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.