Resistance 3 Review - September 9th 2011

After a somewhat lacklustre second instalment, Insomniac Games have steered their Sony exclusive FPS franchise back on track with the release of Resistance 3.

End of the world scenarios are the bread and butter of video game shooters. They offer an irresistible invitation for you to fight "x" to save "y". They tend to come with ample supplies of macho one-liners (Gears, Halo, lots of others) and every now and then, genuinely earnest storytelling. After being thwarted twice in a row by a heroic and now very dead Nathan Hale, the Chimera are in a predictably foul mood. They're back with a vengeance and a dastardly global terraforming agenda, with plans for total world domination also on the cards. As Joseph Capelli, you lead the remaining human population in the struggle to fight back against the vast occupying forces.

So far, so generic, but at least this time you're given a reason to fight. Capelli is tasked with travelling to New York to disable a key piece of Chimeran tech, but he's a family man with a wife and son. He has to leave them behind, to fend for themselves, while he takes on a potentially fatal mission. To say that this is a risky move would be an understatement. The more emotive, personal approach to the storytelling here does a better job of upping the stakes than if "bigger bosses! smarter enemies!" were the only things advertised on the back of the box.

Enemy A.I. has been drastically improved.

Unlike Hale's straight up military background, Capelli is a father first, and a soldier second. Previous games in the series tended to leave any and all exposition to journal entries and throwaway lines of dialogue. They filled in the necessary background information for characters and past events. This is fine if all you're looking for is wall to wall action, but you can find that in any number of generic, copy and paste shooters. It's good that Insomniac have taken the time to develop the narrative a little more, and it helps to emphasise the reasons why you're putting your neck on the line against seemingly impossible odds.

The opening of the game establishes that humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction. Almost straight away, you'll realise that although Resistance 3 is a fairly average looking game, the presentation is fantastic. In terms of art style, voice acting, and music, it's exceptionally well produced, and draws you into the world right from the get go. There's still some goofy lines here and there, and a couple of moments where things get a bit predictable. But for the most part, you'll want to press on through the campaign just to see how things turn out.

Why would you walk towards flaming wreckage?

The single player is quite fragmented, with a heavy reliance on cutscenes to mask loading times. Thankfully, the story is compelling enough to overlook this minor frustration. The controls and default sensitivity are solid, and because Insomniac have a real knack for making cool weapons, you'll be smiling in satisfaction more often than not. The Magnum is an absolute beast, with a laugh out loud secondary fire option that detonates any rounds that have come into contact with Chimeran flesh. The Bullseye returns in all its glory, with a shiny new HUD to compliment the always handy "bendy bullet" alternate mode. The Auger is equally effective (and another returning favourite), but the sniper rifle really is far too overpowered. I felt that this was the case in the multiplayer beta, and I feel the same here. It's fun to use, but unbalanced.

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