Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Resistance 3 (PS3) Review

Let's get away from all of this Nintendo talk and prepare ourselves for Sony's announcements tonight at the Tokyo Game Show. To start off, I have a review of a game by Insomniac Games, Resistance 3, the fourth game in this incredible series. Does the conclusion of the trilogy satisfy? Let's find out with this SuperPhillip Central review.

Can You Resist Killing Some More Chimera?

The future of the planet Earth is bleak. What started as an airborne virus that came from outer space and penetrated the drinking water of Earth turned into a mass alien assault on humanity. Humans transformed into the ghastly beasts known as Chimera and their armies conquered Europe and a good portion of America. Developer Insomniac Games is known for pushing the limits of their hardware and creating tremendous games. Their latest effort is Resistance 3 where the war against the Chimera comes to its ultimate head. Who will win, who will lose, and who will survive is all up in the air.

You play as Joe Capelli, an NPC in the previous Resistance games, who has since the events of Resistance 2 has been dishonorably discharged even though he may have helped save the spread of the Chimera virus. Nathan Hale is dead, but his legacy lives on. His usefulness lives on as well. A strain of his DNA has a part of it that nullifies the Chimera virus, thus stopping its spread. Four years after the events of the last Resistance game, Joe Capelli lives with his wife and child in Haven, Oklahoma. It's when the Chimera forces attack that all hell breaks loose, and Capelli reluctantly agrees to head to New York to wipe out a Chimera tower which may stop the hive mind. Leaving his wife and child behind is a difficult decision, and it's one that haunts Joe throughout the game. The story is told through CG as well as in-game cinemas. Capelli will meet various characters during his trek to New York, some good and some downright vile. For all the hype surrounding the ending of this trilogy, the ending really leaves the player going, "What? That's it?" as it is quite abrupt. When your credits are seven times the length of your ending, you know something is wrong.

When the Chimera strike his home,
Joseph Capelli vows to destroy them for good.

Resistance 3 screams bigger and better. There's larger set pieces, bigger battles, larger skirmishes, badder baddies and bosses, cooler weapons, and a tour around the Midwest and East Coast leading up to the ultimate goal of arriving in the now icy wasteland of New York City. In all, there's twenty chapters in total to partake in, and throughout Joe's journey to NYC, he'll pass through several cities and locations such as abandoned factories, trainyards, prisons, mines, skyscrapers, among others. He'll fight off snipers in the nighttime air of Pennsylvania, run from a cavernous creature deep underground, fend off pursuers from entering a war-torn pub, and ambush a group of Chimera in the rainy city streets of St. Louis. Each set piece is extravagant and more impressive than previous games. There's nothing like running madly from enemy fire and dropships as they propel rockets and missiles at you.

Haven, Oklahoma's finest gathered in one underground room.

Many times you'll partner up with a team of AI-controlled teammates. These are usually just enemy fodder, and they have the intelligence of a stuffed monkey. However, they do make excellent meat shields. If playing the campaign solo doesn't do it for you, you can opt to either play through it with a buddy online or with a guest via splitscreen gameplay. The game doesn't get any more challenging with two players, and going through the hardest difficult (Superhuman) is a much easier task with a pair of players rather than going it alone. When a player's health runs out, the other player has thirty seconds to revive him. This is harder than it sounds as it takes a few seconds to revive a downed player. If both players fall, they must start back at the last checkpoint. Thankfully and unlike the first installment, Resistance 3 sports an abundance of checkpoints so dying usually doesn't force players to venture through large sections of the game over again. Making this more tricky is the fact that the regenerating health of Resistance 2 is now gone. Players who lose health must find health packs strewn around the ground, on tables, and dropped by fallen Chimera to regain it. This makes the action all the more intense, and for me, it's a welcomed return to form.

As stated, Superhuman is the hardest difficulty. It unlocks once Normal or Difficult mode is completed. Enemies on this difficulty are sharper shots, use grenades wisely, take and give more damage, and are generally much smarter than their Easy, Normal, and Difficult counterparts. In addition to playing through the campaign, there's a myriad of collectible text and audio journals to gather. These are usually either in plain sight or in out-of-the-way locations. These give further information on key details of the story, identify weaknesses of the various enemies, and give notes about the numerous weapons you pick up along Joe's journey.

What is a first-person shooter without kick-ass guns to tote around? Gone is the two weapon only policy of Resistance 2. The much-heralded weapon wheel from the original Resistance returns in all of its shining glory. Players can choose to hold the triangle button to bring it up, pausing the action (unless in cooperative play), or they can opt to tap the button to cycle between weapons. There's a menagerie of mean guns to play around with, and they look and feel incredible. Each gun has a first and secondary function. For instance, the Carbine is a formidable assault rifle in its primary function, but watch out when the secondary function kicks in as it launches a powerful and explosive grenade. In this installment of Resistance, guns can be upgraded through repeated use up to three levels. What was once a great close-range shotgun in the Rossmore at level three now shoots off incendiary rounds that not only blow enemies away but set them on fire. There's about a dozen weapons to tool around with, and each one is as awesome as the last. New guns like the Cryogun freezes opponents into a statue of ice, allowing the player to come up and melee or use the secondary function to launch a concussive blast to shatter them to pint-sized bits. Meanwhile, the Atomizer is essentially a long distance taser used to zap foes or used to shoot off a gravity well which electrocutes any and all nearby enemies. Not only are there new favorites, but returning ones come back as well like the shooting through walls Auger, the tag and bag Bullseye, and the sharpshooting sniper rifle, the Deadeye.

Whether you utilize a Deadeye or a Marksman,
sniping has never been simpler.

Of course, the Chimera are a force to be reckoned with, so you'll definitely need all of those weapons. There's numerous types of Chimera to contend with including Auger-toting Steelheads, Atomizer-possessing Ravagers which charge at the player relentlessly, insect-like Leapers, brain-dead Grims which do nothing but run at you, swiping at you with their thin arms, exploding Leeches which infect all nearby enemies, and Longlegs which leap from building to building in an attempt to outmaneuver the player. There's also several boss encounters, too. From gigantic spider-like Widowmakers which spew acid from their mouths to robotic and shielded Stalkers to big and bad Brawlers that love ramming into the player from faraway. Each clash is tense and an absolute rush. Insomniac really outdid themselves this time around.

Grims are easy to deal with alone, but in numbers they are deadly.

The campaign itself last anywhere between six and ten hours pending on your skill range and which difficulty you selected. In Superhuman mode, be ready to replay sections over and over again. To get some added life out of the campaign, through earning trophies (which are all gained in Campaign mode) and acquiring medals in Multiplayer (which we'll broach about next), players can purchase cheats, skins, artwork, and more in the Shop screen. Such cheats include perks like infinite ammo, all weapons, mirror mode, and alterations that make the game harder like giving the Chimera the ability to use the secondary function of their weapons or removing the health bar from the HUD.

After slaying countless Chimera and saving the world from the brink of destruction, a man (or woman, of course) desires nothing more than to unwind. You know, kick back and relax. Well, that's what the Multiplayer mode is for. No more is there large-scale sixty-four player skirmishes to lose one's self in. Now battles are only up to sixteen players which may or may not put off fans of the previous game. Regardless, there's plenty of options to choose from and the matchmaking is quite admirable, too. There's also plenty of modes to select from including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Chain Reaction (where players attempt to take control of a series of waypoints), your typical Capture the Flag mode, and Breach which the offensive team must find a way to destroy the defending team's reactor. Roles reverse after each round.

Players who perform well in battle earn combat abilities known as berserks. These are awarded to players with long-running kill streaks. Depending on whether you're a human or a Chimera, the effect given is different. For three kills in a row, players are either given an assault shield (for humans) or a cloaking device (for Chimera). For six kills in a row, both types of opponents are given Augers. Finally, for an impressive nine kills in a row, humans are transformed into an armored soldier or Chimera are turned into a big-bodied Ravager. Both receive a grenade launcher to blow away their enemies and increased health. Good luck trying to survive that long, though.

Earn experience and medals through slaying opponents online.

As of now, the multiplayer mode is full of lag which Insomniac is desperately trying to push out a patch for. However, I find this unacceptable that there's lag in the first place, especially after having a beta to surmise these types of problems. Dare I say that online multiplayer is nigh unplayable in the current state that it is in unless everyone has a dedicated connection? With this, it's difficult to recommend playing multiplayer until this conundrum is fixed.

In addition to playing the game with the regular old Dualshock controller, players can opt to purchase a Move package and shoot down Chimera with that. Whichever option you choose (Move is more fun and offers precision like never seen before), the controls of Resistance 3 feel fluid and ultimately excellent.

A boat ride on the Mississippi turns ugly
when it gets attacked by the Chimera.

Shifting gears towards presentation, Insomniac Games pulled no punches here. From the detailed textures to the well-animated characters, Chimera, and other enemies to the sound of your weapon firing is all well-done and exceeded my expectations. The splintering in some areas of the game is just orgasmic. Such special effects can only be done with people who know how to get the most out of the PlayStation 3, and Insomniac definitely fits that bill. On the other hand, the game sometimes struggles to keep itself at 30 FPS, and it occasionally (though only when things get truly intense) dips below. Those with 3D TVs can play through the game in full 3D, and I can only imagine how amazing that would look. Audio-wise, the Resistance 3 score is generally atmospheric, sometimes bombards the player with heavy strings, and usually impresses. The voice acting, too, is performed with tremendous skill, and it is all entirely believable. If presentation is at all important to you, then Resistance 3 will not disappoint.

Overall, Resistance 3 is a remarkable first-person shooter. It's without a doubt one of the best shooters on Sony's current hardware, even outclassing past Resistance titles and Killzone 2 and 3. The campaign pumps the adrenaline through your body from beginning to end as the pacing is near-perfection. The presentation is terrific as well. The only problem in the current is the laggy mess that is the online multiplayer. If and when (I'm leaning more towards when) that is fixed, Resistance 3 will be the must-have shooter for PlayStation 3 owners if it already isn't now. Do not resist as Star Trek fans know all too well, resistance is futile.

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.0/10]


coffeewithgames said...

I really enjoyed the first one, and I'm glad to see this one being received so well.
Hopefully they'll get the online running smoothly, if they haven't already.

BTW, do you find yourself using the Move controls in PS3 games that offer them, more now?

Unknown said...

I love pointer controls, and I prefer them to dual analog. So definitely, when possible.