+Best narrative so far
+Lots of impressive weapons
+Fast paced story
-Low quality textures
Final score: 8 / 10
A working PlayStation 3 console
Resistance 3 is the latest installment in the first person shooter series developed by Insomniac Games, and the fourth overall, if you include the PSP exclusive Resistance: Retribution.
While the first title managed to impress lots of new PlayStation 3 owners, being among the few titles available at the console's launch, the second one tried to move past the sci-fi, World War II era looks by adopting some more futuristic visuals, with massive set pieces and many encounters on alien ships.
Now, Resistance 3 wants to tone things down, as humanity has already lost the war against the Chimera, and is really talking about a small and fragmented resistance instead of elaborate and organized army efforts like in the first two titles.
So, with a new hero, in the form of Joseph Capelli, a new focus and the promise to close the trilogy of PlayStation 3 titles, fans have high expectations of Resistance 3. Has it managed to live up to them or should the the new shooter be forgotten in the history of the franchise? Let's find out.
The new hero, Joseph Capelli ...
... alongside his wife and boy
The game marks a new turning point for the series, as it's no longer about U.S. sergeant Nathan Hale, whose fate was left hanging at the end of the second game, instead focusing on one of his former squadmates, Joseph Capelli.
Alongside the change of protagonist, the scope of the game has become much smaller. It's not longer about trying to push back the Chimera onslaught against the UK or trying to take back key U.S. territories from these monsters. Instead, it's just about surviving and trying to find an effective cure against the evil creatures.
Capelli is now trying to protect his wife and little boy, but it seems that fate has other plans for him, as Dr. Malikov from the second game returns to Capelli, with a plan to finally defeat the Chimera once and for all. It seems that the aliens have now opened up a wormhole above New York city that leads straight to their home planet.
Capelli, while reticent at first, accepts the new task, hoping that it will mean his boy growing up without fearing for his life. On the way to New York, Resistance 3 takes players through all sorts of environments, from the famous boat level to urban combat, and even a sort of Half Life 2 Ravenholm area, with regular Chimera monsters trying to kill Capelli in a dark and scary environment.
While the story is pretty well paced, there are but a few moments when you actually care about the protagonist. There is a scene where he needs to actually fight against fellow humans, who've started punishing others instead of uniting against the Chimera, but it doesn't last very long and their motivations could have been explained a bit more. Still, Resistance 3's narrative is by far the most impressive in the series.
Resistance 3 is a first person shooter that manages to bring back lots of great features from the original and combine them with elements from the second.
It wins big points right from the beginning for returning the weapon wheel from the first game, which allows Capelli to carry all the weapons within the game, and simply swap between them from a radial menu. Resistance 2 tried to impose a two-weapon limit on Nathan Hale, and that wound up backfiring, especially since it was hard dropping impressive weapons like the Auger because you didn't have any bullets. Now, you can carry all the rifles as well as a variety of grenades.
Seeing as how it's a game made by Insomniac, all the weapons have three levels, progressing as you start using them more and more. With each level they gain new abilities while their damage output improves. There's a lot of variety, ranging from the regular rifle to the aforementioned Auger, the revolver with exploding bullets, the Deadeye sniper or a freeze gun that manages to stop even the biggest enemies in their tracks.
As opposed to lots of shooter these days, the health of protagonist Joseph Capelli doesn't automatically regenerate. Instead, he needs to find health vials on the ground in order to make sure he won't meet an early end in his fight against the enemies. While you can easily spot health because of its green glow, it's a bit hard to notice extra ammunition, largely because the game insists a bit too much with its brown and decayed look, so you often times need to start moving erratically around the level to actually find some extra ammo.
Still, once you start building up your arsenal, you can easily swap weapons on the fly and finish off any stubborn enemies. You don't have a cover system so you need to rely on the various objects in the environment to shield you from your enemies. While some levels are quite straightforward, many larger areas have all sorts of nooks and crannies that can be exploited when fighting the legions of enemies Resistance 3 usually throws at you.
You even have a few collectibles, in the form of audio diaries or envelopes. While some are forgettable if you're not interested in hearing the stories of other resistance fighters, others are quite touching.
The enemies are pretty smart and sometimes very aggressive. Many will try to push onto the position of the player, either by flanking you or just wearing you out with shots from a distance or endless rocket barrages towards the end of the story. When you're quite low on health, usually an enemy will push onto your position with a health vial attached to him, so if you kill him quickly the extra health is yours.
Towards the end, firefights get quite hectic, with big robots or monsters attacking the player, so it's quite important to use all the weapons in the game, thus upgrading them, as well as the variety of grenades, including my personal favorite, the hedgehog.
Resistance 3 has a mandatory install of about 1.5GB, as well as a day-1 patch that weighs in at about 656MB. It does play a short animated comic, which details the arrival and spreading process of the Chimera virus, but that covers about 25 percent of the install process so you're still left with watching the slow as a snail process finish.
Like with any major PlayStation 3 release, Resistance 3 also has support for the PlayStation Move motion controls as well as stereoscopic 3D, although we couldn't try out any of these two features.
Resistance 3's multiplayer modes don't rely on the impressive numbers of its predecessor, which supported a large amount players. Instead, the game now packs the cooperative mode into the regular campaign, with another player jumping in to help Capelli throughout his adventures. The co-op mode can be played either online or via splitscreen, in which case the stereoscopic 3D mode can't be used.
The competitive multiplayer mode supports 16 players and includes a variety of traditional modes, like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag as well as special ones like Chain Reaction or Breach. Like any self respecting shooter these days, a leveling up system is used for players to progress through various ranks, while unlocking new weapons and combat attributes.
While it's a pretty fun experience, especially once you start unlocking more powerful weapons like the Auger or Revolver, it doesn't really have anything that addictive to keep players hooked on it.
The bigger they are ...
... the harder they fall
Visuals and Audio
Resistance 3 is a pretty good looking game but some textures aren't of the highest quality especially in the beginning of the game. It changes up its color palette quite frequently, alternating various filters over the gameplay, from a dusty brown at the beginning to a sharper blue hue towards the end. There are a lot of effects in place to make the experience feel a bit retro, but they make some of the colors in the levels feel lifeless.
The character models are also of questionable quality, especially when you get up close to them. While Capelli's wife or Dr. Malikov look relatively good, more so in cinematic sequences, Insomniac's graphics engine is showing its age, especially when compared to other PS3 titles like Infamous 2 or Uncharted 2.
In terms of sound, however, things are much better, with orchestral scores highlighting the fast paced action and I've even heard a few opera scores from time to time. Weapons feel powerful and each has its own specific sound effects. Enemies are more nuanced, and many of them give out a distinct noise when eliminated.
The weapon wheel makes a comeback ...
... while impressive weapons are added
Resistance 3 is definitely the most impressive game in the series, telling a touching story that nicely finishes the main trilogy of games so far. While it's visuals may not impress that much, the gameplay is very tight and the varied weapons prove that Insomniac still knows what makes using them in games so special.
If you liked the first two titles, then you won't be sorry for picking this one up. If you skipped them, there's a special Resistance Dual Pack on sale, and we'd certainly advise you to pick them up before starting Resistance 3, even if it's a decent standalone experience.