Humankind has already lost the war when Resistance 3 begins. The world has been overrun by the alien Chimera, and in a distressing twist, the aliens and mutated humans have split into two groups: the military and those that have gone feral. Humanity tries to scrape together a life in small, desperate clumps of what passes for community, but they are under constant attack. Still, people are coming together, helping each other, and trying to cling to whatever they can.
The problem is that the temperature is dropping—but one old scientist thinks he knows why and how to stop it. It’s your job to keep him safe en route to a dangerous mission in New York. During an attack, your child screams for you as your wife takes him away, convinced your mission is the only thing that will keep them safe.
The situation is dire, but I’m happy to report that the game itself is so much fun.
That’s the paradox of this game. It’s grim, but it offers the player an experience that remains almost joyous. You’re fighting through a pre-’60s United States, and the images of alien forces skulking around a farmhouse—complete with bales of hay in the surrounding field—is fresh enough to be interesting. We’ve seen this sort of first-person shooter many times, but by setting it in the past and creating these setpieces complete with alien weaponry, the developers have produced something that feels fresh and new. When’s the last time you fought across a ruined 1950s North American landscape?
In many ways Resistance 3 is a classical game. There is no regenerating health, so you need to move carefully and pick your shots; it’s easy to become overwhelmed and die at the hands of the enemy’s superior forces. The health packs are laid out in a way that makes sense and keeps you moving, and you’ll notice that each firefight is possible to win if you’re smart, but you’re always going to get beaten up by the time it’s over. This brings something that’s becoming rare in first-person shooters: fear.
You’ll also be able to carry every weapon in the game at the same time, and the weapons are great. The machine guns feel powerful, and the boomstick is a great specimen of video game shotguns. The Auger has a visor that allows you to see enemies through walls, and in fact the weapon’s energy blasts pass through solid objects, allowing you to take out the Chimera while staying behind cover. The magnum is a powerful weapon, and by hitting the secondary fire button you cause each round that’s embedded in any enemy or the scenery to explode in a great one-two punch.
There are certain weapons that make more sense for certain situations, but this is the rare modern game that gives you access to everything in your arsenal. The more you use each weapon, the more it levels up and becomes more powerful. Each of the weapons is enjoyable and well-designed, offering a variety of tactical options. The ability to keep a full loadout of weapons that feel this distinct helps to set Resitance apart from other FPSes.
These selling points aren’t new to the Resistance series, but this is the game where all the atmosphere and ideas come together in a cohesive whole that feels absolutely satisfying to play. The overhauled weapons are improvements over what you fired in the past games.
After charging through the first few hours of the game I can’t wait to play the rest, and the game is exceeding my lofty expectations after playing the creepy riverboat sequence from the Battle: Los Angeles Blu-ray. The pacing, weapons, enemy placement, and setting all click in a way that you rarely see in shooters these days, and that makes Resistance 3 a very special game.
Resistance 3 is coming to the PlayStation 3 on September 9. I played the game using the controller, although the game supports the PlayStation Move.