Just as the Summer Movie Rush comes to a close, the Fall Game Rush begins. Last week, we had nothing short of four promising releases, including Deus Ex, Dead Island, and War Hammer: Space Marines. In perspective, this is just the calm before the storm when we’ll get the even bigger releases later this year, including Batman Arkham City, Skyrim, Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword (which finally has a release date, thank god) Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Battlefield 3 (is it just me, or are there a lot of 3’s this year?) Now, I’ve come to notice that I haven’t played a good FPS for quite a while, not since Bulletstorm back in February. So, to begin the Fall Game Rush, I have chosen the latest installment of Insomniac Game’s alternate history sci-fi piece. This is Resistance 3.
Quick rundown: Resistance, Fall of Man released with the system launch back in 2006 and was quickly hailed as the Best PS3 Launch Title (which I guess is just the nicer way of saying “Only Good Launch Title”). Two years later when I bought the system myself at an acceptable price, I played Resistance and generally liked it. The controls took some getting use to, but the aliens looked scary, and the weapons were creative in a way only Insomniac could deliver (these are the guys who made Ratchet and Clank after all). Resistance 2 then came out, and I played that. The controls and the graphics improved, there were quite a few really awesome boss fights, but I missed a lot of the weapons, and the ending scene in particular was a real killjoy.
Now that I have completed my first run of the campaign for Resistance 3, I am pleased to say that it takes the best elements of each of the first two games, fine-tunes them, and manages to create something that succeeds on being both a serious drama and a whimsical shoot-em-up.
So this is how history really went down. August 1957, the US and pretty much everywhere else on Earth is all but lost to the Chimera. In fact, the Chimera are so dominant over the planet, that some of them have even evolved to feral inbred monsters that their own race can’t even control. We’re reintroduced to Joseph Capelli, whom you might remember as Sergeant Nathan Hale’s bulky short-tempered NPC partner with crappy AI. Well, four years after being discharged for dishonorable conduct (I.E. killing off the series’ main protagonist… its complicated), Joe has lost quite a bit of weight and is hiding underground Oklahoma with a small group of survivors, including his own wife and child. A bit of good news is that Dr. Malicov has succeeded in synthesizing an antidote to the chimera infection from Hale’s blood. So now, not only Joe, but all remaining humans are immune to the chimera virus.
That still doesn’t solve the tiny little problem of the chimera kind of already owning the planet. But wait, it gets better. Dr. Mal wants Joe to join him on a road trip to New York to attempt one last all-or-nothing mission to destroy the Chimera’s massive wormhole device, thus stopping their hostile takeover of the planet in its tracks. Joe’s wife, still wanting to believe there’s hope, tells him to go. And thus our road trip through the Hybrid infested planet from Oklahoma to New York begins.
All right, place your bets! Who is going to die? Will it be…
- A. The Wife
- B. The Son
- C. The Scientist
- D. The Reminant Leader guy who looks sort of like 50’s Nathan Drake.
- E. The Pilot
- F. The Priest/train repair man.
- G. The guy who helps you escape the bandit’s prison.
- H. Hell, Joe himself, why not? They killed off Hale in the last game.
All joking aside, these games have shown in the past that they are not afraid to kill people off, and you know at least one of the aforementioned above is going to buy it before the end. Just be ready for the conditions on said death may be far less predictable and more dramatically ironic than you might ever imagine.
Besides we all know who the real victims of these games are. Chimeras. Lots and lots of Chimera. And this time, we’ve added armored gorillas, hundred foot tall acid-spewing spiders, and grasshoppers to the hunting season, just to name a few.
What should be one of the biggest selling points for Resistance 3 is that it happens to have lots of old school FPS mechanics. Remember when Duke Nukem Forever promised to be a blast from the past, but then ended up playing like a shallow knock-off of every modern shooter of the last ten years? That game was more like “old-new school.” Not the case for Resistance 3, which is “new-old school,” if that makes any sense.
For instance, because Joe is now cured of the chimera virus, he no longer has his healing factor. That means no regenerating health. This is a game for survival, where you have to rely on finding health packs to keep yourself alive. Trust me, it makes the game that much more challenging, but I like it. It’s another reason to be aware of your surroundings and explore the terrain you have to work with.
Then there’s the guns. The weapon wheel is back, allowing you to carry all your guns at once. 12 Weapons in total. Each of which (except for the melee weapon) has a secondary function, not to mention two level upgrades, (an excellent reward for players who mix it up). The people at Insomniac are the geniuses behind Ratchet and Clank, which I still hold to have the greatest weapon system in any video game ever made, and Resistance 3 definitely follows close behind. I could go on forever about the weapons: The Bullseye, an alien machine gun that tags opponents and immediately locks onto them (real helpful against those pesky leapers) the Auger, which sees and even shoots through walls, the Magnum with exploding rounds, a Rosemore Shotgun that lights enemies on fire, an electric gun, an ice gun, the list goes on.
I apologize to our readers who are curious about the multiplayer, but since I have yet to delve into it I cannot comment heavily on it. Though I am aware the campaign can be played with two-player co-op, and the online experience is supposedly much more polished than Resistance 2, I don’t really see any of this taking that many players in the online crowd away from Call of Duty. I personally would be one willing to forgo online multiplayer entirely if it meant a longer, even better campaign, which in the end only rounded out to roughly eight hours long.
And therein lies probably this game’s biggest hurdle. At the end of the day, The Resistance Trilogy, as good as it may be, cannot compete with the massive onslaught of other shooter franchises that flood the Triple A market in this generation. Each year a Resistance game for the PS3 has come out, their prime competitor has been a Gears of War game for the 360 that same month. In both the last two instances, Resistance was clearly outmatched in sales, and I really don’t see a difference happening this time when Gears 3 comes out in a few weeks. A shame, because I honestly think this franchise is a ton more original than its first impression lets on. Yes, it’s another sci-fi shooter, but it’s an alternate history piece at the same time. The protagonists aren’t power-armored space marines flying into war. They’re just normal people doing their best to survive. The alien weapons actually feel alien. The human weapons aren’t made-up futuristic technology BS, but are actually very rational for the time period (like the improvised shrapnel grenades, which were a nice touch). The story is well written, the characters are decent, the aliens are well designed, and most of all, it’s fun. Fun enough to make me want to play the campaign all over agian just to level up all my guns.
Before I end, I would like to congratulate Insomniac Games on completing not just the first, but the FIRST TWO fully realized trilogies on the PS3. The Ratchet and Clank Future Trilogy was first (including Tools of Destruction, Quest of Booty, and A Crack in Time.) and now the three Resistance games are second. It is without a doubt incredible that a single company has managed to put out quality material nearly every single year of the console’s existence since 2006. Last year was the only exception, and then they made up for it by giving us TWO games this year. (Ratchet and Clank All 4 One set to release this October). At this point, after all the work Insomniac has done for Sony for the past 16 years, I say they are more than justified in their decision to finally go multi platform and share talents among other consoles. Which is exactly what Insomniac plans to do with their next big franchise, Overstrike.
Keep an eye out for that one to turn a few heads, next year.