The number of awe-inspiring moments in Resistance 3 is impressive, but the game knows not to beat you over the head with them and cause fatigue. I already talked about the quiet moments, but sometimes the game spreads out the jaw-droppers by throwing you into an intense, small-scale firefight amongst some interesting architecture so that it’s still loud and exciting without relying on some giant monster (not that we don’t love the giant monsters too, and R3 provides great moments for them).
Another gameplay element that helps add to the tension is something that may be controversial for some players, but I’m just going to call them babies if they don’t like it. R3 features none of that regenerating health crap – you take damage, you have to pick up a health pack to heal. It means you have to play intelligently, since you can’t just jump out, pop off shots wildly, and hide in cover to erase your sloppy play. If you do dumb things, you pay for it permanently. Don’t worry, though – the game is not difficult, as it places plenty of health packs around, and I died only a few times during the entire campaign.
About co-op: it’s been returned to how it was for the first Resistance, with two-player online or splitscreen covering the same campaign as single-player. This means the interesting eight-player co-op of Resistance 2 is out, but that might not matter to you – I didn’t miss it. The campaign is so good you’ll want to play it rather than some random side-campaign anyway.
…and of course, multiplayer
Resistance wouldn’t be Resistance without the multiplayer, and the third entry has refined and pared down the experience, which will delight those who loved the smaller fights, but could disappoint fans of Resistance 2’s 60-man matches, as the max is only set to 16 this time around. I doubt many will complain, because the multiplayer plays fantastically and has many compelling tactical options to sift through and ruminate upon. It follows its shooter contemporaries with a similar loadout customization setup, perks, and killstreaks, but it doesn’t feel like Call of Duty.
The killstreaks don’t go crazy: at three kills, you can activate a faction-specific ability. If you’re Chimera, you get to use cloaking, turning almost completely invisible for around a minute. You’ll de-cloak if you attack or take damage, but I found it quite deadly for sneaking up on chumps and mowing them down with the shotgun. Humans get a front-facing shield that protects you from damage, but a clever enemy can flank you and get around it. It’s fun just thinking about your facing while using it, turning to deflect attacks and watching your back. At six kills you get an unlimited ammo Auger, and at nine kills you get a boost that makes you super tough and damaging. Streaks don’t go beyond that, so you won’t see overpowered airships coming in to make things unfun.
Everyone also has one tactical ability and one support ability. These start off minor, like an ammo or health beacon, but through leveling up you can purchase more powerful stuff like the hologram, which creates a false double of you. Leveling up earns you points which you spend on everything from the passive perks to the tactical and support abilities, as well as weapons (and upgrading each weapon). Once you’ve leveled up, you have a lot of options for creating your own playstyle. One element that’s particularly creative is that there are high levels perks that handicap you. So for instance, you can equip a perk that cuts your sprint speed in half, but you gain a small bonus to XP. So if you’re really good, you can level up even faster (plus you could compensate for a handicap by choosing a style that will be hurt less, like say a sniper so you don’t have to sprint much). You can even sacrifice a tactical ability in order to be able to taunt your opponent – the ultimate humiliation factor.
Multiplayer features five modes at launch, although there will be at least one more added later as DLC. There’s standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, as well as Capture the Flag. Chain Reaction has each team fighting to control successive control points in a kind of tug-of-war. My favorite is Breach, where one team defends three stations while the other team must destroy all of them. Two of the stations are “perimeter” stations, in that the third station, which is deeper inside the defenders’ territory, has automatic defenses that make it difficult to destroy, but if the attackers destroy the outer stations first, it disables the defenses of the final station. It’s a frantic mode where as a defender you have to coordinate with teammates to protect all points of invasion, and as an attacker it’s fun to try to sneak into an undefended station. None of the game types present anything truly innovative, but the core game is so solid that the multiplayer will hold players’ attention for a long time.
Is it better than…
Just for you, Metacritic
Resistance 3 fixes the stumbles of its predecessor, reinvigorates the excitement factor, and has exemplary pacing in its single-player (and co-op) campaign. The Chimera are the most terrifying they’ve ever been, while you control the most empowering arsenal yet. The multiplayer is as tight as ever, rounding out a complete package of polish, mood, and adrenaline.
Sep 6, 2011