Resistance 3 - Review



Insomniac Games' Resistance franchise is well known as one of this generation's best new reasons to own a PS3. The first Resistance introduced us to the franchise itself and offered a new alien orientated PS3 exclusive (*cough*HALO). Resistance 2 extremely expanded the scale of the action, the levels and especially the Boss Battles but at the same time obviously KILLED the franchise with its dumb, out-of-nowhere, abrupt ending.
After Resistance 2, the franchise's future was uncertain after the lead character Nathan Hale was gone.
Now with Resistance 3, we know that the franchise is still alive and is aimed for a new focus on personal storytelling and "back to the roots" gameplay. But does that help the franchise to be relevant among all the other sci-fi shooters out there?




Story

The future looks pretty grim for mankind. The Chimera took over most of the Earth. In this now seemingly post-apocalyptic world, Joe Capelli lives with his wife and little son in an underground outpost with other survivors. After some attacks on the outpost, Capelli meets Doctor Malikov who has been chased by the Chimera. Malikov says that he finally found a way to stop the Chimera and begs Capelli to accompany him to New York. Malikov states that the wormhole opened on New York is slowly freezing the planet (Chimera thrive in cold climates) and Humans will not survive the next winter. Capelli refuses to help him but he is convinced by his wife Susan who urges him to go with Malikov.

Resistance 3 offers probably the best story of the entire franchise. While the previous installments more or less focused on a more global scale, this time it's a very personal story of a man trying to survive and safe his family. Cappeli's adventures throughout his journey to New York are very exciting and always throw something new at you. His trip has a "Apocalypse Now" style to it. The happenings on his journey are far not as largely scaled and global like in Resistance 2, where every mission is set to have a global effect, but are at least equally as great and engaging.
The places and situations Capelli is put into are most probably going to surprise you, due to the fact that Insomniac games released only gameplay footage from the first level of the game, to not spoil any surprises (That's how it's done!).
The journey puts you into different moods: from large scale battles in open streets, to creepy, tension building levels that may remind some of "We don't go to Raven Holm" (Half Life 2).
As i said, the story is very emotional and personal. A very welcome change and something new that shows that the franchise is not running out of juice. Although for some, the game's ending might be a bit too standard and abrupt (but it's an ok ending and by far not as bad as the one of Resistance 2).


Gameplay

Resistance 3 plays just like any other Resistance game and yet it doesn't. As Joe Capelli, you are given not only 2 weapons that you can carry, but your entire arsenal. You are able to switch between your current and your previously-chosen weapon, or choose a specific weapon out of your "weapon-choosing-wheel". It may seem pretty odd and unusual to some (and most importantly unlogical) but this is what i meant with "back-to-the-roots gameplay". Additionally, the ability to choose every weapon you picked up, at any time, balances the absence of a regenrating health bar. Resistance 3 plays with a health bar that can only be regenerated with good old health packs, scattered throughout every level. This balanced 90's shooter gameplay, radically changes the way you play the game. Especially if you fight giant monsters or waves of enemies and simultaneously have to watch out for your health bar and health packs, the tension and difficulty rises rapidly (even on "normal"). Getting used to these changes may take a short amount of time, but you will get used to it don't worry. I am sure some will hate this change but if you ask me, that's exactly the change the game needed. The lack of a regenerating-health meter erases the feel of the player being a super-human fighter (like Nathan Hale) but just a usual human being.
Another polarizing change is the upgrading of guns. By the repeated use of a specific gun, the player can upgrade it and give it additional functions. For example, the leveling-up of the Rossmore Shotgun gives it explosive shells. Every weapon of the game has 3 upgrade levels. This change may be a cool idea and something fresh but ultimately unnecessary as i think.

But still i got some complaints: The melee move often feels delayed and slow. Another complaint is the lack of silenced guns. In some missions, you have to be very stealthy and silent but stil have to kill enemies. Unfortunately for you, you are not given any silenced weapons to kill nearby snipers. The results are obvious: With every single shot, you alert the enemy base so that you quickly find yourself surrounded. I am not sure if Insomniac wanted it that way but it sure annoyed the hell out of me. Luckily, i guess, these are all just minor complaints that don't drag the game down too much.

Your arsenal consists out of well known guns from the previous games like the chimera "Bullseye" but also new weapons like the "Cryogun" that freezes the enemy. Also you will encounter some old but also some new Chimera enemy-types throughout the game.
Overall, the game consists out of well balanced gameplay mechanics, which distinguish Resistance 3 from other shooters and at the same time give the player a new feel of challenge (especially in later levels).


Graphics

The graphics of Resistance 3 are basically very solid. It's no graphical masterpiece a la Killzone 3 or other PS3 exclusives, but it's the best looking Resistance game yet. Although cutscenes mostly consist out of CG-animated videos instead of ingame graphics, it's not that tragic.
Often people were afraid of the game having a far too brownish-tone. I would be lieing if i'd say that the game didn't have a mainly brownish, dark color palette, but luckily, this slightly changes the more you get towards the end of the game. It's setpiece moments like the attack of a big chimeran monster that make the game engine shine.


Sound

Just as solid as the graphics, is the sound design. Especially during darker zombie levels, the screams of monsters are awesome with a good surround system. Voice acting is very good throughout the entire experience, with the voice acting for Joe Capelli given the most character and best performance.
Also the soundtrack is superb and supports the emotional storyline very well.


Multiplayer

Resistance 3's multiplayer continues Resistance 2's legacy of a good multiplayer experience. It's basic multiplayer action. There's not much else to say here. The multiplayer is by far no threat to heavyweights like Battlefield, Halo or Call of Duty but it's not a desaster like the multiplayer of Duke Nukem or Dead Space 2 either. It's a welcome and needed addition that completes this awesome game.


The Verdict

Resistance 3 is a game that surpassed my expectations. I was very unsure if this game would turn out well after the horrible ending of its predecessor. With Joe Capelli as a (in my opinion) far more interesting protagonist and a different focus in storytelling, this is probably my favorite installment of the franchise.
For me the best part of this game is the story of Cappeli's adventurous journey through the chimera-infested lands, which again reminds me a whole lot of "Apocalypse Now" (and at times Spielberg's "War of the Worlds") which is awesome.
The changes in the gameplay offer a new kind of challenge to the player but at the same time are very well balanced. While the game doesn't really invent or give you something completely new in terms of gameplay, it doesn't have to.
Resistance 3 is a very solid shooter experience whose main focus is clearly on the campaign and its emotional and personal story. The journey is so good, you probably will want to at least make it a second time.
With Resistance 3, Insomniac games breathes new life into the obviously dead franchise. Resistance 3 might probably not be THE reason to buy a PS3 for everyone (unlike Uncharted 2), but it's definately one of the finest PS3 exclusives out there, that no PS3 owner should miss.


Final Verdict: 8 out of 10

Status: Great!

 

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