September 14, 2011 by Paul Curtin
It’s been five years since Insomniac and Sony released the original Resistance: Fall of Man to go along with the launch of the PlayStation 3 and show off its high definition graphics potential. Although Fall of Man was well received by critics and early adopters of the PlayStation 3, the PS3’s rough launch due to its steep pricing and lack of other games was enough to keep many gamers from experiencing the original big-budget shooter. I’ll admit that I was one of those people who waited to get a PS3 once the price dropped well after the release of Resistance 2. Since I was late on getting the first two Resistance games, I figured I would just wait and play all three games back to back when Resistance 3 was launched, which I’m grateful that I did, because playing one after another allowed me to see the true evolution of one of the best FPS series of all time.
There aren’t many 10 hour games that are good enough to sit down and beat in one sitting, but Resistance 3 is one of those games and one of the best first-person shooter experiences of all time. The series took an unexpected twist at the end of the second game when *R2 Spoilers* the series’ main protagonist Nathan Hale was killed by fellow Echo Team member Joseph Capelli after finally being taken over by the Chimeran virus. *End Spoilers* Resistance 3 continues the epic story but now with Joe as the main character, who has since been dishonorably discharged for his actions. The bad-ass Joe from previous games has become a family man who lives with his wife and son in an 1957 America that has been overrun by the Chimera. With 90 percent of Earth’s population dead or turned into Chimera, humans have to now seek refuge in outposts underground. After a Chimeran attack, Joe and his family flee their outpost in Oklahoma, and Joe embarks on a new mission to New York where he must stop the Chimera and prevent the extinction of man.
Although the human resistance is now on a much smaller scale, the overall story and events throughout Resistance 3 are much more impressive than in previous games. With the first game’s lead character Hale having no voice acting, it was clear in the second game that they were trying to make him into a more memorable character with more cutscenes and dialog. However, Hale was still too generic and the lead role transition from super soldier to fallen-soldier-turned-family-man makes for a far better story. Joe’s journey is riveting, and my only complaint is that the game left me wanting more. The story leaves many questions involving the series’ main plot unanswered. I’m sure this isn’t the last time we’ll see the Resistance series, but by spending more time answering some of the bigger questions or at least teasing possible theories, the length of the campaign could have been a bit longer, and the story could have been a lot stronger overall.
The graphics are also greatly improved, which allow for some of the most visually stunning set pieces in any game or big-budget movie. There are many times where you’ll feel like you’re on a ride at a theme park like Universal Studios and be taken back by what’s going on around you and how awesome the game looks. The game’s scenery and color tone changes as you progress from a warmer orange hue to a contrasting colder blue. The change in locations and color temperatures to reflect those changes keep each level in the game feeling different from the last and keep the story fresh throughout. The game also features the ability to be played in 3D, which is one of the best excuses for buying a 3D TV. Each level constantly has some type of exploding debris or weather effect like dust, snow, and rain in your face that helps immerse you in the game, but the constant particles in your face can be a little distracting when trying to focus on aiming.
Besides the huge set pieces, what sets Resistance apart from the rest is its unique weapons. All the guns from previous games are back, like the Bullseye that allows enemies to be tagged with lock-on projectiles and the Auger that allows its high-energy bolts to travel through any object. There are even some new favorites like the Atomizer that evaporates enemies and the Mutator that causes enemies to instantly develop massive cysts and explode from the sickening chemical agent it fires. Each weapon also has a secondary fire that allows it to be used differently. For example, the Atomizer also drops a beacon that pulls all nearby enemies into a group and evaporates them. There’s also a quick video tutorial displayed each time a new weapon is acquired that helps both new and old players learn how to use each weapon.
But before you skip the tutorial you might want to watch and read it because the old weapons aren’t just back with a couple new extras added to the arsenal to keep gameplay fresh. In fact, the entire weapon system has been updated for the better. Instead of your actual character leveling up and unlocking new skills like in most popular singleplayer games, the actual guns you use level up the more you use them. Not only is it awesome to see guns evolve into more powerful weapons with new abilities, but the system is easy. You simply use a gun and it gains experience; this way only the guns you choose to use the most are the ones that level up. For example, the Bullseye can be upgraded to use exploding rounds and fire multiple tags. It’s quite brilliant and since there are so many guns you won’t be able to max out each weapon on a single playthrough and will be wanting to start a new game right after you’re done to get that final level on one of your favorites or see what the other guns have to offer.
The Resistance 2 two-weapon management system has thankfully been trashed with Resistance 3 going back to the original’s format of allowing every gun to be picked up and a weapon wheel to instantly select between which weapon you use. It’s good to see Insomniac bring back the fun weapon elements to their FPS because games today take themselves too seriously — who cares if a person can’t physically carry ten guns at once in real life? Not every game needs to follow a strict two-gun-per-person rule, especially those with a sci-fi base and tons of awesome guns. I didn’t get a chance to play the game with the PlayStation Move, so I can’t comment on how well the motion controls work, but I can’t see why you would even want the plastic gun add-on when the normal controls are perfect.
In addition to the old weapon system being back and improved, so is the health system. Again, the Resistance 2 regenerating health format with no health packs has been reverted back to the old system used in the first game. However, the old system was a bit harsh and Insomniac has taken the best elements of both systems to perfect the health system with a mix of a full health bar that isn’t tiered like the first game but can be refilled by health pack pickups. Just like the ammo, there’s plenty of health packs scattered throughout each level, so you won’t be going crazy when you have tons of ammo and no health or vice versa like in the original.
To add to Resistance 3‘s value, Insomniac has once again delivered a solid multiplayer experience. The 60 players per game max has been reduced to 16 in order to try and make the shooter more competitive and allow for better graphics. It’s a change that’s definitely not for the best. While having smaller game types for more serious gameplay is a huge plus that every game should have, completely removing the massive scale battles takes away from one of the only unique experiences Resistance offers. The multiplayer is a lot of fun and plays a lot like Killzone and Unreal Tournament with a faster pace more like the latter and five different game modes. Unlike the singleplayer there’s an XP system that goes towards your character leveling up and unlocking new weapons and upgrades.
Unfortunately, while the online experience is good, it doesn’t seem like it has been drastically improved compared to previous games like how the singleplayer has been and even with having fewer people in each game there still tends to be lag issues. All the multiplayer modes ranging from simple Deathmatch to Capture the Flag and Assault are what you’ll find in other games, and there really isn’t a stand-out mode that does anything better than any other multiplayer FPS. The multiplayer also introduces the new PlayStation Network PASS program, which requires players to enter a one-time use code that comes with the game in order to gain access to multiplayer, so if you rent the game, buy it used, or borrow it from a friend, you’ll have to shell out an additional $10 before you can even try out any of the online modes.
After playing the entire Resistance series over the past week, I can officially say I’m now a huge fan and that Resistance 3 is the best of the three and one of the most well-made and best looking games of all time (especially in 3D). Even with the multiplayer not being as memorable of an experience as the crazy singleplayer story, both modes are packed with so much excitement that you’ll easily be able to justify paying the price of admission for the ride Resistance 3 will take you on. Although Resistance 3 might be the last Resistance game made by Insomniac, we’re hoping it’s not because each game they make gets better than the last. Resistance 3 gets 5 out of 5 stars (Masterpiece).
- Visually stunning graphics that showcase the true power of the PS3
- New more memorable lead character with an improved story
- Massive set pieces with giant monster bosses
- Tons of unique weapons with amazingly fluid controls
- Solid multiplayer that’s worth investing some time in
- Final level doesn’t live up to the rest of the game
- Multiplayer isn’t as memorable as the singleplayer experience
- Sony requires you to purchase the full game or a pass to play online