Earth’s cities lie silent. Mankind teeters on the brink of extinction. The Chimera have won. Six years after the Chimera invaded in Resistance: Fall of Man, Resistance 3 depicts a bleak world where the survivors have laid down their weapons and curled into seclusion to await the inevitable.
One such survivor is Joseph Capelli, last seen (spoiler!) executing series frontman Nathan Hale at the conclusion of Resistance 2. With Resistance 3’s narrative focus shifting from military might to hometown heroism, the gaunt-looking Capelli stands in stark contrast to Resistance 2’s square-jawed super soldier. Having abandoned the fight to be with his wife and child, Capelli holes up in rural Oklahoma to evade Chimeran raiders and scavenge for ever-dwindling supplies. A chance visit by xenobiologist Dr. Fyodor Malikov reveals a desperate plan to destroy the Chimera in New York City, sparking a road trip through an American heartland warped by the Chimera’s corrosive influence.
Resistance 3’s campaign combat emphasizes hit-and-run guerrilla tactics amidst complex, nonlinear environments. I watched a scenario set on the decidedly unpleasant Mt. Pleasant, where Capelli scrambles to evade his pursuers in the woodlands of rural Pennsylvania. Mt. Pleasant’s deep blue hues and oppressive drizzle conceal unseen threats: Invisible Chimeran snipers. This sniper scenario serves as a handy demonstration of Resistance 3’s new artificial intelligence system, which grants the Chimera more predatory behavior and the ability to accept different “jobs” — offense, defense, scouting and more. The result are action sequences that play out in very different ways depending on the player’s tactics.
Mt. Pleasant’s stark atmosphere and stealthy shootouts are a radical departure from the opening act set in Haven, Oklahoma, which showcases a full Chimera assault amidst dramatic hurricane-strength winds. Later in the game, Capelli takes a slow, suspenseful boat ride down a flooded Mississippi River en route to St. Louis. A cursory examination of Resistance 3’s varied locales proves that the ever-industrious Chimera haven’t wasted any time settling into their new home. Unearthly Chimeran flora, such as explosive “blast roots,” flourish in the frigid climate produced by the Chimera’s terraforming technology. Physically, the Chimera continue to evolve with new strains such as nimble Longlegs and the hulking Brawler. The titanic arachnoid Widowmaker from Resistance: Fall of Man also makes its long-awaited return. Capelli’s journey will not be an easy one.
Tools of Destruction
Luckily, Capelli will be packing a full arsenal of human and Chimera firearms to help even the odds. To the delight of series fans, Resistance 3 will once again allow you to carry more than two weapons at a time via a quick-access weapon wheel. What’s more, those weapons are feeling weightier and deadlier than in any of the previous games. “We rebuilt all of the guns, everything from the audio effects to the feel of the iron sights,” lead designer Drew Murray says. It shows. The Carbine boasts increased damage and range but a slightly lower rate of fire; the Marksman rifle can deploy a micro-turret to provide cover fire; the Bulleye rips enemies apart with its blistering volley of projectiles. What’s more, you can unlock a series of upgrades that will improve the weapon’s effectiveness in multiple ways, from incendiary shells for the Rossmore shotgun to cluster bombs for the Magnum. You’ll earn progress toward your weapon’s next upgrade with repeated use, so it may pay to specialize.
In playing Resistance 3′s campaign, I was most struck by the detail and diversity of the environments, the power of the redesigned weapons, and the variety in game pacing. I also liked how Capelli’s hands reached out to physically interact with props, such as tugging open a stubborn door or bludgeoning an enemy during a melee struggle. I’m also curious to experience the game in 3D using PlayStation Move.
Survival of the Fittest
Resistance 3’s eight-on-eight multiplayer mode extends the battle to an international stage, with human and Chimera teams battling in exotic locales from Columbia to The Republic of Chad in Africa. I played several rounds of team deathmatch (the final game will include objective-based modes as well) and found that the intimate maps and frenzied yet strategic shootouts lean closer to the feel of the original game. Character progression and customization have been supercharged with abilities that can turn the tables during a heated match. Support abilities such as Ammo Beacon and Lightning Shield will aid your teammates, while tactical abilities such as Dash and Doppelganger can help you outmaneuver opponents. You can also select a personal attribute and combat attribute to further customize your dream multiplayer warrior, whether that means giving birth to vicious Leapers upon death or simply boasting better hip-fire accuracy. And because Resistance 3 doesn’t lock players into cookie-cutter multiplayer classes, custom hybrid characters (sniper-medic, anybody?) are absolutely viable choices. Killstreak bonuses provide extra incentive, dishing out rewards such as high-powered grenade launchers for the humans and optical camouflage for the Chimera.
Resistance 3’s multiplayer beta will go live on PS3 later this year (though if you bought a specially marked copy of SOCOM 4, you’re already ahead of the game). Have questions about the new guerrilla-style combat, the upgraded arsenal or the feel of the controls? Leave them in the comments and I’ll add more details.