Resistance 3 Review
Developer: Insomniac Games
Platform: PlayStation 3
Reviewed on PlayStation 3
Humanity has lost. Our efforts to combat the alien Chimeran invasion (chronicled in Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2) has failed. Tiny pockets of humanity continue to try to scratch life out of the cold earth as the Chimera cool the planet to make life more comfortable for their high alien metabolisms. In a last ditch effort, Joseph Capelli must leave his family and their Oklahoma hideout to journey with Dr. Fyodor Malikov to the ruins of New York City to stop the Chimera for all time.
Resistance is useless! Resistance is hopeless! I'd really like to say something like that, but Resistance 3 is an excellent corridor shooter. While it is time for the Resistance franchise to draw to a close, Resistance 3 nicely wraps up the trilogy with exciting battles, spectacular backdrops, varied play, and a fascinating selection of weaponry that is the hallmark of Insomniac Games titles. The single-player campaign is a bit more polished than Resistance 2, happily bringing back the weapon wheel that allows players to select from a whole gamut of entertaining armaments. At least until the obligatory moment when you lose all your weapons and have to start over.
What Resistance 3 loses is the incredible cooperative multiplayer introduced in Resistance 2 that pitted a few well-armed humans in extended missions against Chimeran forces. Instead, there's a variety of competitive multiplayer modes that feel like they've been cloned from one of the dominant multiplayer shooters that currently hog the limelight. Continued play awards you by unlocking new armament configurations and more powerful weapons. But while the opportunity for growth is enough to lure some players to participate more fervently, it can also be a strong incentive to give up in the first few minutes of play. Sticking it out long enough to upgrade a shotgun made it a lot less frustrating, but mostly my early multiplayer encounters saw teams of experienced players bearing tons of upgrades camping my spawn and executing me simply because I logged in. So, multiplayer was fun, but lacked lasting power.
The campaign leaps from breathless moment to breathless moment, sometimes pitting the player against hordes of alien soldiers, occasionally throwing a gigantic boss battle into the mix, or randomly dropping the player into the darkness to face off against zombie-like throngs of infected creatures. Every conceivable trope and mission type is presented in polished style, from a first-person shooter to the on-rails train and boat sequences to base defense, undead assaults, and a brief stint in prison. But that's the problem. Although Resistance 3 is gorgeous (and plenty of fun to shoot through), it feels vaguely as if someone took whatever inspired the original game and ran it through an reductionist algorithm programmed to mutate it into the perfect shooter.
The weapon selection, however, elevates Resistance 3 beyond something generic to something exceptional. Insomniac Games has a talent for weapon design, and the guns have always been the highlight of the Resistance franchise. There are guns that shoot through walls, projectiles that home in on targets hiding behind obstacles, pistols that plug enemies with explosive rounds, and conventional weapons ranging from rifles to gigantic rockets. All can be upgraded through use, but my favorite by far was the Mutator. This brand new weapon could spray mutagenic ooze that induces vomiting, then transform enemies into exploding Chimeric hybrids. Good stuff.
I didn't use the Move accessory, although the game supports it, because it's just less fun and less accurate that using the conventional controller.
I don't want to suggest that Resistance 3 was free of dramatic moments. There was often serious tension, as when I was moving between cover points to avoid cloaked snipers. The environments were awe-inspiring, ranging from a flooded motel to a floating, alien ship anchoring a wormhole. When Resistance 3 started to feel generic, the weaponry is what pulled it back from the threshold. I still recommend Resistance 3 as a terrific amount of fun, but only as the conclusion to the trilogy.