It’s been four long years since the dramatic events of Resistance 2 came to a close, and the war is over. Chimeran terraformers hover in the skies, transforming Earth into an icy wasteland reminiscent of the alien invaders' home world. Like enslaved prisoners, the few remaining survivors have taken refuge in underground caverns and struggle just to survive. With each hideaway that’s located, the Chimeran attacks continue to push human life nearer to the brink of extinction, and with less than ten percent of humanity still alive, hope fades with each human life that’s taken. This is the world that we find of Resistance 3.
While the Resistance series has always centred on hero Nathan Hale, his life came to an abrupt end by the gun of a member of his own squad Joseph Capelli. Infected with the Chimeran virus, Capelli’s bullet actually did Hale a favour, as he sacrificed his life to try and save Earth instead of going to be treated, but as we now see, his death was all but in vain. Today we find Capelli, with his wife and child, living refuge in a cavern with a few other survivors: husbands feed their families from single cans of food, woman and children having to bear arms to survive; hopeless they’re not, but in their desolation you can feel their hope diminishing. The war weary Capelli has given up on the resistance to live out his life as a husband and father, but that all changes when Dr. Malikov – the genetic research scientist who created the half-human, half-Chimeran hybrid the Cloven in search of a human immunity against the Chimeran virus – arrives, begging Capelli to join him to finish off the Chimera for good. Initially reluctant, Capelli’s love for his family takes precedence and he starts his long journey that will likely cost him his life.
The dark mood set from the campaign's onset is perfectly represented graphically with a dark colour palette and extensive use of film grain overlay, creating a drab appearance that brings down your emotions and forces you feel Capelli’s pain. We all know that Resistance has always been about big explosive action and it’s definitely found in abundance here, but Resistance 3 will always be remembered as being an emotional first person shooter. Segments that reveal humankind to be the downtrodden on this Earth are the moments when Resistance 3 sets itself apart from other shooters, and propels Resistance 3 as not only the best title in this series, but up there with the best of the genre too.
In the journey from Oklahoma to the Chimeran tower in New York City, you travel from one desolate location to the next in search of anyone to help your tiny resistance. Each new locale introduces a new cast of unique characters, each with their own methods of survival and obtaining hope, and while it’s always wonderful to have a multitude of fresh new characters, it also deepens our sorrow. But, these areas bring new excitement as well, as they have objectives that must be met to progress onward: awesome battles against Widowmakers, giant spiderlike Chimera that are as deadly as they are massive; a fierce underground battle against an enemy known simply as the Demon; a slow sniping section up beautiful mountainside filled with cloaked snipers and an edge-of-your-seat high speed train heist are all found on the way to New York City. These exciting in-game highs bring new aesthetics as well: the film grain remains, but superb lighting effects and a dash of added HD ‘shine’ please the eyes during these adrenaline pumped segments. Meanwhile, the ears are similarly stimulated by the fantastic gunfire and explosion effects during battles, while the eerie Chimeran sounds – especially in the dark underground segments – are nerve-wracking to say the least, as death always feels imminent.
The tools of battle are always of key importance in shooters, and the weapons of Resistance have always defined the series. The Carbine, Bullseye and Rossmore Combat Shotgun are instantly familiar to series veterans and are similar variations of real-life weapons, but the new guns are a treat too. The Mutator fires a goo that forces the enemies to vomit until they turn into exploding goo themselves, killing nearby enemies in the process; the Atomizer fires electrical arcs that disintegrate enemies and the Cryogun fires an icy steam that freezes enemies solid, for shattering melee kills, each new addition bringing a wild feel to the gunplay that’s immensely satisfying.
Resistance: Fall of Man fans will be pleased to know that the Weapon Wheel returns, allowing you to carry all of your weapons you’ve acquired at once, instead of the two weapon approach that’s become commonplace in FPS games today. This allows complete freedom for you to fight the way you see fit. The secondary weapon fire makes its return as well, with series standards like the Bullseye’s tag — gunfire streaming straight at the enemy once tagged — and the Carbine's grenade launcher remaining unchanged, but it’s the new weapon secondary fire that turns up the insanity meter. The Atomizer secondary fire drops a pod that sucks in all surrounding enemies with beautiful electrical arcs and the Mutator can create a gas cloud that will have all enemies in its vicinity puking until they explode. These addition options can be used strategically as well; where the enemy AI is extremely smart, they also have a blood-thirsty desire to kill and can be lured into these traps. What do you when sneaking up on an unaware group of enemies? Go in guns blazing? Trap them in pools of vomit? Suck them into a whirling electrical vortex? The choice is yours to make, and to take things one step further, the guns level up and become even more powerful with extended use. The amount of firepower at your disposal is staggering, and thankfully, the campaign makes sure you’ve got plenty of disgusting Chimera to waste all that precious ammo on too.
While this freedom of weapons is outstanding in the single player, it makes the jump to multiplayer with mixed results. On one hand there's nothing better than turning a trash-mouthed online opponent into a bubbling pile of alien goo, but on the other hand only two weapons can be held at a time here and it takes a good bit of time levelling up to earn the more powerful weapons, creating an unfair disadvantage to those just getting acquainted in multiplayer. While the starter weapons are perfectly capable, the character abilities contribute to the lack of balance. When achieving a new character level you're awarded skill points to attribute to weapon levels and/or multiple types of character attributes, including increasing your magazine size and explosive damage to allowing Chimeran leapers to spawn and attack enemies upon your death. Once you’ve put enough time in to gain these powerful weapons and abilities, the balancing issues do balance out, depending player skill levels of course. Having all the awesome weapons from the campaign in single player is definitely worth the unbalanced start-up though.
While the weapons are far from standard multiplayer fare, the gameplay modes actually are: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are standard run-of-the-mill modes and readily available. While Chain Reaction and Breach are both ‘zone capturing’ modes where teams try to capture points against their opponent to push forward and capture their base, it’s still similar to what we’ve played in Killzone 3. Nonetheless, all the modes are fun to play and there's plenty of weapons and upgrades just waiting to be obtained. While some will inevitably be peeved about Resistance 2’s 60-player combat trimmed down to 16 players, it's allowed Insomniac the ability to create beautiful themed maps from locales in the single player game that are smaller more intricate and more well-balanced. It was a necessary transition and perfectly fitting the game's mood, as the 16-player combat feels more up-close and personal. If online battles aren’t your cup of tea then local and online co-op will allow for a taste of the single and multiplayer gameplay combined, as you’ll take on the fantastic campaign with a friend by your side.
With all the surprises and changes to Resistance 3, the biggest for us was in the inclusion of 3D and PlayStation Move support. While the 3D is a phenomenal integration, the Move support isn’t exactly on the same level. First off, it’s apparent that Insomniac spent a lot of time fine-tuning Move’s integration: the cursor doesn’t shake wildly when Move rumbles during gunfire, nor does it pick up the minute natural wrist movements that create a shaky on-screen cursor. Our initial impressions were that it plays just as well as Killzone 3 does with Move, but that all ended when we pulled the L1 button to go into ADS (aim down sight) mode, aka iron sight. In ADS, the onscreen cursor pans so slowly that it feels like the Move’s signal is trying to push through a jar of molasses before the camera can register it. It’s a jarring effect to blast enemies down with blazing speed and precision as they attack from all angles, only to try to aim at a distant enemy and instantly go into a slow-motion aiming – ultimately resulting in unnecessary deaths, because the enemies don’t slow down, just your aiming speed. It’s still entirely playable with Move as the hip-fire is so extremely precise, but the incredible DualShock 3 controls trump Move here at the moment. Fan outcry since release has put Insomniac back on the job to bring a patch to correct this issue, and hopefully the wait won’t be too long.
Just how far would you go to save your family? Would you take on a hostile planet filled with terrifying blood-thirsty aliens alone if it was your only option? Resistance 3 gives answers to these terrible questions and sends you on a journey that you’ll never forget; a journey of love, desperation and sacrifice. While the Move support is a bit disappointing in its current state, Resistance 3’s emotional campaign is a rollercoaster ride that twists and turns until its dramatic ending, bringing the Resistance storyline to a perfect conclusion. Seeing as this is the last entry in the Resistance series to be produced by its creator, Insomniac Games, it’s apparent that the team saved its very best for last.