Vault Play: Resistance 3
Since I got the PlayStation 3 later in its lifecycle, I missed out on playing the platform-exclusive Resistance series.Resistance: Fall of Man and the much lauded Resistance 2 were both flagship shooters upon their release, and marketed as Sony’s answer to Halo. However, Insomniac’s sci-fi epic was more akin to Half Life in its execution and narrative than any other AAA shooter. The game emphasized a dark and detailed narrative, as it followed the battles of US soldier Nathan Hale against the horrifying Chimera in an alternate history around the year 1950. After playing through the first two games, I recently finished the core trilogy off by playing Resistance 3; the final installment in the series created by Insomniac.
Resistance 3 focuses the story onto Joseph Capelli, a former SRPA soldier who fought alongside Nathan Hale until the final moments that closed out Resistance 2. It’s now 1957, and Joe must battle across a war torn United States from Missouri to New York as he escorts Dr. Malikov eastward and attempts to close a wormhole that the Chimera have opened over the city.
There was somewhat of a backlash against Resistance 3 for its sharp turn in narrative, but I found Joe Capelli to be an interesting take on the “reluctant hero”. In Resistance 2 he was just the gung-ho marine with a chaingun, but in this third chapter he is a multidimensional character who has to leave everything he knows to accomplish a task he never asked for. Along the way he meets a cast of interesting, if at times two dimensional, characters who make up the last of the human resistance. The game’s narrative is generally strong, but can feel disjointed at points. While the overall story works, at times it feels like a highlight reel of large set pieces that have been patched together, especially in comparison to the series previous installments.
Insomniac has always been known for adding interesting firearms to their games. Resistance 3 is no exception, and old favorites like the Bullseye and Auger return, along with cool new additions like the Cryogun and the Mutator. Each weapon has an array alternate fire modes that change as they level up through use, which keeps the combat varied and forces you to employ different strategies based on the available weapons and ammo you have in each encounter. There are also a significant number of powerful weapon combinations that work well on different enemies, and while the guns are effective, they never make you feel like you are able to overpower the Chimera. Incidentally, the weapon models change as their levels increase, which was a nice graphical touch.
Speaking of graphics, this is easily the best looking installment in the Resistance series by a mile. Landscapes are detailed, the character models and animations far surpass either of the previous games and the Chimera are intimidating and terrifying. Unfortunately, there are a few anomalies that took me out of the experience. The first was occasional clipping by enemies who would get stuck in walls or windows, and the second was the same god awful ladder climbing animation that is in every Resistance game. I don’t know if that is a running joke at this point or what, but it looks like something from 1997. These are minor nitpicks in a strong overall package though. The sound design is top notch as well, and the melancholy score fits the games mood in all the right ways.
Resistance has always been kind of an odd duck in the heavily saturated sci-fi FPS sub-genre. It still adheres to old school tropes like health packs (which I applaud) and relied more on campaign co-op than competitive modes as its flagship multiplayer feature. It marches to the beat of a mildly different drum than many of its AAA competitors.
Now that it’s heavily discounted, I can definitely recommend Resistance 3 to anyone who is a fan of the series, especially those who may have been put off by the second game. Anyone who might just be discovering Resistance for the first time should look into the “Resistance Collection” to start the story at the beginning and give this finale the context is needs and deserves.