Resistance 3 – The PS3 Attitude Review (Part 1: Singleplayer)
When it comes to exclusive franchises on the PlayStation 3, everyone has their favourites, but only one can claim to have been there from day one – Resistance. If you purchased a PS3 in the early days, the chances are you also bought Resistance: Fall of Man, Insomniac’s first venture into the next-generation, and the stand-out title during the console’s slow start.
Two years later, this was followed up by Resistance 2, which was equally well received by critics, but greeted with disdain by many fans, due to Insomniac’s change of direction with the series, and the toning down of aspects that made the first game unique. So, does Resistance 3 stand tall as its own game or descend into the bottomless pit of ‘me too’ shooters?
Let’s begin with the story, which has an emotional focus not present in the previous two games (or many other FPSs for that matter), and it consequentially feels very different, which isn’t a bad thing. The main reason for this is the introduction of Joseph Capelli as the main character, replacing Nathan Hale whom the former killed in the shock ending of Resistance 2.
Resistance 3 is set four years after that event, at a time when 90% of the world’s population has been wiped out by the Chimera. Capelli has been discharged from the army, and now lives with his wife Susan and son Jack, in a secret community outpost in Haven, Oklahoma. A cure for the Chimeran virus has been discovered in Hale’s blood, and all the survivors have been inoculated.
Capelli lives a fairly quiet life, hiding from the Chimera rather than fighting them, until Malikov arrives, who asks Capelli to travel with him to New York City, where they could finally defeat the Chimera. Hale was a decent character, but he didn’t exactly wear his heart on his sleeve. Conversely, Capelli’s family gives him a reason to fight, and it is easier for the player to empathise with him.
As you’d expect from a Resistance game, arguably the standout feature is the arsenal of weapons Capelli has at his disposal. He starts his journey with the just the Bullseye and the Magnum (both of which Resistance veterans will already be familiar with), but quickly gathers a collection of some of the most inventive and original weapons ever seen in a first-person shooter.
As well as their standard primary fire, each weapon also has a secondary function, such as the Bullseye’s ability to tag enemies, and the Auger’s shield. For the first time in a Resistance game, weapons also upgrade with regular use (similar to Ratchet & Clank, which is also developed by Insomniac), adding even more useful features and abilites to Capelli’s arsenal.
Part of the fun of Resistance is discovering each weapon for yourself, so we won’t go into detail discussing each weapon, but whether you want to freeze, burn or atomise the Chimera, Insomniac has you covered. Fans will also no doubt welcome back the weapon wheel, which gives Capelli access to all the weapons in the game at any time, assuming he has the necessary ammo.
Another feature that Insomniac has brought back by popular demand is the health bar (well, now it’s actually a health wheel). At a time when pretty much all shooters have regenerating health, the re-inclusion of a health bar is a brave decision, but one that fans will appreciate. At first, we found it difficult to retrain ourselves to search for health packs, but got used to it fairly quickly.
Resistance 3 not only has the best weapons of the series, but also the widest variety of different enemies to use them against. Each of the Chimera can be divided into three categories: military, mechanical and feral. Military Chimera are the most common, like Hybrids and Steelheads, and a new breed called Longlegs, who jump around levels, making it difficult to get a clear shot.
Mechanical Chimera have been built by military Chimera, and include Drones, Dropships, and massive Goliaths, which are somehow even bigger and more impressive than in Resistance 2. Finally, feral Chimera such as Leapers, Grims and Widowmakers have adapted away from the hive-mind, and therefore do not differentiate between humans and military Chimera; they just kill everything.
The Chimera, much like the rest of the game’s visuals, look fantastic. Resistance 3 can’t quite match the PS3’s graphical behemoths of Killzone and Uncharted, but it comes very close. Cutscenes in particular look superb, and the broad range of environments consistently impress. The amount of detail Insomniac has put into the world of Resistance 3 is really quite astounding.
We do have a couple of gripes though. For example, the game has a bit of problem with invisible walls, which can occasionally make traversing levels slightly annoying. Similarly, for some reason Capelli never speaks outside of cutscenes. This is clearly a design decision that Insomniac has made, but it just doesn’t make sense for him to seemingly ignore other characters when they speak to him.
The sound design is yet another high point for the game. The music is extremely atmospheric, the voice acting is generally very good, and the other sound effects are brilliant. Each weapon has its own distinct noise, and the echoes of bullets all around you really gets your heart thumping. This is a game you definitely want to play with the speakers turned up high.
The single-player campaign should also be praised for its pacing. Yes, there are big gunfights, but these are complimented by huge boss battles, and tense sections that will have you on the edge of your seat. You never know what’s going to happen next, so the game never loses your interest in the 8-10 hours or so it takes to complete the story.
However, once your first playthrough is over, you’ll likely still have plenty to do. For a start, by completing the campaign on Normal you’ll unlock Superhuman difficulty, but if you ask us you’d have to either be highly skilled or simply crazy to attempt it. The entire game is also fully playable with the PlayStation Move and Sharpshooter, offering a completely different gameplay experience.
Resistance 3 also includes a massive trophy list featuring 59 singleplayer and co-operative PSN Trophies to earn, which, along with online multiplayer medals, unlock in-game credits that can be spent on cheats, concept art, behind-the-scenes videos, and more. It’ll undoubtedly take quite a while to unlock absolutely everything.
It’s genuinely hard to imagine anything else that could have been added to the singleplayer campaign. With Resistance 3, Insomniac Games have taken the best of the previous two games, to create something even better. If you’re looking for a great looking (and great playing) shooter that refuses to conform to recent trends in the genre, then Resistance 3 is the game for you.
Stay tuned to PS3 Attitude, as we’ll be posting Part 2 of our Resistance 3 review next week, once we’ve got to grips with the game’s extensive multiplayer component.