Resistance 3 – The PS3 Attitude Review (Part 2: Multiplayer)
We’ve already established that Resistance 3 has a superb singleplayer campaign, but, once it’s over, realistically you’ll be spending most of your time with the game’s multiplayer modes. Since the first game’s release in 2006, the Resistance series has been at the forefront of online multiplayer experiences on PlayStation 3, so how does Resistance 3 compare?
Competitive multiplayer forms the main bulk of Resistance 3’s multiplayer component. Several modes are available, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but online veterans should find that all of their needs have been catered for.
Using the matchmaking feature, you can either pick a specific mode to play, choose to join only objectives-based games, or, if you’re feeling brave, allow the game to decide upon a completely random match to drop you in. As you’d expect, private games are also available, and it is easy to invite your friends and set up a party or a clan.
Team-based matches are divided into two rounds; in the first round, one team plays as the humans and one team plays as the Chimera, and the roles are swapped in the second round. This means that both teams get a chance to play as both races (and take advantage of their unique abilities), avoiding any potential balancing issues.
The gameplay itself plays just as well as it did in the singleplayer campaign, largely thanks to the selection of weapons on offer. Each gun feels unique and fun to use (except when you’re on the receiving end of them), although some are much more powerful than others; the amount of times we were killed by the Atomizer really wasn’t funny.
The weapon wheel also migrates from the campaign to online multiplayer. You start each match with just a single weapon, but any others you pick up during the game will be added to the wheel, allowing you to switch between any of your collected weapons. Of course, if you die you will only be left with your starting weapon once you’ve respawned.
The health wheel also appears in the multiplayer modes, but unlike in the singleplayer campaign, your health will regenerate over time. This is an interesting backtrack, because keeping an eye on Capelli’s health was a big part of the strategy in the campaign, and that challenge is now missing in the online multiplayer section of the game.
There also isn’t much character customisation, other than choosing the character you play as, and deciding on your title, which must be purchased in the in-game store or unlocked through ranking up. You will also unlock more loadouts that you can swap between at any time when not in a match, allowing you to change your starting weapon, abilities and attributes.
Abilities, such as creating a doppelganger of your character to confuse opponents, or ‘spotting’ enemies and making them show up on your teammates’ radars, add a tactical edge to multiplayer matches. Similarly, attributes are basically passive abilities, and offer improvements such as increasing your weapons’ clip size or rate of fire.
Single-use abilities can also be unlocked in matches through kill streaks, such as a personal shield that can be used after you’ve achieved three kills in a row. Weapons, abilities and attributes can all be upgraded by spending skill points, which are unlocked by reaching certain ranks; you won’t be able to upgrade everything though, so you must tailor your upgrades to your style of play.
The game’s maps are nothing if not varied, with battles taking place in New York, Alice Springs in Australia, Glamorgan in Wales, and many more diverse locations. Insomniac clearly wanted to show the global extent of the Chimeran invasion, which could never have been presented as effectively in the singleplayer story; of the aforementioned maps, only New York features in the campaign.
However, one thing all of Resistance 3’s maps have in common is that they have clearly been painstakingly designed, with the perfect balance of cover, wide open areas, and tight enclosed spaces. Spawn kills can sometimes become an annoyance, but that accusation could equally be levelled at almost every other online shooter on the market.
As you play, your online profile keeps track of everything you’d ever want to know about your time spent playing Resistance 3 online, including standard statistics such as your number of kills and wins. It will also record all the ribbons (simple awards that can be earned over and over again) and medals (cumulative one-time awards that will take time and effort to earn) you have unlocked.
Multiplayer matches still look great (but not as good as the campaign), although the game’s performance takes a bit of a hit. This isn’t game-breaking, but we did encounter some lag in the time that we played. However, Insomniac obviously can’t take the full blame for this, because online multiplayer often only performs as well as the players’ internet connections.
Although the main focus of Resistance 3’s multiplayer component is on competitive matches, players who prefer co-op have also not been left out in the cold. Rather than Resistance 2’s entirely separate 8-player online co-op mode, the latest game in the franchise allows a second player to drop in and out of the main singleplayer campaign.
This doesn’t affect cutscenes, or even the game’s story, but it’s a nice addition nonetheless, especially as you have the option to play either online or in split-screen. Trophy enthusiasts may also be interested to know that Insomniac has included a couple of co-op PSN trophies, so you’ll need to at least sample this mode in order to obtain Resistance 3’s platinum.
There’s no doubt that Resistance 3 is a fantastic game, but if we’re being harsh we’d say that, other than the inventive weapons, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the multiplayer arena. We loved the game’s singleplayer campaign for its nonconformity, but, in comparison, the multiplayer component seems like a rather standard affair, with very little genuine innovation or originality.
However, in the end it really doesn’t matter, because Insomniac Games has crafted a fine online shooter, which presents players with plenty of incentives to continue playing. The campaign is great fun with a friend, and it’ll take a while to collect all the competitive ribbons and medals. Resistance 3 is bound to have a healthy online community for a long time to come.