Review: Resistance 3

Review: Resistance 3

Plenty of pressing alternate history questions exist, like what if Hitler never got into politics? What if the Germans had won World War II instead of the Allies? Or better yet, what if a race of hostile aliens invaded Earth and just prevented everything from happening in the first place? Well, Resistance is back for its third installment and ready to play out the rest of that exact scenario.

Resistance 3

 

I’m banking on the assumption that if you are reading this you have already played both Resistance 1 & 2. If not, you may want to cease reading right here as this review MAY contain spoilers. However, for those of you who are up to speed, I promise not to reveal anything major from the game’s storyline.

Resistance 3 picks up several years after the events of  Resistance 2. If you’ve forgotten, Nathan Hale was shot and killed by another solider named Joseph Capelli who realized that Hale was irreversibly infected. As a result, Capelli was dishonorably discharged from service on grounds of endangering all mankind. He knew he did the right thing, but it was hard to convince the military that killing the man who was single-handedly responsible for staving off two years worth of Chimeran attacks –  and who was the only human to contain any sort of resistance to the infection – was the right thing to do.

Capelli returned to America where he took up refuge in the town of Haven and helped defend against the threat of Chimeran attacks. With the death of Nathan Hale, humanity’s last hope, the Chimeran forces gained a stronger foothold in the war against man. No longer were they on an all out offensive assault. Rather, Chimeran death squads scoured the globe, looking for pockets of survivors to exterminate. While the death squads drove the death toll up over 90%, the rest of the force began terraforming Earth , making it colder in preparation for the rest of their species to arrive.

The outlook for humanity is looking bleak and Capelli knows that. That is until he is approached in Haven by Dr. Malikov who says he knows how to bring down the Chimeran forces, but they have to make it to New York City. Capelli reluctantly agrees and sets off across the country to try and end the fight.

 

Resistance 3

The whole theme in Resistance 3 is that of desperation and loss of all hope. No longer are you entrenched in an all out war with the Chimera. Instead, you are one man who is attempting to best the insurmountable odds by sneaking 1,300 miles across the country to attack the Chimera head on. You don’t have an army of men to fall back on. In fact, rarely will you ever have more than one other person with you after the first 10 minutes of the game. On the same note, though, you will not encounter massive hoards of Chimera either. Things are a bit more balanced this time around.

Since things are not quite as frantic this time around, the game builds tension and suspense in other ways. Story and environment are major focuses this time around and Insomniac has done a fantastic job making every locale feel deserted, bleak, and deadly all at the same time. To create a sense of desertion, you may often pass through long stretches of land without seeing a single enemy while at other times you may  haphazardly stumble upon a pocket of enemies and catch them off guard.

Resistance 3

Earlier, I covered the concept of Resistance 3 as a Experience Movie wherein the developers were truly focusing on making the title play out more like an interactive movie and hopefully evoke emotions one generally wouldn’t experience during a video game. The major segment of the game that was said to have displayed this achievement was the entire river segment. By far this was the scene I was looking forward to the most, but I was met with mixed emotions as it played out. Sure, it was neat to be floating down the Mississippi through the fog evading Chimeran Death Squads, but the whole thing was kind of ruined by the onslaught of wave after wave of Grims jumping on the boat. Yes, I had infinite ammo and health, but I was enjoying watching the Goliath – which you never get to fight – off in the distance, crushing bridges and searching for the boat I was on. In all, the developers accomplished their goal, but kind of ruined the mood by overwhelming the player with a barrage of menial enemies.

Also, any self-respecting action game has to have a bitchin’ train sequence and Resistance 3 is right on the money. Similar to the Uncharted 2 train segment, I don’t want to say any more lest I ruin it.

Home Sweet Home

Since the Chimera have started to make Earth their home, the species has begun to adapt. No longer are all the Chimera trained and focused on killing the humans. After being on Earth for around half a century, the Chimera have split into two groups: military and feral. The feral Chimera are basically wild animals who show no bias in who they attack and will often be a great diversion for you to slip through an area unseen. However, they can also be a major pain when you have to take both on at once.

As a result of Earth becoming more and more like their home planet, the Chimera have actually grown significantly stronger. You may not notice the difficulty levels though due to their scaled back numbers. Also, quite a few new recruits have joined the ranks.

The Grims are essentially the lowest of the low in terms of Chimera. They aren’t technically human and they aren’t fully converted either. They are completely unarmored and carry no weapons, but they do pack quite a punch, especially when they descend upon you in droves. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Grims covered in green puss as they can especially put a damper on your mood with their acidic juices and tendency to fall down and explode.

The hybrids make a return, but are noticeably different this time around. Thanks to the cooling temperatures, they are wearing less armor and packing quite a bit more heat. Fortunately, you can fell them with a well placed melee attack if you manage to get the drop on one.

Resistance 3 Long Legs

The newest, and perhaps most annoying enemies are the Long Legs. These grasshopper-like creatures are mechanized Chimera who have been given the ability to leap great distances and even momentarily hover. Hearing someone cry, “Long Legs! Incoming” just made me sigh as I knew I was in for a rather long and frustrating game of hide and seek with bullets.

To counter the lack of large scale battles, several heavy hitters have been included to test your skills and give you a challenge. The Ravagers have been ramped up a bit and given a new gun, but they are joined by the Brawlers, Stalkers, and Widow Makers.

Resistance 3 Ravager

The Ravagers generally travel in pairs, each carrying the new atomizer and sporting a wicked force field to boot.  They aren’t to terribly hard to break down, but they are usually accompanied by a swarm of hybrids and that can make things a bit dicey.

The Brawlers on the other hand require a good deal of skill and concentration to bring down. If the Chimera had a silver back gorilla, it would be the Brawler. This mini-boss type enemy is quick, agile, and hits really, really hard. He is also heavily armored and can eat loads of bullets before he begins to show signs of weakness. The neat thing about the Brawlers is that they aren’t simply a place to deposit bullets. They require precise aim in order to hit the chinks their armor. Only once their armor is removed will you be able to bring them down. These battles get quite intense as they constantly assault you with cars and whatever else can be tossed your way.

Resistance 3 Brawler

The stalkers really aren’t any different than in previous titles except that they now have a force field that you must disable with am EMP grenade before you can bring them down. They are simply more of an occasional inconvenience rather than a challenge. The Widow Makers on the other are a different story.

Reminiscent of giant spiders, the Widow Makers belong to the feral Chimera category and care nothing of who gets in their way. They simply tear apart anything that moves. You only have to fight a few of these in the game, but they are among the toughest challenges the game has to offer. Like the Brawlers, you cannot simply dump your entire wad of ammo into them and hope they go down. There is a system to bringing them down and figuring it out can take awhile if you miss the clues.

Defeating any number of these massive bosses is quite an exhilarating experience as they generally tend to show up out of nowhere and catch you entirely off guard… sometimes without much ammo.

 Less is More

The battles in Resistance 3 are actually far more exciting and tense than any battle from the previous two titles simple because they are more balanced. They are still rock hard at times, but not because you have to slosh your way through 20 waves of attackers before the next checkpoint appears. Rather, you will have to approach each engagement with a bit of a plan and decide which weapon(s) will be the best for that situation. Do you sit back and snipe or do you go for an all out frontal assault? Choose wisely because the enemy is doing the exact same thing you are.

The AI is leaps and bounds beyond anything seen in the previous games. The Chimera are now capable of readjusting their tactics on the fly and assigning various jobs to each other in order to bring you down more effectively. They will try to flank you or drive you into a tunnel only to throw a grenade in after you or they may try to draw your fire away from the sniper so he can get a bead on you. You really have to be on your toes and looking for the quickest, most effective way to end the fight; and there is certainly a plethora of ways you can go about that.

 Drawing Inspiration

Resistance 3 Bullseye

Staying true to the original recipe, Resistance 3 is chock full of entertaining weapons that scream Ratchet & Clank. A good few of the series’ favorites return such as the Bullseye, Carbine, Deadeye (Fareye), and the pistol with exploding rounds. However, never one to pass on the opportunity to create new weapons, Insomniac has compiled yet another great bunch of guns for you to play around with.

The weapon wheel is back, giving you instant access to your entire arsenal on the fly. Unfortunately, switching weapons does pause the action. Once you acquire a weapon for the first time it stays with you for the rest of the game, you just have to find the ammo for it. Some of the new guns this time around are quite intriguing and provide some new and exciting ways to kill Chimera.

The Atomizer, the only game in the game you cannot scope in with, sends out an arc of electricity and quickly vaporizes anything in its path. This weapon is best used in the select cases where you  find yourself surrounded by swarms of Grims as it will cause a chain reaction and basically vaporize everything around you.

Resident Evil Mutator

The Mutator was one of the most talked about guns from the developers simply because it doesn’t kill enemies in the traditional ‘bullet through the brain’ sense. Earlier, I mentioned the Grims who are rather partial to blowing up and covering you with green, gassy, puss. Well, someone decided to harness that puss, cram it into an aerosol can and make a weapon out of it. When fired, it causes your target to break  into a fit of vomiting before becoming engulfed in festering puss wads and exploding. It’s quite entertaining, especially in large groups.

You now have access to a more sophisticated rocket launcher that can lock on to drop ships and individual enemies as well as deliver an array of heat seeking mini-missiles. Ammo for this gun was far too scarce.

The Auger, Sniper Rifle, Bullseye, pistol, shotgun, and Carbine remain largely unchanged, except for the wide variety of upgrades available for each. Taking some inspiration from the Ratchet & Clank series, Resistance 3 is sort of encouraging you to utilize all of the weapons, if only to see them fully upgraded and experiment with them briefly.

Upgrading your weapons simply requires you to use them. The more you use a weapon the faster it upgrades. With each level, the gun will gain a new attachment/firepower/secondary fire/ or ability. For instance, the Bullseye – which I hated in previous titles but now love – has a gorgeous looking digital HUD and the traditional tracking beacon, but once upgraded, the gun is capable of firing a starburst tracker that will separate and allow you to lock on to multiple targets.

Resistance 3 Shotgun

The shotgun gains incendiary rounds, the marksmen gains a new sight, and the Deadeye gains an auto lock feature just to name a few. Leveling all the weapons up to their fullest is possible in one playthrough but requires that you diligently cycle through each , which isn’t too hard because they are all insanely fun to mess around with.

 A Simple Affair

My list of complaints about Resistance 3 is quite small. When I played the beta a few weeks ago I was instantly turned off and wasn’t really looking forward to the game as a result. However, my mind was changed after about 10 minutes in the campaign. The controls are a bit sluggish compared to other twitch shooters out there, but they feel exactly the same as previous Resistance games. For some strange reason, whenever you run, everything around you becomes incredibly blurry. I get the logic behind it, but the execution was a bit off as it only made me nauseous. Hence, I rarely sprinted anywhere.

A few of the animations in the game were very robotic and stale, such as climbing a ladder. I don’t know why it bothered me because I only climbed a total of about 15 ladders, but it just really hit me as strange animation choice.

Also, the lack of a ‘restart from last checkpoint’ option was a bit puzzling. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it if it weren’t for a particular level early on in the game where I was bounding across the tops of boxcars in a train yard, avoiding tiny Chimeran cockroaches and happened to slip in between two cars. It happened several times and I could do absolutely nothing. I was permanently stuck and had to actually quit out of the game. Granted when I reloaded, I was right where I left off, but still.

I know it’s a complaint the series has always received, but the guns just really don’t feel like real weapons, especially when aiming down the sights. In fact, the controls become quite hard to use when scoping in at short to medium range. Aiming down the sights worked well enough for long range weapons like the sniper rifle and marksmen, but anything up close just wasn’t happening. And seeing as how a good deal of the game takes place in tight quarters, I spent most of my time shooting from the hip – so much so that I got the trophy for it within the first hour of the game.

Resistance 3 Multiplayer

Finally, the multiplayer requires an online pass in order to access. So if you happened to buy this game used, rented it, or are borrowing it from a friend, chances are you will not be playing it online any time soon unless you purchase the online pass from the PSN store for a cool $10.

Resistance 3 is the first game to officially require the Online Pass and could be a sign of things to come. New release games tend to sell for $55 at GameStop, or $50 if you have their membership card, but then you have to buy the online pass for $10 which puts you right back at full price. You may as well buy this one new if you have to have it any time soon. However, those who do have access to the online multiplayer will be met some pretty standard stuff including team death match domination style game modes. You can check out my multiplayer impressions here.

One last multiplayer note; rejoice knowing that they have included a cooperative campaign mode, finally! You can enjoy this mode with a friend on the same couch or online with a buddy across the world.

 All in All

As a whole, Resistance 3 is quite a trip and more than worth its praise. The game is quite different from previous titles as your battles are much smaller and fewer and farther between. However, those battles, thanks to your wide selection of weapons and tactics, are quite challenging and exciting. The whole atmosphere is tense and bleak while the story is expanded upon by a slew of random audio files you can collect throughout that only increase the feeling of utter hopelessness for mankind.

Despite how short the game is – 8 hours at the most for any experienced FPS player on normal – Resistance 3 is a must buy for any fan of the series. Now, whether or not this game wraps up the Chimeran invasion and sets humanity free is up to you to find out!

Score: 9.2/10

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