Resistance seems to have got itself a reputation as the marmite of current generation first person shooters, whilst many defend the titles place in a strong line-up others pass it by as yet another insignificant shooter appearing between the Halos and Killzones. Personally, I have large complaints with the previous titles in this franchise, from nightmarish difficulty balance spikes to lacking key gameplay options such as taking a campaign from co-op to single player (or in the case of Resistance 2 having no campaign co-op at all). Thankfully developers Insomniac Games have seemingly stepped up their game considerably for Resistance 3, with what is easily the best in the series to date.
Having said farewell to prior protagonist Nathan Hale the new face on the block is Joseph Capelli, a character very familiar to players of the past Resistance series. Capelli is going about his daily business trying to live a mundane life with his wife and son when Doctor Fyodor Milkov lands in his lap, with the Chimera hot on his tale. Keen to have a word with Capelli the Doctor reveals of a plan to stop the Chimera once and for all, by destroying a tower located in New York City. And so begins your grand adventure, for New York City happens to be a few hundred miles away, with countless thousand Chimera units standing in your way.
It’s not the most original story and it often gets lost in the sea of continual battles against the Chimera, but thanks to the sheer intensity of most fire fights along with continual variety from one encounter to the next the gameplay shines through. From fighting upon a fleeing train, standing your ground against waves of unrelenting enemies in dank sewers or even taking a hammer to escaped inmates, the combat is given a lease of life and a fast new tempo every time repetition rears its ugly head.
The series itself has seen various large tweaks and changes throughout it development and it looks to have finally settled on solid. The health system from the original has triumphantly returned, as has the weapon wheel. There are also a handful of welcome new additions, most of which being the weapon levelling system that’ll improve and upgrade your weapons the more that you use them. The majority of weapons at hand are those brought from past instalments (including that blasted shoot through walls Auger), and a few new additions such as the Deadeye sniper rifle and chemically charged Mutator firing bulbous cysts upon your enemies.
Co-op also make a triumphant return, not only allowing you to run a separate co-op campaign (as with the first) but with jump in and out support between both solo and co-op so there’s never any reason to take a break. As with most action based first person shooters, the action is far more enthralling when experienced with another, so the return of co-op is a no brainer that only supports and elevates the action and chaos for you and a friend.
Resistance has been known for its sporadic difficulty spikes, from moments of leisure to pad crushing fire fights that makes the A.I. seem like big dirty cheaters. More often than not this typically comes down to awkward level design coupled with enemies that can fire through walls (damn you Auger) or fly/jump over blocked terrain and swamp you with damage. Thankfully the balance between one encounter to the next has been smoothed out and transitions well, and whilst the action is still full throttle, normal difficult now feels fitting.
Outside of the campaign mode there is multiplayer over PSN, with 7 game modes available covering fan favourites; from deathmatch to objective based modes such as territory control and capture the flag. As you progress through the ranks online you can customise your character to an unlocked player skin, weaponry and even multiple perks in the form of abilities are at your disposal. Alongside the multiplayer offerings come leaderboards across all modes, player statistics and even trophy tracking, a trend that thankfully seems to be gaining in popularity.
Graphically the series has jumped from strength to strength, moving from brown with more brown to full high definition real to life actual colour. Having an almost cartoon shading style Resistance 3 is by far the most vibrant and stylised of the series, which ultimately brings the environments to life aiding immersion greatly. This is aided even further by the heavy use of particle effects from guns charged with pulsing energy to the constant explosions of grenades and explosive pods littering the environments. Particularly pleasant are the characters that once again appearing almost cartoon like in their colouring, with distinct facial features to make key characters stand out from a crowd. It’s not the technical marvel that is Killzone but it certainly progressed to a level where it’s no longer the belittled ugly duckling alongside the PS3’s various supermodels.
Audio has equally been stepped up, with superb background tracks to keep tension at an all-time high, triggering to let you know when to panic and run for the nearest cover. Weapons also sound fantastic, particularly the new weaponry coupled with the constant surrounding gun fire and explosions, coming together with the tension inducing backing track to bring the fire fight to life. The voice work maintains this standard, working with the art style to develop unique personalities for each core character.
As touched upon in the introduction, Resistance has always appeared to be the marmite game series, however, Resistance 3 is a considerable step up for the series and results in a game that should suit every gamers tastes.