Videogames that tell a decent human story are rare. First-person games that will even attempt a human story are even rarer. It’s not often that you can play a first-person shooter, and feel connected to the character you play as. Most first-person shooters have you assume the role of puppet master, for the winner of the world’s most mindless meathead award. Despite having a well-realized main character, Resistance 3 doesn’t forget what makes first-person shooters fun. Guns, Grenades and more importantly gore.
Its 1953 and humanity is in a tight spot. Living underground and cowering at every unknown rumble of rubble from the now decimated surface-world that the invaders, or Chimera, call their new home. Some story details from previous games are beautifully injected into the intro sequence of the game through a graphical explanation. Clever use of tone and overheard conversations dovetail seamlessly together to show you first-hand the emotional state of humanity.
Joseph Capelli is a man who has done more than his fair share in the war against the Chimera. Joseph has promised to settle down and has decided to enjoy the rest of his imperfect life in the best way he can. Inevitably the Locust, sorry, Chimeran horde rolls into town and sets about ruining Joseph’s plans of taking a well-deserved rest in the defence of his family and community. It’s the realization that his family’s dream of a fearless existence will never come to fruition that makes Joseph begin his journey to eradicate the Chimera once and for all. It’s a more subtle, gut-wrenching reason to go to war and provides a nice break from the usual revenge story we’ve all seen before. Additional hidden segments of story are trickled into your ears via Bioshock-esque tape recordings that help in fleshing out the story.
The unrelenting action is punctured occasionally with a quality of cut-scene that’s not often seen in most first-person shooters. Short as they are, each scene moves along the narrative and contextualizes your actions, making the game feel more perilous. The full casts of characters are well voice acted, calling in some key voice talent from the acclaimed Metal Gear Solid series. Overall the characters are believable, but they never hang around long enough for you to really care about them. It’s a shame because when characters do appear they are fun to watch.
Guns are undoubtedly the stars of the show in Resistance 3. Each gun has a character, the way it feels to hold, the recoil, and the mess it makes of your enemies. The weapons feel like tools of destruction, built by a Bond villain with a penchant for elaborate deaths. Each gun has a primary and secondary fire, and each feels fantastic to use. Using the Bullseye rifle? Tag the enemy with a homing device then simply fire anywhere on the screen, every single bullet will find its way to its target, like iron-coated homing wasps. The Mutator rifle showers the enemy with globules of infected sludge that sets about infecting its host until they pustulate to bursting point. The Auger rifle shoots through literally anything and deploys a protective wall, shielding you from the barrage of explosions and bullets. The guns work well individually but when combined, the effects can really be something to behold. The controls are quick, smooth and relatively intuitive, which is handy bearing in mind the hundreds of Chimera gnashing their teeth in anticipation of your death.
The Chimera are convincing enemies, the intelligence of each unit keeps you on your toes. Enemies will sneak up using stealth and engage you in quick time events, immediately filling the screen with sharp teeth and whipping claws. The larger enemies act and move realistically most of the time. Larger enemies will clamber up buildings and desperately try to mash you into a human puree. However the AI isn’t without fault. Occasionally enemies will stand around harmlessly or even walk past you altogether. Larger enemies will sometimes pose no threat whatsoever because of the Dalek effect, find a relatively difficult place for the AI to reach, and you feel like a god unleashing fury on a lowly garden snail.
Locations in Resistance 3 are interesting, such as Mississippi or a wooded area at night. Each area has a high level of detail. Sound design compliments each location perfectly, particularly weather effects such as a gusts of wind whipping up snow and impairing your vision. Resistance 3 is particularly good at showing you large-scale events, a stampede of giant Chimera or a foreign structure in the distance. These events tie in with the story, you usually end up interacting with the distant world around you, either remotely or up close and personal. Beautiful as they are the levels are often so derelict they can seem cluttered and leave you confused about which direction to go. Couple this with a brownish tint and things really do get confusing. The terrain you move across can be frustrating at times, sometimes unable to move over the smallest of debris, you frequently find yourself feeling stuck when in the heat of battle, causing you to grind your teeth to a fine powder in stress, whilst mashing the jump button in a bid to escape.
Multiplayer is far from polished and extreamly predictable. Players are given simple game modes such as capture the flag and team deathmatch. The multiplayer supports up to sixteen players online and it introduces its own take on the perk system. A choice is made from various earnable perks and upgrades, such as shields and a trio of little monsters that climb from your corpse upon death, attacking foes. The controls are tight enough for a single player game but when competing against real people small problems such as getting stuck on walls, can really be infuriating. Each gun can be upgraded too, adding sights or bayonets. A few imbalances can be seen in multiplayer, the problem comes from the weapons rather than perks. Most FPS games have the emphasis on customization rather than a solid power upgrade. The result is that higher-level characters can hide and shoot through walls, out of sight and virtually unreachable, resulting in a frustrating gaming experience. That isn’t to say the multiplayer is without merit, just be prepared to see the re-spawn screen.
Overall Resistance 3 is a highly polished title but one with a few minor frustrations. The controls and graphical quality may not be on par with the likes of Halo, Call of Duty or Battlefield, but does come pretty close. Resistance 3’s story is better than the average shooter, and the ambition of Insomniac Games to try and tell a personal story alongside a cinematic battle for the planet is refreshing to see, but ultimately characters spend only the briefest of moments in your thoughts. It’s a great, uniquely styled Sci-Fi game, Aa must buy for PlayStation 3 owners who love a little story to compliment their gory first-person shooters.
MLG Rating: 8/10
Platform: PS3 Release Date: 09/09/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Resistance 3 for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PS3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.