After a surprising wobble from the superb Resistance: Fall of Man to the not-so-great sequel, Insomniac appear to be returning to their roots with Resistance 3. During our hands-on time with a small section of the game set in Haven, Oklahoma, it's blatantly clear that the atmosphere of the original is back in full effect - that, and the weapon wheel makes a welcome return, but we'll fill you in on that later.
Above: "We're going to need a bigger gun"
The game appears to focus less on cosmetically pleasing set-pieces like the <yawn> Leviathan marching through Chicago and the scene where you appear from underground to be greeted with the sight of San Francisco being razed to it's hippy knees like in Resistance 2, and more on you (read: Capelli) and a band of gun-wielding civilians. You feel less like a one-man army than Nathan Hale - the hero of the previous two games - does too - relying heavily on cover as the Chimera pour in from every nook and cranny. There's a real sense of desperateness and every shot must count as ammo is scarce. But this is what an alien invasion would feel like, right? Probably.
Enough words. Watch the level we played with your eyes right now...
But what did we learn from our time with the demo? Firstly, it's grittier than before. There was a sort of day-glo filter on Resistance 2 that has been replaced with a brown filter here. Sounds dull, but it's to depict the desolation of the town and with the wind whipping all around it feels like you're duking it out in the middle of a tornado. Also, as you've probably gathered from the previous trailers, the resistance really is full of regular Joes and Joannas. Desperate to survive they pick up weapons and fight alongside you, which is good because the military have been over-run by the Chimera and are mostly taking a dirt nap.
Above: Hybrids seem to be better equipped in the AI department. They'll dash to cover more often now
The weapons feel more punchy than before too. Wielding the .44 Magnum has a really satisfying thud as the bullets punch an enemy to the floor. The secondary fire is still a small explosion activated by squeezing R2 but because we hadn't remembered to use this before we'd emptied an entire clip, when we did we were treated to a devastating chain-reaction of explosions that spread across the level like a fireworks display gone wrong.
A nice new twist is the ability to level up guns the more you use them. From what we can tell from the demo experience, this happens automatically. We bagged a load of kills with the Bullseye - the Chimera's standard issue, laser weapon that can tag foes and still hit them over/around targets - and a little icon flashed up to let us know the upgrade had been unlocked and applied. This rewards you for having loyalty to a certain weapon. Whether you name her 'Barbara' in your mind, is up to you, buddy.
Above: Don't cry for the man on the floor. He's already dead
That scrap with the hulk Chimera - the massive one that tears up bits of pavement - is a real rush. He charges in like a bull, which is tricky to side-step with a quick "olé!", batters you senseless and throws you around like a ragdoll. So you'll be able to take him down with a number of different tactics. We choose to snipe him from the top of a building like a coward - a big, safe from danger, coward.
In summary, Resistance 3 is shaping up nicely and the gritty atmosphere coupled with the rampant action really makes for a thrilling FPS. Personally, I'm more excited about this than Killzone 3 as it's putting you in a more grounded situation and having the familiar surroundings of real world environments just makes the killing that little bit more engaging.
Oh, almost forgot, you've still got plenty of time to get your name Resistance 3 too. Click here for details UK Only.
February 3rd 2011