Believe it or not, Resistance 3 marks my first venture into this franchise’s universe. My excuse is that I didn’t pick up my PS3 until far after the second game in the series released, and I just never found time to dip into the back catalogue to test out the Resistance waters, until now that is. But we wouldn’t be up to Resistance 3 if Insomniac was doing something wrong. So while many gamers across the world have already experienced the tightly-controlled chaos of the Resistance series, this is my first step into a new world. And wouldn’t you know it, this world is pretty damn awesome.
In a lot of ways, I feel like not knowing anything about the Resistance fiction made me enjoy Resistance 3 more. I know, that’s crazy talk, but it’s also the truth. Without knowing anything going in, Resistance 3’s story felt almost like a zombie flick where you don’t know why these creatures have taken over, all you’re privy to is the fact that humanity is on the brink of extinction with little hope left. And that's all you need to get the ball rolling. You play as Joseph Capelli, who is apparently a Resistance staple character, on a journey to New York to maybe, just maybe find a cure for the Chimera virus that is basically doing its best to eradicate mankind.
What works so well for Resistance 3 is that the game’s plot doesn’t center around what you should already know about the Resistance universe. That’s honestly all window dressing. If you know what a Goliath is going into Resistance 3, great. If you don’t, don’t sweat it. At the core of Resistance 3 is a very simple story about a man trying to do right by his wife and son. And that simplicity is what makes the story of Resistance 3 work whether you’re a veteran of the series or not. It’s also a story that gives plenty of drive and motivation for your trek to NYC to hopefully bring humanity back from the gutter it’s currently residing in.
But what about the hardcore Resistance fans? Did Insomniac dumb down this third game to cater to new audiences, leaving the franchise faithful with their pants pulled down around their ankles? Of course not. If you consider yourself a diehard Resistance fan, I’m sure you’ll find Resistance 3 a fitting third chapter in this saga. That is unless you dislike good stories. Then, well, you might hate Resistance 3, but it will be for a dumb reason.
Before I tackled this review I made sure to do a little reading up on previous Resistance games, and I learned quickly that the weapons are one of the things this series is best known for. Hell, this is an Insomniac joint -- they created the Ratchet & Clank series, after all -- so I would assume the company’s knack for concocting balls-crazy weaponry would see its way into Resistance. Spoiler: it does. Resistance 3’s arsenal is incredible, and I’m not afraid to say it might be one of the best weapons catalogues I’ve ever seen in a first-person shooter. A lot of folks might already be used to these weapons from previous Resistance games, but I’m a complete rookie. Therefore, I was like a kid in a candy shop after being handed a blank check and told to go nuts. In short, it was divine bliss. I can’t stress that enough.
I also want to make special mention of the game’s sound design. I played through the majority of the game rocking some headphones (trying to be conscious of my roommates trying to sleep), and I was blown away by how good Resistance 3 sounds. While the voice acting isn’t award worthy, it’s really the sound of dust blowing past your head, or the buzz of dropships gearing up to deploy troops that fully sells the experience. Pretty much everything in the environment sounds fantastic in Resistance 3. If you plan to play this game, I fully recommend using a good pair of headphones or turning the volume up to 11 on your home stereo system. Your windows might shatter, but you probably won’t care. You’ll be too happy hearing the soothing sounds of Chimera trying to blow a hole through your stomach to care.
Multiplayer has always been a large part of the Resistance titles, and that stands true with Resistance 3. But I’m going to be honest with you, the multiplayer aspect didn’t do much for me. I’ve been spoiled by the multi-tier, multi-layered multiplayer components of titles such as Uncharted 3 beta, Killzone 3, Halo: Reach and even Gears of War 3’s beta. In comparison, Resistance 3’s multiplayer modes and maps just feel generic. The only real motivator I had to hop online with Resistance 3 was to shoot people with the game’s incredible arsenal. However, if you do fancy yourself some Resistance 3 multiplayer, know that the game does offer up plenty to keep you coming back. The title has a deep leveling system that works towards unlocking plenty of perk abilities and character skins. The completionists out there will be occupied for weeks.
But what really makes me happy about Resistance 3 is that I didn’t need an encyclopedia-esque knowledge of the Resistance franchise to enjoy the game’s campaign. If you have one, then you’ll probably get even more out of this title. But for people who just want a well-constructed, scripted shooter with a solid, yet fundamentally simple story to drive the action, Resistance 3 is the ticket. I might get a lot of flack for saying this, but Resistance 3, to me, will forever be known as The Walking Dead of shooters -- there might be a lot of shit going on all over the world, but the game smartly narrows its scope to focus on a few central characters which ironically makes the gravitas of the situation at hand feel that much more important.
Full Disclosure: CraveOnline received 1 advanced copy of Resistance 3 for the PlayStation 3 from Sony. We received our review copy on the day of retail release, and therefore were not held to an embargo date. Before starting our review, we completed the entire single player campaign on medium difficulty. We also played a few hours of competitive multiplayer testing out all the game modes and maps. Sadly, we did not test out the game’s cooperative component, which you can blame on our lack of friends.