Video Game Review: Bring Fight Home With Stellar ‘Resistance 3’

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CHICAGO – Sony’s “Resistance 3” is as adrenalin-pumping an experience Playstation 3 players could possibly have this year and the perfect way to kick off what could be the most-crowded and beloved gaming seasons in the history of the console. Some generic level design is disappointing but your heart will be pumping too hard to care or complain. Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0
Video Game Rating: 4.0/5.0

Intense is a word too often used to describe video games. For every “Dead Space 2” (an honestly riveting experience) there are a few games like “Resistance 3,” titles that mistake action for intensity. You can’t just throw enemies at the player, give them a few weapons, and expect the experience to be engaging. It takes more than that. It takes interesting storytelling and, in a game like “Resistance 3,” it takes the illusion of player control over the chaos. No one wants to feel like they’re in a predetermined firefight. That drains the suspense. It’s the games that feel like your quick decisions (which cover to take, which weapon to use) and your hand-eye coordination will determine if you live or die. “Resistance 3” has some flaws, but it is a visceral experience, one that puts you right in the action and dares you to shoot your way out.

Resistance 3
Resistance 3
Photo credit: SCEA

And shoot you will. And shoot. And shoot. Like a lot of Insomniac Games, “Resistance 3” places an emphasis on spectacular, destructive weaponry. If you like games that allow you a variety of firepower, “Resistance 3” is for you. Like “Dead Space” or the “Ratchet” games, each player will have their favorites but the weapons are upgraded not through a purchase or XP system but through usage. In other words, the more you use a gun, the more powerful it gets. My personal favorites were the Rossmore Shotgun, the Marksman, and the Bullseye (which has a tag system that allows you to shoot around cover), but you’ll have to put most of the weapons into play at one point or another from standards like a wicked rocket launcher called the Wildfire to more sci-fi junk like the Atomizer, which has a secondary function that truly comes in handy.

Resistance 3
Resistance 3
Photo credit: SCEA

And what are you shooting AT? Chimera, of course. “Resistance 3” features a new hero, but it’s yet another man thrown into a nightmare situation. The Chimeran infestation of the Earth has gotten worse. The remaining people have gone mostly underground, hiding out in small groups in heavily-armed camps. Some of the most striking moments in the storytelling of “Resistance 3” feature people in rundown homes, lit only by candles, trying to keep some semblance of humanity. This is what you’re fighting for. These are the people behind the Resistance.

You play Capelli and the game opens in Oklahoma with your family. You’re quickly forced to evacuate and decide to go with Doctor Malikov to New York to try and stop the Chimera. Naturally, travel is not easy in the “Resistance” universe and one of the game’s most clever aspects is the impression of travel. In one of the most remarkable chapters, you’re on a boat above a submerged, infested city. At another point, you’re on a train, fighting off enemy soldiers. “Resistance 3” definitely gives the player the impression of movement from city to city, trying to reach the wormhole and stop the war against the Chimera.

The single-player campaign of “Resistance 3” not only contains some of the most intense action of the year but some of the most visually-captivating sequences. Blowing snow across rubble-strewn cities, lapping waves in the aforementioned boat chapter, a train tunnel filled with deadly creatures, a pitch-black house that will give you nightmares — these are some of the most impressive graphics of the year, enhanced by cut scenes that are expertly written and executed. “Resistance 3” is an engaging story, something not often seen in shooter games in 2011.

Resistance 3
Resistance 3
Photo credit: SCEA

Having said that, it could have been more so. There are times when “Resistance 3” definitely has that pre-scripted vibe — enter a room, clear it of enemies, move on. There were a few too many “survive the attack” chapters although they’re off-set by the ones that feel more inventive and personally driven. I do wish that a game this impressive had less chapters that weren’t so obviously structured with one-path that opens as enemies are cleared, but it does create a drive to the game that’s necessary. There’s no time for exploration or open-world mechanics when it’s time to save the world. And I will say that most of the enemy encounters have that in-the-moment sensation in that your weapon choice, your decision who to shoot first, your option of where to run for cover, and more determine the outcome.

As for enemy A.I., it’s good not great. It can be a bit inconsistent at times in that some enemies spotted me from half a mile away while others waited for me to shoot them point blank. Still, others flank and work together in effective, impressive ways. As for enemy variety, there are only a few soldier-level types to kill plus a few major bosses. I wanted a bit more diversity in my enemies but the game moves so quickly that it’s only really a complaint in hindsight.

The riveting single-player campaign is reason enough to buy “Resistance 3” but there’s a deep, fun multi-player system as well. It’s very reminiscent of “Call of Duty” but what matters the most to me in MP criticism is simple — map design. Do you enjoy the maps? Is there a wide enough variety of them? Are they memorable? Yes, yes, and yes. With the number of amazing MP games coming soon, I can’t imagine it will be too crowded in the world of “Resistance 3” but it’s a fun arena for MP fans and I plan to revisit it. One note: Matchmaking is kind of annoying. Leveling up in this game allows some MAJOR perks and lower-level multi-player fans should plan to get absolutely pwned for hours before they can really compete.

I’ve played a lot of lackluster shooters in 2011 and it’s refreshing to experience a game as expertly-made as “Resistance 3.” There are flaws but it doesn’t change the fact that this is a game made by people who love and adore this franchise and its fans. It’s not an easy cash-in. It’s a development in one of Sony’s greatest hits. Everyone who owns a PS3 should check it out.

“Resistance 3” was developed by Insomniac Games and released by Sony. It was released on September 6th, 2011 and is rated M (Mature). The title is exclusive to the PS3. content director Brian Tallerico

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