Note: this preview contains Resistance series spoilers.
If there’s one thing that this latest build of Resistance 3 demonstrates it’s that Capelli’s actually a far more likeable and rounded character than Hale ever was. Sure, you might have finished Resistance 2 with a rather bitter taste in your mouth giving the actions of the aforementioned, but here – in Earth’s last desperate attempt to stay alive – he’s a family man, he’s flawed, he’s human. And that singular trait alone means more to me than anything else.
Sure, I might be alone in this, and Hale’s definitely got his fanbase, but the legions of Resistance fans can down pitchforks – Resistance 3 is all good, Capelli included.
Of course, you don’t get to stay hidden for long, and shooting, thankfully, is something Resistance 3 still excels at. Playing through the build, which spanned a good chunk of the game (and lasted just over two hours) I was constantly reminded why I enjoyed Insomniac’s FPS series so much: the gameplay’s incredibly diverse given the genre, the weapon range superbly balanced and – this time around especially – a batch of enemies that for once actually play hard, especially on either of the levels above the rather simplistic ‘casual’.
It’s this mixing up of pacing that works so well: the game literally throws you in at the deep end after a brief bout of the usual weapon training, forced to battle a hulking, lethal Stalker with nothing but a couple of buddies, an ice cream shop, a handful of EMP grenades and a Bullseye for protection before whisking you off to a sneaky two man covert sniper mission and then a desperate attempt to regroup and protect your family under the formidable shadow of a Goliath and a devasting Terraformer. And that’s just the first hour.
Naturally, nobody’s expecting the boys from Burbank to walk away with any scriptwriting awards, this isn’t particularly strong storytelling, the game preferring to keep exposition brief whilst letting the game breathe at key points (like a slightly lethargic section on board a boat on the Mississippi) when it needs to. The rest of the time you’ll be running, gunning and grinning your way across the States, heading east towards your ultimate goal of New York.[drop2]The reasons why you’re heading to the Big Apple are a little spoilerish even for a hands on like this, suffice to say a new character you meet has great plans to save the race and you don’t really have much choice in the matter. Along the way eastwards you’ll meet a group of battle-hardened mercenaries dubbed ‘Remnants’, jump across trains and pull levers in a deserted coal yard and then feel like you’re in Doom, torch equipped and blasting leaping Chimera at close range with a shotgun. Resistance 3, if nothing else, likes to keep you on your toes, and you can’t help but be reminded of a certain Valve title here and there.
The really clever thing, though, and the bit that really sets this game apart from other shooters, is that weaponry. By ensuring that there’s little overlap in purpose (and strength) even the starter guns are essential throughout the game, and the intuitive leveling up system (which promotes active use of all your arsenal and grants each item extra power-ups and abilities the more you use it) means that the weapon wheel (which pauses the game whilst you pick another gun) will see plenty of use. The Bulleye’s still a favourite (tagging the new leaping Long Legs enemies is a joy) but the Auger feels more punchy and dramatic and the Atomizer, a new close range electric weapon that’s deadly against flesh, is an absolute blast.
I had great fun with Resistance 3. It’s not the best looking game on the platform by some distance but the often simple scenery and low-res textures mean the game can shove around plenty of Chimera and lots of destruction whilst keeping the frame rate nice and smooth, and that’s much more important to me than a display so full of post processing the and fancy effects action drags to a halt constantly. The sound was a little buggy in this build: the guns sounded amazing but the lip syncing was way off – we’re assured that’ll all be fixed in due course.
I can’t wait to play more, I really can’t – and for me, that’s something I rarely leave a game thinking. I’m intrigued to know where the adventure’s going next and I’m keen to see what surprises Insomniac have up their sleeve.