As for the game’s environments, there has been a lot of effort been put into it.  You’ll find yourself in empty and barren rural communities that have been ravaged by the Chimera, some cold and frozen tundra, as well as such levels as a sewer and even a prison.  There is quite a mix of places for you to do battle and they all look pretty darn good.  Insomniac Games has recreated the world found in the 1950’s and added that feel of despair and decimation at the hands of the deadly Chimera.

Technically speaking Resistance 3 is very solid.  There are special effects abound from lasers, various sized explosions, as well some fancy lighting that makes the game’s atmosphere look so good.  You’ll find that the game runs as smooth as silk with little to no framerate slowdown or clipping to be found.  There are also plenty of large-scale battles included in this game, and even during these everything is solid.  I don’t think anyone will find anything wrong here.

I should also note that Resistance 3 can be played in 3D, unfortunately I did not have the set-up to play it with the 3D on, so I cannot comment on this.

Resistance 3 is also a solid effort in the sound department.  The sound effects assist in making the world that unfolds in front of you that much better.  From Chimera yelling as they die to the sounds of your various weapons, everything makes this war torn world that is under attack come alive.  There is also great use of surround sound effects.  Should you be playing Resistance 3 through a home theater type setup, be prepared for some great directional effects and some booming sound to come out of your subwoofer.

The music is also very good.  It amps up at just the right time and calms down when it needs to.  Insomniac’s choice of tracks seems to be wonderfully selected and you’ll find that as you play the music adds to the on-screen actions that are occurring in front of your eyes.  Finally, the voice acting does the same job as the music and sound effects, as it helps to pull you into the story as the voice actors speak every line with emotion and passion.   You definitely become connected to those characters you spend time with.

Insomniac Games has once again shown why they are such great developers, and Resistance 3 is more proof of their capabilities.  They have crafted a tale that is different from the first two PS3 games, and the story that unfolds in front of you is engaging and enjoyable.  Add to this fine narrative some solid visuals and sound, and some very well implemented gameplay, including the adversarial and cooperative multiplayer modes, and you have the first big PS3 game of the holiday season.

The Good


The Bad