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Resistance 3 Review


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On 09/12/2011 at 05:51 PM by Jesse Miller

Just try to resist the latest from Insomniac Games
RECOMMENDATION:

For fans of the series as well as any self respecting FPS aficionado

There is a sense of finality with Resistance 3. It’s not that it feels like nothing more can be done with the universe -- quite the contrary, especially with Burning Skies being developed for the Vita -- but there’s a feeling that Insomniac Games is ready to hand over the reins of the franchise to someone else. It would be a shame if that were the case, because Resistance 3 feels like the game that Insomniac has been trying to make since the start.

Nathan Hale is no longer among the living so the story shifts to Joseph Capelli, Hale’s former compatriot and executioner. Capelli is nearly unrecognizable in this chapter. He has a full head of hair, seems noticeably smaller in stature and is not nearly as verbose or abrasive as he was in the second chapter. When I had originally found out that Capelli was the star of the latest title I was a little put off since I didn’t have much in the way of fond memories of the character, but any ill will I had toward him was quickly put to bed as it became apparent that Capelli is actually a far superior antagonist to Hale as he is far more human and relatable.

Resistance 3 is a thoroughly human story. Insomniac has taken painstaking measures to ensure that all of the locales feel like they have been lived in. Hand written letters and audio messages that litter Capelli’s journey to New York City add flavor and backstory that gives his journey emotional weight beyond his obvious personal motivations.

My biggest issue here is that this journey is far too short for as epic as it is meant to be. You’ll spend only about 8 hours making it from Oklahoma to New York City with stops in St. Louis and Pennsylvania along the way. I couldn’t help but feel that a couple extra levels in other nearby locales would have gone a long way to making this game feel more like an appropriately lengthy, post-apocalyptic road trip. While levels may be in short supply, they are fantastic and surprisingly varied. You’ll be making your way down the Mississippi in an old jalopy of a river boat, dodging sniper fire in the middle of the night, and making your way through a ghost town infested with wraiths and exploding leeches. The game takes a surprising turn in the third act, and while I don’t want to spoil anything, I will say that the Chimera aren’t the only force you’ll be resisting in this game.

Resistance 2 was largely criticized for bringing the series three steps forward and then taking two steps back. The third entry makes attempts to recover those steps and largely succeeds, specifically with the return of the weapon wheel. In an effort to bring the Resistance series more in line with the current kings of the genre, Insomniac removed the weapon wheel for the second entry in the series. What they didn’t realize is that this was a serious detriment to what really set the series apart from the competition: the awesome weaponry. After all, what’s the point of having such a wide variety of unique weapons if you’re only going to allow the player to carry two at a time?

By rectifying this past mistake, not only is Insomniac pleasing fans of the series, but it’s allowing the weaponry to shine. And oh, do they shine.

Quite a few of the popular tools of destruction have returned along with some new ones as well, such as the Mutator, a biological weapon that infects the target with a super strain of the Chimera virus, causing them to keel over and explode. Just like in previous installments, every weapon has a secondary fire that adds to the strategy of using the weapon. While you’re likely to favor a select group of weapons in your arsenal, Insomniac has added a new wrinkle in the form of an upgrade system that may sway you to re-evaluate your decisions. Upgrading is as simple as using the weapon. Each kill with that weapon goes towards upgrading the weapon to a maximum of level three, with each one introducing a new enhancement. For example, a level two shotgun uses combustion rounds that will set your enemy aflame and a fully upgraded auger shoots out three wall-penetrating beams instead of one.

Also gone from this title is regenerating health, replaced with a classic style health bar that can be replenished with health packs dropped by downed enemies or scattered through the various locales on your journey. Distribution of these packs can be a little uneven at times, but if played cautiously you should never want for health for long.

Since the beginning of the series, Insomniac has been trying to create a diverse and robust multiplayer experience to compete with the likes of Gears of War and Call of Duty. While Resistance 3 offers the best multiplayer suite of its franchise, it still doesn’t do enough to put itself in that upper echelon. Still, most of the changes implemented have gone a long way to tighten up the matches. One of the more polarizing changes is the dropping of the frenetic 60-player matches in favor of smaller and more controlled 16-player matches. At first, dropping this feature may seem like a step backwards, but in reality it assures a more even online experience that won’t overwhelm new players and will allow online veterans a more deliberate and strategic pace.

Online modes include the now standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag modes as well as the more interesting Breach and Chain Reaction modes. None of this is going to set the world on fire, but what is here is done well and I experienced no framerate issues or lag, and had no problem finding matches.

Those looking to make the trek across the desolate wasteland will be happy to know that Capelli’s chapter in the series supports both online and offline split screen co-op. The only real complaint here is that in order to play online your partner has to be on your friends list. It’s not likely that this would be a real deal breaker for most, but those who would like to play with a stranger may have to scour the online multiplayer for takers before beginning their journey.

Even with its apparent shortcomings, Resistance 3 is a game that is impossible not to enjoy. The amazing array of weaponry combined with an interesting and poignant single player campaign really helps to bring the Resistance series to maturation. We can only hope that Insomniac isn’t done with the franchise and returns to deliver more of what has turned into a must-play experience on the Playstation 3.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

09/12/2011 at 07:47 PM

Great review. So pumped for this game and with me hopefully getting a PS3 this Christmas, I won't have to wait long.

animefunda

09/13/2011 at 09:47 AM

Dude, AWESOME review. This game looks as solid as ever. I was debating either getting this or Killzone 3 (not sure why lol) But reading this review has rekindled that love for Resistance that I miss. *Insert English accent* Brilliant!

Nick DiMola Director

09/13/2011 at 10:53 AM

I'm really liking the way this game sounds. Weapon wheels, no max carry restrictions, auto-upgrading weapons based on usage, split screen local co-op, no recharging health - it sounds like a modern rendition of a classic shooter. I'll have to pick up all of the games in the series, but I look forward to eventually tackling this one with Chessa in local co-op.

Killzone 3 was good, animefunda, but it was more in the vein of Call of Duty. I had originally thought these two series were competing ones for Sony, but they seem diverse enough that they likely cater to entirely different markets.

And once again, great work on this review, Jesse.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

09/13/2011 at 10:57 AM

Something that I did not mention in the review that warrants some mention here is the awesome reversible cover. The folks at Sony printed the cover inserts with the normal, logo laden cover and a logo free cover on the reverse. With the amazing artwork on this cover, it's great to be able to see it without having all the other messy items getting in the way. I know that the new Team Ico collection will also have a reversible cover - so I hope this is the beginning of a trend for Sony.

ShyGuy

10/17/2011 at 03:42 PM

I did marathon of Resistance 3 this weekend coop with my cousins, It took us about 8 hours. The game was solid and the weapon wheel is of course fantastic, but the game felt really generic. And brown. Resistance sure loves the brown.

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