Resistance 3 Review

By Morgan Webb - Posted Sep 06, 2011

Whimsical weapons combine seamlessly with the violent and brutal setting to create an engaging game you can't wait to replay. The single player experience is enough to warrant the game an excellent score, and the multiplayer will likely satisfy the under-served PS3 online gamer.

The Pros
  • Signature Insomniac weapons make this shooter stand out.
  • The thirst for weapon upgrades makes the single player highly replayable.
  • The robust multiplayer will satisfy most casual online gamers.
The Cons
  • The campaign only supports 2 player co-op.
  • Split-screen co-op drops resolution down to fairly dismal levels.
  • Sony's Online Pass makes access to online features confusing and frustrating.

Resistance 3 Review:

In Resistance 3, you are an average Joe (Capelli), an ex-military man who is just trying keep his family and friends alive in a post-apocalyptic world. The large scale military battles of Resistance and Resistance 2 have been lost and the people have moved underground to eke out a living while Earth is colonized by the victors. Life is not destined to be quiet for Joe, and you are cajoled into a hail-mary suicide mission to the heart of the Chimera stronghold. Think The Road meets Halo.

It was a dark and stormy night at the end of the world...

Resistance 3 has a perfectly serviceable and impressively cohesive plot. I always knew exactly what I was doing and why, and when I finished I could give you an accurate account of what happened. I suppose it’s a little sad that I am lauding the plot for being comprehensible, but we’ve all played shooters where you wonder why you are suddenly in a laboratory, and the only reason you can think of is that the designer thought a laboratory would make a bitchin’ location for a level. The Resistance series itself has not been innocent of this sin, though it is perhaps not as guilty as some others.

However good the plot, better characters would have elevated the story from adequate to great. The aesthetic design was good, but their personalities were all fairly bland. I also want to add a small nitpick. Everyone at the end of the world is white? Really? Everyone? Maybe the Chimera killed all the Mexicans.

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I will not go softly

You have a weapon wheel that makes choosing from your arsenal fast and easy. Each weapon has a primary fire and a secondary fire. For example, the Bullseye’s primary fire seems like a normal machine gun, but its alt fire embeds a beacon into your target. Tag your enemy’s week spot with your alt fire, then hide behind cover, point up and shoot. The bullets find their foe like magic. Then there is the Atomizer. Its primary fire creates a short range electrical shock perfect for crowd control, while its alt fire launches a temporary gravity well that traps anyone in the vicinity. There are of course lots more weapons to collect, including a beam that freezes enemies in place and a disease gun that turns baddies into contagious germ bombs.

Insomniac knows you want to play with your deadly toys, so they don’t limit your ammo too much. I hate it when someone gives you an awesome gun and then never let you use it because it’s overpowered. That being said, despite having a gun that shoots through walls, the single player is well balanced. They throw plenty of enemies your way and have a difficulty level for any type of fan. And don’t forget, your enemies can shoot through walls too. This has a way of evening up the score.

Resistance 3


Any fans of Ratchet & Clank in the house? You will be extremely happy with Resistance 3. Despite the realistic setting and violent world, the weapons and gameplay will often remind you of Ratchet. The Mutator sometimes feels a bit like the Black Sheepinator. The alt fire on the Atomizer is a satisfyingly realistic Rift Inducer 5000, and the Cryogun feels almost eerily like the Liquid Nitrogen Gun. Unfortunately neither the Groovatron nor Mr. Zurkon made it into Resistance 3. Maybe next time.

Also reminiscent of Ratchet is a classic mechanic that encourages players to experiment. You level up your weapons through use, and you have the potential to earn an extra 2 levels of goodies. I can’t tell you how many times I died because I refused to use the appropriate weapon for a particular task - dammit I was going to level up my sniper rifle, even if I was in quarters more appropriate for the Carbine. The upgrades are noticeable and drool-worthy. When you level your shotgun it starts to set enemies on fire. This is an awesome bonus and it 100% never gets old. Oh, you want to shoot me? I light you on fire! Oh, you try to kill me? Kaboom! You are fire!

You will not be able to level all your weapons in one play through, and you will want to upgrade them further. When I finished the game the first time, I immediately wanted to start again to continue upgrading. Fortunately you have the option to keep leveling your weapons in a second or co-op playthrough.

Resistance 3

At least the end of the world has good bump mapping.

The graphics are as good as one would expect for a title of this caliber. It is also appreciated that despite the post-apocalyptic setting the designers were not afraid to use a bit of color. However the fast pace of the game means you aren’t given much time to revel in the art. There was one moment when I wanted to stare straight up and gaze (you’ll know when you get there), and while I was able to momentarily clear the area and enjoy the view, I quickly had to tear away my eyes for fear of losing them altogether. Apparently the Chimera don’t want me enjoying their breathtaking vista. This is all to say that the graphics and art are great, but the game is so fast paced you might not have time to stop and appreciate it. There is something to be respected about this - the art is in service of the gameplay. You’re not forced to admire the view they worked so hard on, but it rewards you if you look up. It’s the way it should be.

Resistance 3

Good news for all you bulimics!

Want to become completely nauseous in 3 minutes or less? Just try to play Resistance 3 with Sony Move. Yup, it’s that bad. You use the move controller to look around, but you don’t really move the camera until your reticule gets to the edge of the screen, which creates a perceived delay between moving and looking - thus the immediate nausea. I stopped playing 15 minutes ago and I still have a headache. Good luck shooting anything by the way, it’s not happening with the move. When you are trying to aim you get the distinct impression that you are trying to get a shot off while riding a slow moving boat (whoopee more nausea!). The move is just not sensitive enough to offer a rewarding experience. And this leads me to my little tirade:

I don’t hate the Move. It is allowed to exist. Some people may like to play some games with it. I bet it’s a super fun way to play Fruit Ninja. Does that mean it needs to be crammed down the throat of every developer and every gamer? Can’t it just be good for some fun casual games? I will be happy to revisit the Move and other motion controllers when they make them sensitive enough to satisfy a core gamer, or design games specifically with the Move in mind. Until then, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

And while I am on a tirade, I don’t appreciate that every time I turn on Resistance 3, I get 3 warning screens about the Move, one about seizures, and one about 3D being horribly damaging to my eyes. It’s getting to be a little much people. I’m just going to play in 2D with the controller. It sounds much safer that way.

Thank you, that is all. End tirade.

Resistance 3

My Internet is Down

Resistance 3 is unlucky enough to be a sacrificial lamb for Sony’s Online Pass program. You buy the game new, it comes with a one time use code that allows access to the game’s online features. You buy the game used? Someone has already redeemed that code and you have to pony up for a new one from the online store (because we love giving Sony our credit card information, right? They’ve been so responsible with it in the past).

Sony thinks this is going to keep used game sales to a minimum, or at least recover some of the revenue that is lost. I think it will just keep sales to a minimum. At the very least it will cause confusion and frustration among gamers, who think it is perfectly normal and acceptable to take a game to a friend’s house, or swap games with a friend for a weekend (and they are right). Sony is making the PS3’s already confusing and frustrating online system feel unnecessarily punitive, and they are doing Resistance 3 no favors. Even though I am tempted to lower the game’s score because of the Online Pass, Insomniac should not be penalized for Sony’s policy, especially since it seems they are aiming for a multi-platform future.

Resistance 3

Plays Well with Others

The campaign is available for two player co-op in split-screen as well as online. Split screen co-op is as fun as you would expect, and flanking is always a good time, especially since popping the Chimeran heat stacks makes such a satisfying sound. You take a big resolution hit in split-screen but it is an adequate experience if that is your only option.

Online multi-player doesn’t have any revolutionary new ideas but it is a solid experience and compares favorably to most of your other PS3 options. 16 players compete in standard modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag. Additionally you have Breach, where one team attacks nodes while the other defends, and Chain Reaction, where both teams attempt to capture nodes. You can also create a private game of any type and customize every piece of the experience. However I anticipate that Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch will dominate the field.

You start your online career with only one (crappy) loadout, but you’ll soon be leveling up and unlocking more. Each loadout has room for a primary weapon, a grenade type, tactical and support abilities, as well as personal and combat attributes. Tactical and support abilities will be things like a deployable ammo-refilling beacon, a bubble shield, or an offensive turret. Personal and combat attributes are more passive abilities. My favorite allowed you to track the footprints of your fleeing foes, but others will allow you a faster rate of fire, allow you to scavenge ammo and health from dead bodies, or even to have leapers burst out of your corpse for a little post-mortem revenge.

You can also gain an advantage by achieving killstreaks. For example It’s just a few kills to a shield or a cloak, and a few more to an Auger. OK so killstreak rewards aren’t necessarily the newest idea in gaming, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one.

As you level up you are awarded skill points that you can spend towards a custom loadout, so the dedicated player can truly create a force to be reckoned with.

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The Unfortunate Truth

We all know the problems with Sony’s multiplayer - its never the seamless experience you will find on the Xbox 360 and Resistance multiplayer specifically has had issues in the past. Unfortunately due to the time restraints of this review, I have not had the option to play online with the rest of the world because the review had to be done before the game was officially out. I have played with small parties of other journalists and have seen what the game could be if Insomniac’s tech and Sony’s infrastructure work as promised. If you are an online-only gamer you should wait to see how the tech fares before you plunk down your cash.

Then again, if you are a hardcore multiplayer fan, are you really buying this game? Do you even have a PS3? Multiplayer is something every developer and publisher feels is necessary to prevent used game sales, but a shockingly small minority of people who buy the game actually go online. Who can blame them? The time it takes to get good at online multiplayer and level up is insane. This means most hard core online players cluster around a few titles, and the rest of us enjoy the escapism of the single player or co-op campaign. I would have gladly traded the Resistance 3 multiplayer for a 4 player co-op campaign, a longer campaign, or even more weapons. The multiplayer works, it’s enjoyable, and it has some fun extras, but I don’t see it stealing many fans away from Call of Duty or Gears of War.

Resistance 3

A game that won’t lose its triple-a rating

Resistance 3 provides a cohesive and polished triple-a shooter experience. What is most exciting is that Insomniac has decided to be itself. It always felt like they were trying to compete with the big boys by copying them, and that is an unwinnable war. It was Insomniac’s answer to Halo or Call of Duty, rather than Insomniac’s take on the shooter. Resistance 3 is finally confident enough to be itself - and in that way it is something brutal, something whimsical, and ultimately, something special.