Unlike other first party franchises like Uncharted or God of War that are unanimously loved, Sony’s Resistance series has always divided the crowd. While one part loves the war torn Chimera invaded world created by Insomniac Games, the others feel the game lacks a certain spark to distinguish it from the sea of other shooters. I tend to agree with the latter. Now before you nail me to a cross calling me a hater you need to understand I don’t hate the game. It’s just that the game never really captivated my interest and if you take a seat, I’ll tell you why.
Resistance 3 (R3) takes place a few years after the events of the second game. You play as Joseph Capelli, a dishonoured war veteran who just so happens to be the dude who put a bullet in Nathan Hale, the protagonist from previous Resistance games. Even if you haven’t played previous iterations, the game does a good job of summing it all up at the start. So anyway, after popping Hale off, Capelli decides to call it a day chilling somewhere in Oklahoma with his wife and child. For a while things are going just fine but when your world’s being overrun by bloodthirsty aliens, can you really just sit down and live the good life? Pretty soon duty calls, and Joseph along with an old Russian scientist must travel to New York city to end the Chimerian menace once and for all.
Sting like a bee
As you can see the plot’s nothing to write home about populated by clichéd twists you’ll probably see coming a mile away. Still my problem’s not so much with the story as it is with the campaign’s pacing. At times R3 finds the sweet spot between difficulty, intensity and satisfaction while at times it oscillates strongly between the boredom of just killing wave after wave of spawning enemies and frustration brought on by constant ambushes. Making matters worse is the game’s navigation system that is probably the worst I’ve seen in a game till date. For the longest time your objective marker just won't pop up on screen leaving you running around a level in circles. And then you’re supposed to open a door but without any sort of denotation, it becomes highly annoying to find an exit, especially if you're in the dark fighting a billion enemies.
In R3 you surprisingly spend a lot of time in the dark as the game tries dabbling in survival horror territory with some rather interesting results. There’s a level in there highly reminiscent of the excellent Ravenholm level from Half-Life 2 but it doesn’t achieve such brilliance once again due to issues with pacing. And the stupid issue I mentioned with the navigation goes from being a minor annoyance to a full-fledged irritation in such levels.
Can you guys keep it down a bit
Unlike most action games on the block, Resistance 3 does not feature a regenerating health system which means you have to hunt around for health packs across the battlefield if you're fond of living. Enemies randomly will drop health packs and they do so at regular intervals but there were times during my play though when they just refused to drop one. This isn't a deal breaker per say but it's a mechanic that may not gel with players who're used to healing themselves.
One aspect of the game I’m sure everyone will love though is its highly responsive control scheme. Resistance 3 boasts of some of the tightest controls I've experienced on any PS3 shooter to date. The fluidity and smoothness of controls makes pulling off headshots an easy yet satisfying experience. Of course the tight controls are complimented by the game’s rather large arsenal of diverse weapons that include your conventional stuff like carbines and shotguns but also some exotic alien weaponry like the Cryogun that allows you to freeze and explode enemies or the Auger that allows you to see and fire through walls. All weapons have an alternate fire as well and they automatically upgrade depending on how many kills you rack up with them.
You’ll never have a shortage of weapons or ammunition through the campaign but don’t get too cocky. The game offers a significant challenge even on the normal difficulty. The game pummels you with some intense set-pieces where you’re forced to help a bunch of pilots survive a Chimera attack or defend a train from some crazy Rednecks. During these times, it’s essential to choose the right tool for the job. There aren’t a ton of boss fights in the game but the ones present are daunting to look at, some towering hundreds of feet over Capelli. Bringing them down is your standard shoot at the “glowing red parts” but thankfully they don’t feel cheap offering a significant challenge in the process.
Imma fly out of here
Visually, Resistance 2 is a decent looking game only it’s just a bit too brown. It’s also a very dark game and even after bumping up the gamma significantly, I found myself squinting at the screen on numerous occasions. The game world is well designed reflecting the chaos and despair brought on by an alien invasion. The Chimerian labs on the other hand feel and look like the evil futuristic lairs you’ve explored a hundred times before. Besides some gigantic boss fights, the game even assaults your senses with quite a few scripted events where you’re being chased by a 100 foot tall mechanic monster or are running past a bridge that’s about to collapse and during all these times, the frame rates stay rock solid.
Resistance 3 offers players the chance to play the entire game in co-op but I never really played any co-op because for some stupid reason the game forces you to co-op only with friends. So if your mates don’t own the game (which is what happened in my case) or a PS3 to begin with, you can forget about teaming up with random dudes online because the game just doesn’t allow it. Like WTF Insomniac!
These dudes are bad news
Besides co-op, the game’s multiplayer is pretty meaty offering a multitude of modes right from your run of the mill Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch to the more team oriented objective ones where you have to capture flags, bases or nodes. The game utilizes a matchmaking system which for some reason also felt highly imbalanced because I never found games based on skill level. If anything high ranking players are all sent to one team while noobs run around the map clueless dying a lot in the process. Not fun. The multiplayer does have its moments and can be quite enjoyable thanks to the unlocks and challenges but it’s not something I’ll be playing for the next year or so.
At the end Resistance 3 left me with mixed emotions. It does a lot of things right but then somewhere down the road it kind of loses the plot. The game also has a strong been there done that vibe – in both single and multiplayer - and the only thing that separates it from the generic shooter is its arsenal of weapons. Some may say Call of Duty does the same thing over and over again every year and yes, I agree with those people but for me personally, Resistance 3's campaign didn't feel as exciting or compelling as Call of Duty games.
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