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Resistance 3 hands-on multiplayer preview

As we covered in ourlast preview, Resistance 3 is taking a step back from the massive scale and explosive commando battles that characterized the last two games in the series, and will instead focus on a small group of ragtag survivors trying to stay hidden from the monstrous alien/mutant/whatever Chimera. Yesterday, we learned that the multiplayer is tightening its focus as well. While the first game boasted matches for up to 40 players, and the second game 60, Resistance 3%26rsquo;s multiplayer will max out at a comparatively puny 16.

Don%26rsquo;t howl for developer Insomniac%26rsquo;s blood just yet, though. R3%26rsquo;s stated goal is to create a more %26ldquo;intimate%26rdquo; experience, with (presumably) smaller maps and smaller teams of enemies able to work more cohesively and get a feel for each other%26rsquo;s tactics. It also introduces a system of perks and unlocks, with players who do well able to reward themselves with new weapons and special abilities. These include always-on %26ldquo;passive%26rdquo; abilities (which do things like boost your run speed or improve your shooting accuracy while sprinting), as well as %26ldquo;active%26rdquo; abilities, turned on by the d-pad, which lets players do things like lay down stationary bubble shields, create holographic decoys or make the opposing team show up on radar.

We leveled up fairly quickly during the few rounds we played (which were restricted to team deathmatches in a partially ruined prison in Fort-Lamy, Republic of Chad), and we liked what we saw. Visually, the game%26rsquo;s an improvement over the last two, with a slightly bleaker, more washed-out look that%26rsquo;s balanced by some impressive explosion and gore effects. But what makes it especially interesting are the weird sci-fi powers that R3%26rsquo;s multiplayer brings to the table.

At first it seemed like the Chimera had a big advantage over the human survivors, what with their creepy alien abilities, but the more we played and got a feel for the perks, the more that turned out not to be true. Four loadouts are available from the start %26ndash; Survivor (which comes equipped with a standard-issue carbine and a complementary set of perks), Infected (which comes with a homing-bullet-equipped Bullseye), Specter (with a Deadeye sniper rifle) and Warden (Rossmore shotgun) %26ndash; although you%26rsquo;ll probably want to set up a custom one before long.

With each level you gain, you%26rsquo;ll earn an unlock point that can give you a new weapon or perk, with the same unlocks available no matter which side you%26rsquo;re on. (There is one difference, though; after a kill streak, Chimera players get a cloaking ability that makes them mostly invisible, while human players get a portable shield to deflect bullets from the front.) Some unlocks, like the more powerful weapons (and, sadly, the beloved Hedgehog grenades) appeared to be off-limits at lower levels, but there was still plenty of stuff for us to play around with after a few rounds. Our personal favorite was the %26ldquo;Leaper Corpse%26rdquo; perk, which made three scorpion-like Leapers explode from our defeated body and attack our enemies.

In spite of its smaller size, R3%26rsquo;s multiplayer stayed pretty fast-paced throughout, and the new perks are enjoyable enough to play around with that the reduced match sizes don%26rsquo;t really feel like a loss. Assuming the action%26rsquo;s complemented by match types other than straightforward TDM, this could be a lot of fun; we%26rsquo;ll know for sure when the beta goes live sometime later this year.

Mar 3, 2011

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.