GSY REVIEW | PS3 Tuesday, September 6, 2011 | 9:00 AM

Gamersyde Review: Resistance 3

Gamersyde Review: Resistance 3

Born with the launch of the Playstation 3, the Resistance series has never been truly considered as strong an IP as the other big exclusives of the console. It has probably little to do with the gameplay as it's always been pretty effective, but some reviewers nonetheless did not give the first two games such a warm welcome. Sales never suffered too much from it though, which is why Resistance 3 is about to land in the shops in just a week. To those who think that it probably does not deserve their attention, watch out, you might be missing one of the first hits of this end of year. Explanation inside.






Running after a chimera

Resistance 3 takes place four years after the end of the second episode, leaving the role of the main protagonist to Joseph Capelli, something quite obvious to those who completed the previous game. Determined to keep on living as normal a life as possible considering the situation, the new hero gets married and even becomes the father of a little boy. Not the perfect peaceful life you'd expect to raise a kid, but the small family still manages to feel a bit home with the other survivors they live with.

Unfortunately, as you've probably guessed, it is no time to relax; soon, all of them find themselves forced to flee because of the Chimeran threat. A threat which is in fact professor Malikov's fault, as he was followed on his quest to find Joe, the only man on earth capable of helping him. The old man is not particularly welcome there and Joe does not seem to be interested in what he has to say. How can we blame him when Malikov explains they must go to New York to prevent a terrible winter from killing all the remaining survivors in the US? A suicidal mission, not to say impossible. Of course, Joe finally accepts to follow him back East, but to find out why, you will have to play the game yourself. Then starts a long and difficult journey, an exhausting expedition whose success seems very unlikely right from the beginning.



Pièce de Resistance

Resistance 3's gameplay is unsurprisingly built around a succession of bravery moments going crescendo as you progress into the story. During the 7 to 8 hours of the campaign mode (in the normal difficulty setting), Joe will never stop encountering more and more impossible situations, going through the remnants of American towns, navigating the Mississippi river, surviving the danger of a forest at night or a crazy train ride, etc. If the environments Joe discovers are not particularly original, they are at least quite varied, each with their own atmosphere. Good news to those who miss the old days of first person shooters - back when life did not regenerate with time -, Resistance 3 forces you to be careful and be on the lookout for medkits. Staying in hiding is not enough to stay alive, so get ready to risk your life running in the middle of the battlefield because you often desperately need to fix you up before a Chimera takes you down for good.

The Resistance series has always been known for its crazy and inspired arsenal so it is no wonder Resistance 3 is no exception. There are in fact 12 different weapons, which, as you can imagine, are as effective as they are uncommon: some allow you to shoot through walls (a lot less fun when you are the target though), while others freeze your enemy to death; there are also tracing bullets or incendiary ones to play with, and a lot more! Using your weapons makes them gain experience and level up, which unlocks new deadlier functions. Gunfights are extremely dynamic, sometimes set in enclosed environments, sometimes in more open spaces to give you a bit more freedom of action. In some instances, you really feel like your back is up against the wall and that everything is just hopeless, which conveys the sense of uselessness one can have when faced with a desperate situation. Thankfully, the game always pushes you to go forward, even if that means it has to refill a bit your ammo should you have to restart at the last checkpoint.



A bit like Half Life², or more recently Metro 2033, Resistance 3 also gives you a little time to catch your breath with more atmospheric sequences where action is not key. These sequences are a lot more effective than what the mediocre Homefront tried to achieve, so you can actually sympathize with the survivors, feel their despair and sorrow as their only chance of survival is to stay hidden from the Chimeras and to fight back. Sometimes though, these breaks into the action do not take the form of quiet and peaceful scenes. Indeed, their function is also to keep you on your toes, to build up tension so you stay vigilant, as after all danger lurks around every corner. Never too long or boring, these passages are also completely part of the story, a story which always gives you the incentive to keep playing thanks to the combination of nice cutscenes and varied documents you find here and there (letters, audio recordings, etc).

The will to offer a rich and immersive universe probably explains why the shadow of Half Life² can be felt throughout the adventure. Some of the locations you go through remind of Valve's game, like for example the Insomniac version of Ravenholm or the mines infested with aggressive creatures. Also reminiscent of Half Life² are the yellow markings indicating resistance hideouts or the sentinels tracking down people to name but a few. Even the dropships seem to have a kind of family tie with the famous title from Valve. That being said, it never feels like the game is merely copying its peers. Moreover, it is hard not think of The Walking Dead (the comic book) when Joe finds himself confronted to men who have lost their humanity in the course of the invasion, making them even more dangerous than Chimeras. All in all, Resistance 3 is then a patchwork of many influences but it never loses Insomniac Games' personal touch. I think it is safe to say that the American developer has finally managed to give their universe a worthy game.



The path of least resistance is to play it solo

Resistance 2 featured a multiplayer mode where up to 60 participants could compete but things are a little different in the third installment of the franchise. As a matter of fact, Insomniac decided it would be best if the number of players did not exceed 16. Though it might seem like a regression on paper, what they had at heart was to make multiplayer less messy and more intense than ever before. Experience is of course important and the points you earn allow you to choose from different abilities and attributes. It then ensures you to be able to adapt your choices to your play style and create a totally versatile team with your friends.

The available maps will take you all around the world and not just in the US like the single player mode. You will then visit Europe, Africa, South America, etc. The size of the different maps makes games with less than 16 players interesting enough, with multiple paths to flank your enemies and good hiding places. That being said, they are also big enough to be enjoyable even when all slots have been taken. You will find the usual modes (deathmatch, capture the flag), but also the Breach mode which was already present in Fall of Man (consisting in working as a team to destroy the enemy's reactor). A bit more "original" is the Chain reaction mode asking you to take over several zones in order to open or close a wormhole. As proven to those who played the beta, Resitance's multiplayer is a lot of fun and should keep you busy for a good while.

Finally, a few words on the co-op mode which allows you to play through the whole campaign with a friend, local or online. Split screen games having become quite rare, we thought it would be something interesting to underline, even though it comes with a price. The game indeed looks a lot less impressive but it is still pretty decent overall. The main problem is the fact that the whole width of the screen is not used in order to keep the game's aspect ratio, which obviously affects visibility. For that reason, the best way to enjoy co-op is still to play online with a friend.



Technically irresistible?

When Ratchet & Clank was first released on Playstation 2, the guys at Insomniac were praised for the technical prowess they had delivered. Things have been a little different with the new generation with a bit more mixed feelings about their 3D engine. The migration of their famous platform game on PS3 went pretty well overall but one can't say people have been amazed by their work on the Resistance franchise so far. That's probably why players did not think much would change with the third installment. Big mistake, it is hard not to notice the overall improvement in the graphics department. Resistance 3's visuals look good, though they do not manage to catch up with Killzone 3 and Uncharted 2. Particles effects make the levels quite lively, with gusts of wind blowing dust and debris around deserted street corners, giving a hard time to the remaining trees. Lighting effects are also praiseworthy as they serve the different atmospheres very well.

Not everything is perfect though. There are still some poor textures to be seen, provided you really stick your nose on them. Aliasing may also be an issue for some but it did not bother me that much, especially considering that it's not all that visible depending on the chapter you're in. Animations also lack the smoothness of Killzone's and even look dated at times, like for example when Joe climbs up a ladder. The biggest disappointment comes with the framerate which is not as steady as it should. Slowdowns occur when attacked by a huge number of enemies, or when all hell breaks loose, but it is thankfully never detrimental to gameplay. As far as AI is concerned, there are a few oddities, like when a foe just stands still waiting to be shot – something that strangely happens a bit more when confronted to humans. In the end, minor details you tend to forget thanks to the rest of the package, like for example the very good soundtrack with high quality voice acting and amazing music.



Verdict


First excellent surprise of this end of year, Resistance 3 finally manages to become a PS3 exclusive worthy of its counterparts. Even though it is less lengthy than the previous episode's, the campaign mode is, by far, better paced, more spectacular and more exciting to play. It is also built on a crescendo that takes the player on an impressive roller-coaster ride. Mutliplayer and co-op add even more play time to the equation if the single player experience is not enough for you. Truth be told, I haven't had such a blast with a first person shooter in a long while, which is why I strongly advise you to give it a try. After all, Resistance 3 has no trouble besting Killzone 3 and other references of the genre in many departments.

Introduction
Cutscenes
Gunfights
Quiet times
Split screen co-op
Environments

All comments

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Commented on 2011-09-06 10:00:49
Lovely design work in this. I never had any interest in the first two, but they seem to have hit their stride third time.
Commented on 2011-09-06 10:04:52
I didn't like the first two R games. Never finished them and thought the games had some outdated mechanics and features. This R doesn't look like a whole new revolution but the atmosphere is somewhat better suiting to what I like in general when it comes to these type of sci-fi shooters. I may still not pick this R up at launch but will do so before the end of this years.
Commented on 2011-09-06 10:09:06 In reply to Cheboury
Juts for the record, I have never played the first two as they have never been appealing to me. I read a few things about the story before starting Resistance 3 and did not regret reviewing the game a single second. :)
Commented on 2011-09-06 10:19:37
I have played both Resistance games and I loved them because of the setting, music, atmosphere and the guns, and story was pretty fascinating.

After playing Resistance 3 beta, I am in love with the gunplay, its the best of all 3 IMO.
The multiplayer is leaps better than Resistance 2 (didnt play R1 MP).

So far everything I have seen from Resistance 3 videos, I am loving it, especially those snow levels (they are in MP as well!, looks amazing).
Graphics IMO looks great, it is sub-HD but what stands out is the art and atmosphere and the time setting being around 1950s-1960's (look at the environments video!)
Fantastic stuff.

What makes me love it is its not another sci fi marine shooter, its now about human survival, no army/soldier, thats something I would take any day than another dudebro soldier/army shooter. Though Joseph was a ex-black ops.

I also love the fact Insomniac added splitscreen to both online multiplayer and co-op campaign.
Me and my sister enjoyed the beta alot, so the MP is gonna be fun for us, no more taking turns lol.

Anyways, I want the game now!
1 more day!
Commented on 2011-09-06 11:14:19
Have played some RPGs ang MMORPGs on teh PC. Would be cool to try on the console. In my view this kinda compete with the Fallout series. Thiks could be a prequel to Fallout, meaning this is the war with focus on action, and Fallout a more slow beat focus on roleplaying.

Maybe sometime in the imaginary future, they could meet in a game where both joins in RPG heaven, lol? :D
 
Commented on 2011-09-06 11:17:25
I would hate Resistance if it turns out as Fallout, extremely boring (played New Vegas a bit).

But if it happens to be more like say, Borderlands or RAGE, oh yeah!
Commented on 2011-09-06 12:00:52
this game only looks good when you are sprinting
Commented on 2011-09-06 12:01:27 In reply to GangStarr
Posted by GangStarr
this game only looks good when you are sprinting
And looking around.
Commented on 2011-09-06 12:20:50 In reply to GangStarr
Posted by GangStarr
this game only looks good when you are sprinting
Are you wearing an eye patch by any chance? Or two?
Commented on 2011-09-06 14:08:44
great review
Commented on 2011-09-06 14:31:15
hopefully have this for thursday. shame about the length, but if it's better paced and better quality, then i guess i'll live
Commented on 2011-09-06 17:03:45
Nice videos. It is underrated game. SP should be good.
Commented on 2011-09-06 18:54:31
This looks much more like it. It will probably divide some fans i expect. those that were already split with R2. R3 seems more fully baked in Insomniacs oven and hopefully it will have decent sales to match- that split and Resitance's general reputation for not being all that great will probably prevent that i would say
Commented on 2011-09-06 19:47:16
review sounds more someone that has a nostalgia for H-L2 for some homage in this game, than resistance 3 strong points in its own merits.
God that game had a terrible pacing, been replaying it recently in tiny bits... the ammount of filler terrain to cover, it so boring.
Commented on 2011-09-06 19:48:41 In reply to nostradamus
What a surprising comment on your part. :D
Commented on 2011-09-06 19:53:51 In reply to Driftwood
Posted by Driftwood
What a surprising comment on your part. :D
well its true, sounds like you're reliving some memory of 2004. But i guess in the lack of previous resistance played, you had to make a point with something. (you played the others? the review doesn't make it clear)

And H-L2 is indeed overrated. Loved it back in the day, but make it a 10 hours game director's cut or something, as a 20 hour game with so much filler it tends to drag and go on boredom.
Commented on 2011-09-06 20:28:34
HL was much better paced than HL 2 in my opinion.

On topic, I am looking forward to this game, having played the two previous. Still I have the Witcher 2 and Deus Ex on my plate at the moment, and little money to spare...so I may have to pick it up further down the road
Commented on 2011-09-06 21:08:03
I left similar comment to Uncharted 3 video, but it's the better place to post it:

This game is not a peak of modern videogames industry. Neither is Uncharted or MGS or even Portal 2 with Deus Ex and L.A. Noire.
Modern computers and videogame consoles can run extremely great games, people just have to create them.

Just imagine, how much good non-existent games could be created for your gaming machine?

SPEND JUST 5 MINUTES (yes, right now, I believe, you have 5 free minutes), and let your imagination create the picture of the game of your dreams, the Perfect Game, that doesn't exist nowadays. Close your eyes and imagine the whole game.

Did you open your eyes? NOW the game exists. It already began its existence in this world and currently it is in your head. And you have all the instruments to copy it from your head to your computer (and then to all of us). Right here, right now.
Commented on 2011-09-06 21:15:45
Best looking game on the consoles.
WOW that blew me away that PS3 was capable of that
Commented on 2011-09-06 21:52:23 In reply to newbielives
Posted by newbielives
Best looking game on the consoles.
WOW that blew me away that PS3 was capable of that
yep, a extremly sub-HD 960x704 resolution is the epytome of console gaming, how have you spoiled us Insomniac with your tech wizardry. *laughs at pc underlings*

smh.
Commented on 2011-09-06 21:56:29 In reply to thdithdi
Posted by thdithdi
SPEND JUST 5 MINUTES (yes, right now, I believe, you have 5 free minutes), and let your imagination create the picture of the game of your dreams, the Perfect Game, that doesn't exist nowadays. Close your eyes and imagine the whole game.

Did you open your eyes? NOW the game exists. It already began its existence in this world and currently it is in your head. And you have all the instruments to copy it from your head to your computer (and then to all of us). Right here, right now.
That has gotta be the most new age hippy BS i think i've ever read on a gaming forum...hahaha...wtf, really, where the hell did that even come from.
Commented on 2011-09-06 22:39:40
Loved the beta, my first Insomniac game! Gonna do some accounting work at dad's place to get some $$$ and hopefully buy this game with the new PS3 wireless headphones ~_~
Commented on 2011-09-06 22:45:23 In reply to Doom_Bringer
Posted by nostradamus
yep, a extremly sub-HD 960x704 resolution is the epytome of console gaming, how have you spoiled us Insomniac with your tech wizardry. *laughs at pc underlings*

smh.
Game was 720p native during reveal, but down the line it went down to sub-HD for some odd reason.

Thankfully, the art and atmosphere is amazing IMO.
Commented on 2011-09-07 00:01:33
still on the fence for this one ... may rent.
Commented on 2011-09-07 00:09:10
Great videos.
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