If the third entry in the Killzone series wasn’t enough sci-fi shooter action to keep you busy, then the upcoming release of Insomniac’s Resistance 3 is shaping up to Move you back into action in just a few short months. We recently survived some hands-on time with the Resistance 3 demo and have returned to give you some insight on this creepy new game that the twisted minds at Insomniac Games have brought us.
Even from the first scenes of the new playable character, Joseph Capelli – R.I.P. Nathan Hale – it’s apparent that this is a dark game. Pain and suffering from emotional loss can be read upon Capelli’s face, and it’s obvious that the years of war against the Chimera have taken their toll, not only on Capelli, but on Earth itself as well. The graphics have been significantly improved, especially character modelling, and the film grain returns to keep the visuals' ‘gritty’ appearance. The dark score keeps the opening cinematic dramatic as ever: as Capelli boards a small river boat, Dr. Malikov tells him he's “doing the right thing”. Capelli looks down into his hand and his deceased child’s small knit mitten.
Taking control of Capelli for the first time, as the boat starts slowly creeping up the foggy river banks of the Mississippi river towards St. Louis, Missouri, the controls are instantly familiar to series veterans, especially those who’ve missed the weapon wheel from Resistance: Fall of Man, as it makes its triumphant return here – but, sadly the demo doesn’t allow us to try out the new Move controls that will be featured in the game.
The river banks of the Mississippi River are littered with fallen houses, a dilapidated football stadium, broken vehicles and even a dead Kraken among the multitude of other destroyed things, as a radio on the boats bow transmits the dreadful voices of numerous civilians looking for their missing children, food and medical supplies. It’s a gloomy, desolate setting that sets the eerie mood of the game perfectly. Before too long the small town of Wrightsburg is entered, and Dr. Malikov idles the boat down what used to be the road in between building a sound is heard and prompts Malikov into screaming “Is anyone there”, but anyone turns out to be the unearthly unarmoured Chimera known as ‘Grim’, and they start attacking ferociously from all sides of the boat and we finally get our first taste of combat in Resistance 3.
Holding the Triangle button will pause the gameplay for quick access to your multitude of weapons without the risk of taking damage and a quick tap of the button allows for quick swapping between the last two weapons used. The Grim rush to jump onto the boat and using the Rossmoor shotgun at close quarters will turn them into flaming heaps of rubbish in no time, and as with previous games, using the correct weapon for the situation at hand is a must, because a machine gun doesn’t work as well on these enemies as the trusted shotgun. Inevitably you’ll take damage from the attack and notice that your health doesn’t regenerate any more — like the weapon wheel, another Fall of Man feature has returned: health packs. The boat is loaded with unlimited health and ammo and Capelli can take much more damage than Hale could in Resistance 2, but you’ve got to remember to find health packs instead of constantly hiding to regenerate health. While this might seem an unwanted feature for many, it actually adds to the game's mood perfectly. Much like in Valve’s Left for Dead series, the Chimera swarm Capelli in droves and the combat becomes much more personal this time around, and when you can’t just hide away for a few seconds to regain health, the level of apprehension is taken to new heights and brings even more anxiety to an already tense series.
A brief break in the action turns into an intense cinematic event as the dense fog produces a Goliath – a massive rocket-hurling four-legged battle-mech that stands 150 ft. tall – and Dr. Malikov slams the slow riverboat into high gear to evade it, but to think that you can breathe easy is a grave mistake. Soon you’ll encounter a long stretch of cliffs and find that there is a new Chimera lurking the riverbanks; the Longlegs. These armoured Chimera are extremely nimble, and jetpacks built into their armour have them jumping around the screen like some kind of alien grasshopper. Not only will they shoot at you with deadly accuracy from long range, but they will close in for short-range attacks with their extending jumping abilities as well. Surviving this intense fire-fight will have you using everything you’ve got to stay alive, including your weapon's secondary fire options that range from grenades, turrets and even an electronic barrier to deter enemy fire. Without your health regenerating, this skirmish is brutal as you’ll have to remember to run to the stern of boat to grab health to stay alive as the Longlegs attack from seemingly everywhere. One thing worth nothing here is that as the boat travelled forward during this battle, we didn’t kill all the enemies in this skirmish, just survived the onslaught until the boat was able to get out of range, which improves on the previous games' ideal of defeat all enemies and move forward. Even on the Normal difficulty settings it’s tough to stay alive and series vets already know that the Resistance series isn’t a walk in the park.
We find ourselves taking another breather that to regain ammo/health after the battle with the Longlegs as the boat makes its way into a dilapidated construction yard full of towering cranes and equipment, as something moves in the distance. Shock Drones – flying robotic drones with ‘shock’ weapons - fill the sky and start attacking from all angles. While warding off the swarm Dr. Malikov stays on the throttle until he comes to an overpass bridge that runs over and brings the boat to a halt. The dense fog ahead is once again broken by the silhouette of another Goliath, and it’s heading right for you...
The final ending sequence is one of the most cinematic experiences that we’ve yet seen from the Insomniac team and is on par with the best cinematic sequences found in Killzone 3. While we didn’t get to try out the Move controls, we can see already see the speed and precision that Move offers being extremely beneficial when dealing with the fast moving enemies, especially the Longlegs. The demo definitely left us desperate for more and while many the game will feature surely offer a robust multiplayer experience, it’s always had a fantastic single player campaign as well. If the finished game builds on what we experienced in the demo, it could easily be the best in the series.
For those of you that picked up a new copy of SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs and received a code to enter the beta, be sure to go to the Resistance beta entry site and enter your code starting on July 25th to enter the Resistance 3 Beta, and of course we will bring you our Impressions of the Beta, as well as an in-depth review on Resistance 3 when it crashes onto store shelves on September 6th, 2011 (USA)/ September 9th (UK/EU).