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Resistance 3
Score: 86%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Insomniac Games
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 2; 2 - 16 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Action

Graphics & Sound:
I think Resistance 3 is a game that may manage to slip under a few player's radars. As a first-party property, it enjoys a certain level of marketing, but it is just that time of the year when all of the big guns are launched before the busy holiday season. There may be bigger, more appealing guns on the market, but Resistance 3 isn't something to be overlooked.

Once again, Insomniac has done a masterful job at world-building. As you make your way across the US, you'll see loads of interesting places and get a real sense for what life is like for the few who managed to survive the Chimeran onslaught. It's a bleak place filled with grays, browns and some of the most depressing greens and blues you'll encounter in a game.

As good a job as the game does at building atmosphere, the world doesn't feel as grounded as past games. You'll stumble upon a few well-known landmarks, but areas eventually blend together. One run-down city begins to look like the other. There's enough variety to keep you interested, but not enough to really help the game stand out.

Audio, on the other hand, is a knockout. At any given moment, there's a whole lot going on in the background. Even when you're so caught up in the game you can't think of anything else, the soundtrack keeps plugging away, filling in the silent gaps between weapon fire.


Gameplay:
Opening acts don't get any more dire than what Resistance 3 throws at players. The opening, which recaps the Chimeran invasion from the first game until now, shows humanity's last gasp as alien forces overrun most of the world. Series' protagonist Nathan Hale is out and replaced with Joseph Capelli, the man who killed Hale at the end of the Resistance 2. Capelli's actions see him dishonorably discharged from service, ejecting him to the life of a scavenger in the survivor holdout community of Haven, Oklahoma.

While the first few levels make it clear life in Haven doesn't lack excitement, Capelli is eventually handed the task of heading to New York in order to shut down an antenna that is helping the Chimera enter Earth. The antenna is also causing the Earth to slowly freeze, so time is of the essence.

Resistance 3's plot slips and slides between excellent and hammy. For everything it does right, such as a harrowing night mission where Capelli needs to outwit Chimeran snipers, there's an overly clichéd element tossed in that kills momentum. I could have done without the over-played "kid is sick" plot point, or a couple of other predictable elements. Capelli's adventure makes for a satisfying 10-or so hours and offers a neat glimpse of life after the invasion, though there are moments that drag.

You can tackle Capelli's mission with a friend via split-screen or online co-op. Although it made for an interesting experience, I wasn't incredibly impressed with the co-op variant. I've never been a fan of split-screen play, and Resistance 3 did little to sway my opinion. Online is cool if you have a friend you can snag, though otherwise you can't randomly grab someone - so players without online friends will either have to endure split-screen or skip co-op entirely.

I didn't expect to enjoy multiplayer as much as I did. Although it doesn't compare to Call of Duty in intensity, online play is still a lot of fun. Games allow for up to 16 players and include standard play types (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, ... you know the story by now). Though nothing spectacular by any means, the combination of the series' stable of weapons and perks elevate games in ridiculous ways. Similar to the Campaign, the multiplayer experience feels like a high-powered, "big" adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones or The Rocketeer. It is instantly approachable and open enough that even players who are jumping on the servers for the first time can stand against veterans.

Multiplayer is not without its snags. Though balanced, matches lack the same level of excitement found in other competitive shooters. The experience is, for lack of a better term, relaxing. This is great for players who avoid multiplayer shooters because of the intensity, but may bore players in the audience in search of a more competitive experience.

Maps aren't as interesting either and, based on my experiences, seem crammed with camp spots and ambush points. I like the flow of some maps, but others aren't much fun.


Difficulty:
Resistance 3 is a slight paradox. It is hard, yet still easy. I can't recall dying much, if any, though I remember lots of harrowing experiences where I frantically ran through levels in search of a health pack to keep me going a little longer. Recharging health has been completely tossed out in favor of health packs. This is the best thing for the game; it brings back some of Resistance 2's missing excitement, but helps support the game's tone. Capelli is a normal guy, not a power-infused superhero. He's frail and is attempting to survive against extraordinary odds. It's a great feeling.

I can also recall searching the area for ammo. You'll have to use every weapon in your arsenal to survive, though you're provided with enough ammo to have fun using the weapons. You may want a few more shots with more of the more powerful weapons, but I like the balance and the pseudo-survival horror sense it provided.


Game Mechanics:
From the very beginning, Resistance has always been about the guns. The focus was always on delivering a top-flight FPS, but the real fun was seeing the sort of guns Insomniac packed into each game. While other games in the genre focus on "realism," Resistance went for the something bigger and more fun. For me, the series has always felt like a first-person Ratchet & Clank and Resistance 3 carries the torch on admirably.

A couple of guns, like the Bullseye and Auger, make their way from past games and should be instantly familiar in the hands of players. Resistance 3 also tosses in a few new toys to play with such as the Deadeye, a sniper rifle, and Mutator, a patchwork cannon that shoots gobs of Chimera gook capable of instantly turning enemies into living biological weapons. Each weapon comes equipped with a secondary fire mode, like the Magnum's exploding bullets or Mutator's toxic mist. Additionally, weapons gain experience through use, adding new stats and functionality.

I had my favorite stand-by weapons, but ended up using every weapon in my arsenal during battles. Ammo isn't scarce, but I wouldn't say I was rolling in the bullets either. This is especially true for each gun's alternate fire modes. It is tempting to hit a group of enemies with a powerful blast from the Rossmore's concussion blast, but doing so without reason is a great way to ensure you won't have it the very moment you need it.

Weapons are responsible and handle well. I had to make a few adjustments early on, but after the first mission had no problem flipping between weapons and hitting the mark with my shots. I even had a good time when using PlayStation Move, which took me by surprise. I wasn't able to try the game with the Sharpshooter peripheral, so I imagine the experience is different, though I had little trouble getting around levels and pointing at enemies to aim rather than using the analog stick. It's certainly an easier way to aim, though it takes adjustment if you aren't already used to the scheme.

Resistance 3 runs into a couple of technical hiccups. First off, you'll need to download two sizable patches before you're able to play. It delays playtime for a few minutes, but isn't a horrible wait. I ended up using the download and install time to take care of a quick errand -- so getting to play Resistance 3 after that was a nice reward. The game also froze on me at least twice, usually right before a cutscene played.

Resistance 3 isn't my favorite game in the series, but its an enjoyable game and should have a place in every PlayStation 3 owner's library. It's the game equivalent of a big summer movie. What it lacks in finesse, it makes up for in enjoyment and the guarantee you'll have fun each time you give it a spin.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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