If I were to list off the litany of other games Insomniac’s Resistance 3 pulls from, you’d be hard pressed to find anything truly original at first glance. Rather than become the Frankenstein’s monster of first person shooters a game that utilizes Halo’s 5 minutes of fun mantra, Syphon Filter style controls, a Ravenholm-esque level that sorely needs a Gravity Gun/sawblade weapon combo, and the ubiquitous glowing drill/tower/wormhole/thingy off in the distance that appears in just about every sci-fi franchise, Resistance 3 instead offers a refreshingly engaging shooting game. It’s the superior of the PS3 exclusive sci-fi shooters.
Four years after the events of Resistance 2, you pick up as Joseph Capelli, the man who took out the series’ former protagonist Nathan Hale. This is not a game with a bunch of fist pumping, let’s go kick these alien bastards back to hell bravado. No, most of mankind has been wiped out by the Chimera. For nearly a decade the aliens have been terraforming Earth to be like their home world. Now there’s a wormhole thingy over New York City, and you must travel there to save the whole damn world.
Capelli is a family man, and while helping to defend his home in Haven, OK he is approached by Dr. Malikov to escort the scientist to NYC in an effort to close the wormhole. Insomniac does a decent job of giving the decision to leave his family some gravitas when Capelli refuses, but is encouraged to leave by his wife. Knowing that he may have only this one last opportunity to give his son a chance at freedom from the Chimera, Capelli reluctantly accepts the mission.
The personal story is there only to give you a reason to believe Capelli would leave his family. Other than that, it’s forgotten for the bulk of the game. The true story comes as you hit each section of the game and engage with the pockets of human survivors. There are precious few people around, and most are just trying to survive. War is horrific, and Resistance 3 showcases that more than any other shooter of this generation.
The game controls with amazing fluidity and precision. There’s nothing floaty or odd about how each weapon handles. Speaking of which, not since Halo let me get my hands on some incredible alien weapons have I been so enamored with an arsenal. From the Auger, that lets you shoot through objects, to the trusty Bullseye there’s a weapon for all occasions. The automatic upgrading system works behind the scenes, freeing you to enjoy all of your enhancements without ever having to leave the fight to equip what’s needed. One moment you’re shotgunning Chimera faces, and then with a flourish you begin lighting them on fire with flaming shotgun blasts. No muss, no fuss.
Rather than give you a weapon here and there, Resistance 3 lets you have a full cache of weapons from early on. In later chapters you’ll find yourself running out of ammo if you’re not utilizing what might be the “perfect” weapon of choice. It’s an ingenious little trick, and far superior to the tactic of depriving the player of all the goodies they’ve acquired along the way. Although there is a short section of the Metroid style go find your stolen weapons level, it’s quickly dispatched.
Resistance 3 plays fantastically, and the varied atmosphere keeps the game fresh. You’ll do the escort missions, the epic boss battles, the creeping through tunnels in the dark levels, and never tire of playing. Insomniac keeps the gameplay fresh by changing up the style at the right moment time and time again. From a winter wasteland NYC to uber creepy towns crawling with Grims jumping out and scaring you (after which they invariably get an incendiary round from the Rossmore to the chest) you’ll always be looking forward to what Resistance 3 will throw at you next.
Unfortunately the game is a little short, and the ending – which I’ll not spoil – leaves a lot to be desired. As someone who has never played through an entire Resistance game I was pleasantly surprised at how easy part 3 was to pick up. This feels like a reboot more than part of a trilogy. Whether you’re new to the series, or a long time fan, Resistance 3 is a worthwhile kickoff to the fall gaming season.
Number of Players: 1 to 16 (online multiplayer)
ESRB Rating: Mature
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: September 6, 2011