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Review - Resistance 3

Discussion in 'Gaming Reviews' started by Millsy, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. [/youtube]

    The design principle of Resistance 2, seemingly, was escalation rather than careful iteration. Escalation of scale and difficulty without refinement or balance, descending into set-piece gazing, its monstrous bosses dislocating you from the spectacle when you should be centre stage. Resistance 3 presses the reset button on the previous game’s excesses and the delete button on Nathan Hale’s two-game narrative. With him out of the picture, you’re now in the shoes of a much more average Joe. New protagonist Joseph Capelli (Hale’s executioner) is a family man first and a fighter second, reluctantly on a trans-American mission to end the Chimeran assault at the heart of New York. We first find our hero hiding out in the wilds of Oklahoma with a ragtag bunch of survivors who frequent the halls of a crumbling underground abode, quipping as you pass and getting on with the daily grind. It’s an atmospheric piece of scene setting that’s more nuanced and delicate than the series has ever previously demonstrated. It’s also the most quietude the game offers: soon after, you’re plunged into an adrenaline-charged showdown across some picture-perfect wind-swept autumnal streets before setting off on your travels.

    Resistance 3 doesn’t pause for breath; it takes in all of the traditional FPS scenarios – counter-sniping in the dead of night, escort missions and a spot of on-rails warfare – and throws as many weapon-based variables at them as it can summon up. Not all of Insomniac’s ideas bear fruit, but there’s enough verve to the set-pieces and fire in the game’s belly to excuse some of the missteps along the way. Boss battles are few and far between, the game focused more on quickfire engagements that demand constant consideration for the holy trinity of health, ammo and environment. It’s not Bungie-level strategy, but there’s a much more precise art to survival in Resistance 3 than the point-and-shoot procedures that defined its predecessor. You’ll die many times approaching a fight with the wrong attitude, so finding cover and exploiting flanking are essential considerations, the multi-tiered environments offering plenty of opportunity for seizing a tactical advantage, and the transition from detailed interiors to vast open expanses showing off Insomniac’s proprietary engine at its zenith. There’s little visual repetition in the game’s eight- to ten-hour campaign.

    New guns come as thick and fast as the Chimera, and are the true stars of the show. While always inventive, Insomniac had previously struggled to find the perfect pacing to match its armoury. Here, there’s a fine art to picking out the weapons you take into the thick of it (all selected by a pause menu rather than managed on the fly, providing a welcome break for air). No sooner have you got to grips with the Auger’s X-ray shooting than you’re rattling off rounds with the Marksman, a whopper of a rifle, popping Chimera mid-flight like clay pigeons. While the gimmickry of the Chimera tech – from jetpacks to shield drones that need offing before their fleshy companions can be killed – makes the action kinetic, it can’t compensate for the AI’s incompetence. Enemies charge you down like bulls or choose open spaces from which to attack, the Chimera’s war philosophy favouring brawn over brain. But the few boss battles that are dotted through the campaign are much breezier and more animated affairs than before, a number involving some inspired destructible scenery, which goes some way to countering the shoot-the-red-bit grindwork.

    For all its ideas, Resistance 3 remains staunchly old-fashioned, rejecting many tricks of the current FPS trade (you won’t find rechargeable health or a limit on how many weapons you can carry here, though there is a two-weapon swap system) to remain true to more well-trodden paths. There’s a distinct sense of a developer playing to its own strengths and having fun with it; aware of its own ability and keen not to overstretch itself. Secondary fire is clearly one of Insomniac’s passions, and this opportunity to vent the science-fiction lunacy that has come to define the developer’s oeuvre, whether it’s the Magnum’s detonation rounds or the Bullseye’s triple lock-on, delivers new, more elaborate way to play with fire.

    Playing to the studio’s strengths also means that there’s little narrative depth to Joseph Capelli’s story. Dialogue is minimal and infrequent – reserved mostly for characters’ monologues – as Insomniac tells its story visually, with rich environments and detailed, evocative set-dressing. In the thick of a brutal showdown it’s encouraging to see a developer putting thought into the way its civilisation has been torn down around you, the memories of past tenants, old hangouts heavy in the air. If the team has learnt from other FPSes, it’s obviously the fragile, threatened worlds of Metro 2033 and Half-Life 2, games that harness their worlds to carry story

    In a bid to avoid monotony, Insomniac introduces a human opponent to the final third of the game with an excursion into a Mad Max-style world of rebels, set in an overrun prison, that drastically alters the tone of the campaign. It’s a distracting interlude and in its more grotesque and humanised brutality feels disjointed from the rest of the game. While initially an odd atmospheric tangent to the rest of the campaign, however, it succeeds in adding to the overall sense of fallen man that inhabits Resistance 3’s world. This is the bleakest and loneliest entry in the franchise, a simple man-on-a-mission story imbued with a sense of desperation and futility. When you eventually reach New York to find it frozen, decrepit and infested with Chimera warriors and tech, the sense is that you’re at the apex of the story that Insomniac has wanted to tell from the beginning of the series in 2006.

    Multiplayer has been scaled down considerably since Resistance 2’s 60-player warfare, with maps now much tighter and more intimate to accommodate the lowered maximum headcount of 16 players. It offers a solid, if uninspired, set of areas that largely recycle the assets and locales of the campaign (a map set in Glamorgan, Wales, provides some of the best design with its outhouses and mixture of high and low vantage points). When you’ve amassed a range of upgraded weapons, deathmatches are heady, delirious affairs: at once unpredictable, outlandish and hilarious. It’s when you’re starting out with a bare-bones set of weapons and XP that it feels like a grind as you’re pummelled by overpowered opposition. Small maps for up to four players provide some high points, cordoning off a number of the campaign’s highlight areas in which to rain hell. The eight-vs-eight matches are, of course, much more lively, but can feel imbalanced as the many variables Insomniac introduces – regularly awarded for kill streaks – offer some unfair advantages to players already at the top of their game. With such an obvious level of restraint in Resistance 3’s singleplayer offering, the team has clearly been able to relax creatively in multiplayer, giving the experience a unique identity of its own that’s more vibrant, and even more violent, than its campaign counterpart. It’s no COD killer, but the range of collectibles and customisations, unlocked through the now-standard XP ladder, provides a good amount of longevity.

    The campaign can be played co-operatively in its entirety, but tackling it in this way detracts from the experience, damaging the man-on-a-mission intimacy of the journey. Resistance 2’s decision to reserve a separate chunk of story for two players provided a much more tailored scenario; here it feels shoehorned in. It serves only to highlight that Resistance 3 is best experienced by a lone player, running the Chimera gauntlet and discovering the game’s often crazy charms as your weapons chew a path to the conclusion.

    Resistance 3’s variety of enemies and their multi-tiered, multi-directional assaults (particularly in the final stretch) means that making use of its PlayStation Move compatibility can be a tricky, cumbersome way to go about your business. As with Zipper Interactive’s SOCOM: Special Forces, using the Move setup ultimately proves to be the least convenient way to play, providing little beyond novelty. Aiming down your weapon’s sights should be where Move excels but instead the clunky calibration hampers the experience.

    Resistance 3’s strict linearity and hand-holding add up to an experience that feels like a dash through a film set, but the movie in question has enough charisma to make it worth seeing, with a new creature around every corner and a new weapon with which to dispatch it around the next. From the beginning of the series Insomniac pitched its design tent somewhere between B-movie cliché and heavyweight FPS contender, and those two polarities go hand in hand here, the result being an energetic, if disposable, adventure. It lacks the connective tissue to join its bite-size skirmishes into a seamless epic, but as a lightweight pick-up-and-play romp, Resistance 3 is hard to resist. [7]
    #1 Millsy, Sep 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2014
  2. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Did you write this??
  3. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Excellent review ... I'm gonna request it from Santa.
  4. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Good review that! VGF certainly needs more like it.
  5. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Its Edge's Review of the game.


    Is VGF a forum where you want user-written reviews, or a sort of "new-desK" updates from other sites etc? Just thought I'd ask cos I believe there's a case for either or both.
  6. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Millsy writes for edge, don't ya mate? ;)
  7. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Of course I wrote it, errrr honest.
  8. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    Definately Milky, any input or reviews would be most welcome.

    The review is from Edge, it was part of a quick test for something nice we are working on
  9. Re: Resistance 3 Review

    What's being worked on then?

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