Insomniac Games had a lot to live up to with the newest entry in the Resistance series. The ending of Resistance 2 was so devastating, so powerful, so moving, that it was impossible for me to predict what was going to come next. I imagined some sort of intense space opera moving from there, possibly where humans went out into space, searching the rift that was created at the end of the second game. I created whole storylines in my head, many of which involved Hale somehow still being alive. But what I didn’t imagine was the utter and complete disappointment that would be Resistance 3.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Insomniac Games
Genre: Body Snatchin’ Space Opera
Release Date: September 6, 2011
ESRB Rating: Mature
I will say this right off the bat: I didn’t finish the game. Resistance 3 was so dreadful that I couldn’t bring myself to finish playing it. Some chapters were so disorienting I nearly threw my controller in frustration just trying to get to the end – and more often than not, I got to the end by just running through enemies and making it to the next checkpoint. The story was boring, and the characters weren’t even unlikable – they’d have to be memorable for that.
Let me back up for a second. I’m a huge fan of the Resistance series. Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2 are two of my favorite games on the PlayStation 3, and though I never finished it due to time constraints, I loved Resistance: Retribution for the PSP. Even in the beginning of Resistance 3, I had high hopes. Sure, I was bummed out to be playing as Joseph Capelli, who has about as much personality as a cardboard cutout of your favorite Monday night wrestler. But the familiar sound effects, the guns I was so used to wielding, the grunts of dying Chimera that had always been music to my ears – all of those things worked together like a siren song, luring me in.
At first glance, there’s so much that’s good about this game. The graphics are top notch. The comic book style, though arguably overused, doesn’t feel hackneyed here, and lends itself well to this genre. Interacting with various characters – even the ones that aren’t part of the main story – feel natural and interesting. At first, the battles bring you through the chapters, making up for the ridiculous turn the plot has taken.
There’s also the fact that they’ve added in some of the best aspects of both Resistance and Resistance 2. They’ve brought back the much-loved weapon wheel from the first game. They also got rid of the second game’s health that automatically regenerates in favor of the first game’s health packs again, which can be dropped by enemies. The best guns are back again, and of course, they’re Chimeran – I’m talking about the Bullseye and the Auger. Though not as overpowered as before, these are still my two favorite guns, and prove that the alien technology is superior. All of the guns also feel fantastic, reloading and shooting smoothly.
Things begin to go downhill soon after the beginning. So far and so fast downhill that I actually put the game down after the fifth or so session and simply never picked it back up again. I couldn’t stomach the thought of the nauseating sprinting mechanics, the disorienting and unbalanced fights, the fact that the enemies are bullet sponges, or the glitches in the graphics that often left pieces of random things, like dropships, in the middle of the screen. My patience wore thin at the first scene that was on rails. I’m not even joking about this, though I am assuming this was made mostly for Move compatibility. But the real reason I couldn’t continue the game was because there was just no feeling at all in it.
I don’t want to say that Nathan Hale is the only protagonist who can make these games work. I don’t want to think that the series couldn’t continue with another character – in fact, Retribution proved that a strong character could make it work. It’s not even just the utter blandness of Joseph Capelli that caused this game to fail. It was a general lack of soul that made it utterly unplayable. There’s nothing here of the spirit of the series – it just feels like a husk of a game, like someone took the general concepts from the series, lumped them into a game that looked kind of impressive, and frenetically added in some fight scenes and a loose plot. There’s nothing here that acts as an adhesive to hold it all together, and that becomes painfully obvious as you go from chapter to chapter, caring less and less what happens to the characters.
Whatever it was that worked in the previous games is simply missing from Resistance 3. While I’m biased and absolutely miss Hale, I love how the second game ended and wouldn’t change it for the world. But for a game to be so bad that I break my own rule and review it without even finishing it… well, let’s just say that’s got to be a pretty awful game. I would only recommend this game to the most die hard – or stubborn – Resistance fan.
And don’t even bother with the multiplayer. Gone are the massively fun firefights of the second game, replaced by some of the most generic and boring multiplayer I’ve ever seen.
Welcome to the sci-fi video game graveyard, Resistance 3.
Review Disclosure: A retail copy of Resistance 3 was purchased by Warp Zoned for the purposes of this review.