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Resistance: Fall of Man, set in an alternate reality where a post World War II earth saw the beginning of the invasion of the chimera, a parasitic alien race bent on assimilating humanity and claiming Earth as its own. It’s follow up, Resistance 2 was an all out war, with humanity fighting back as much as it could.

Four years later, and that futile war is all but lost. its 1957, and on the brink of defeat, humanity is driven deep underground.

After a 656Mb update (with another 600Mb one hitting today) and a a far-too-long mandatory install, we’re re-introduced to Joe Capelli, a soldier in the resistance who’s been dishonourably discharged after killing Sgt Nathan Hale, one of humanity’s last hopes and the hero of the previous games. When we reconnect with him, he and his family – his wife and ill four year old son -  he’s living in a makeshift underground refugee camp in Oklahoma. It’s a bleak and hopeless time. The Chimera have all but won, clearing up the few dispersed pockets of human resistance that remain. When the Chimera arrive, on clean-up duty as opposed to a full-scale assault, he, his family, and fellow refugees are driven to the wastelands. Dr. Fyodor Malikov, creator of the vaccine that prevents further human assimilation convinces Capelli that destroying a large Chimeran, power hungry structure in New York could be the key to ending the alien occupation.

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Out of desperation, fearing for the future of his family, he undertakes the cross-continental journey. As travels towards the east coast he happens upon other human settlements – in just as dire a situation as his – and helps them with their problems as he ambles towards his goal through a desolate America. Every level and every character Capelli comes across exude this great sense of hopelessness – and it’s this atmosphere and gut-wrenching, pervasive despair that elevates Resistance 3 beyond being a generic shooter. The varied levels and their pacing are exemplary, with peaks and troughs to maintain its intensity. There are plenty of large-scale, set-piece battles and towering bosses, with things like boat levels, train levels and escort missions peered throughout to keep it interesting. It’s not nearly as action-oriented as you’d imagine either, there are more than a handful of moments that straddle the lines of survival horror, with some genuinely terrifying sections that echo the atmospheres of Half Life 2 and Metro 2033.

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Still, it is mostly a first person action shooter – and one with old school sensibilities at that. Health doesn’t regenerate, so you’re constantly on the look out for the green vials of goo that replenish your health – and the faded, blood-splattered screen not  going away when you’ve been in cover for a few seconds only adds to the tension and despair. It also dispenses with the modern two-weapon system popularised by games like Halo, giving you and arsenal of highly inventive and incredibly fun-to-use ordnance – accessed through the first game’s returned weapon wheel.

You’ll be re-acquainted with old favourites like the Bullseye, your de-facto combat rifle, the alien Auger that can fire through solid objects, and the ever-dependable Magnum. You’ll also be given new takes on genre staples, like a shotgun, rocket launcher and sniper rifle. Rounding out the weapons are unconventional newcomers such as the cobbled-together Mutator, a hand-made gun that shoots globs of sticky, chimera infected slime that diseases and transforms enemies in to pustulent, pestilent sacks of exploding death; the Atomizer, an energy gun that disintegrates foes and the Cryogun, a freeze-ray that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of.

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Resistance’s gun-play has always been enhanced by each gun’s secondary fire – and that doesn’t change. Tagging an enemy with your Bullseye makes it so that your bullets temporarily home in; the Auger’s secondary fire allows you to deploy a shield. The Atomizer fires a vortex of pure energy that pulls in and eviscerates nearby enemies, with the Cryogun firing of a pulse of shock energy that shatters previously frozen enemies. Weapons are upgradeable, simply by using them. Each weapon has two levels of upgrades, unlocking a whole world of offensive possibility. The Rossmore shotgun (which has become my favourite shotgun in a game, ever) shoots  flaming shot after its first upgrade, like hell’s fury,  and the ability to fire explosive grenades after its second. you’ll be using most of the weapons – mostly because you have to. It’s not that the game puts you in situations where you’re forced to use a specific weapon – but rather that it inundates you with swathes of enemies and switching between and effectively using weapons is your best chance of survival.

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Unfortunately, the more personal and intimate Narrative doesn’t really go anywhere, or develop Capelli much as a a protagonist – nor does the game bring about any sort of closure to the story – something that’ll likely be left to yet another sequel to accomplish. As with most other PlayStation exclusives, it’s a gorgeous game( though far from the best looking title on either console), with amazing lighting and particle effects upping the atmosphere ante. Where it does falter is in its character and facial animation, creating characters more wooden than Kristin Stewart and Keanu Reeves. Like Killzone 3, Resistance features PlayStation Move support (enhanced with the sharpshooter) and like with Killzone I found it works well enough (especially with precision weapons like the Deadeye Sniper rifle) but I felt much more at home with a regular controller.

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The whole game can be played co-operatively, 2 players only instead of Resistance 2’s 8,  either on or offline. Split-screen co-op forces aspect ratio preservation, so you’re left with black borders on the sides of your tiny playable windows. I really wish more games would use Left 4 Dead’s split-screen system, allowing the user to choose between horizontal or vertical splitscreen. You can also only play campaign co-op with people on your friend’s list. Fine by me, ‘cos internet randoms annoy me – but some might be put off by the lack of options.

There is, of course, multiplayer. Like with the co-op, the number of players has been severely reduced. Gone are Resistance 2’s frantic, frenetic and so chaotic as to be un-enjoyable 60 player matches. Instead , it’s capped at 16 players. It’s gotten a now rather trite Call of Duty-styled level of progression, with unlockable load-outs and perks and Beserks (Call of Duty’s Killstreak’s by another name). Of course, just like with the single player, its the weapons and inventive perks that make Resistance 3’s multiplayer stand out. You start pout with just a Carbine rifle and a grenade, but as you level up and progress you’ll be rewarded with things like decoys, cloaking devices and lightning shields. Of course, it also means that in a few weeks the multiplayer aspect won’t be very forgiving to newcomers.

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The modes on offer aren’t particularly surprising or interesting; Free-for-all and team Deathmatch, capture the flag and more objective based gametypes like Breach and Chain Reaction. Chain Reaction pits teams against each other fighting to control successive control points, not unlike Unreal Tournament, really.  Breach is by far the most interesting multiplayer mode of the lot. One team must defend defends three stations while the other team has to destroy them. Two are “perimeter” stations, while the third station – deeper in the  defenders’ territory, has automatic defences. Disabling the perimeter stations nixes the third’s auto defence mechanisms – making it fun, fast and strategic.  As with the single player aspect, it’s the weapons that set the multiplayer apart from others in the genre, but whether it has the longevity to stand against heavyweights like Call of Duty  and imminent arrival Uncharted 3 is up to players.

This is the first Sony published game to use the largely despised network pass code to access multiplayer, included with every new copy of the game, but available as a purchase item for 2nd hand buyers. Annoyingly, there’s no way to redeem the code from within the game itself, so you’ll have to exit the game and redeem the code, then jump back in to the game if you want to hit multiplayer. It’s a minor inconvenience, but a needless one to be mindful of.

So is Resistance 3 the best in the series? I’d say yes. It doesn’t have the lofty ideas or goals of the first two, instead focusing on a much smaller part of the story, but it’s a finely crafted shooter that’s more than worth playing – even if it is just for the inventive weaponry on offer.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8/10

Standard old-school shooter mechanics, elevated by exceptionally inventive weaponry and a hopeless, foreboding atmosphere.

Design and Presentation: 8.5/10

The desolate Americana locations ooze style and atmosphere.

Value: 8/10

A regular play through will take up to ten hours on the more difficult setting, with an extensive (though hardly inventive)  multiplayer

Overall: 8.3/10

As Insomniac’s possible swansong for the franchise, it does its best to get back to the series’ fan-favourite roots – though I wish it incorporated the best elements from Resistance 2 as well. It’s a well made, polished shooter that deserves accolade.

Last Updated: September 9, 2011

Resistance 3
Summary
8.3

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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