When Resistance 2 came out, I think everyone can agree it tried to do “too much” with too little development time. It was only two years after Resistance Fall of Man, but they added the class-based multiplayer, upped the competitive multiplayer count to 60, added a completely separate 8 player co-op campaign, and continued the Nathan Hale storyline from the first game in a solo campaign that lasted just as long as the previous game. On paper, Resistance 2 sounded like it would exceed all expectations anyone initially had. The problem? No significant amount of time was put into each mode individually, and they only had 2 years to iron out a game that looked and played almost completely different from the original. Many fans were disappointed.
Fast forward three years and Resistance 3 has finally shown itself. There are a number of notable differences in how Insomniac approached the final chapter to the Resistance trilogy.
The first thing you’ll notice is the improvement in the graphics department (especially in character models) and the wide variety of environments. You will go through areas such as a snow-covered New York City, down a flooded river, through the mountains, a prison, and several others. In each, you can see a great play with their lighting. For example, in the mountains at night, enemy drop ships will shine lights through the trees and fog while they circle a building they think you are hiding in. Take a moment to just watch what happens with the shadows to truly appreciate the amount of effort they put in here. When you are in a dark environment, you auto-start a flashlight which also reacts realistically (and the battery doesn’t die unlike other titles).
While lighting may be one of the game’s greatest visual strengths, there are three pretty big issues I had. First, they add several flat textures to try to mix up the environment. So if you are in a city environment, you could have a small area of your walking path protruding a little higher than surrounding environment to add some terrain diversity. Unfortunately, the texture they slapped on this protrusion to make it look like cracked rocks and rubble looks poorly detailed and is a big slap in the face of the otherwise stunning environmental visuals.
My second minor gripe is the low level of details you usually see in your characters arms. I might have just been spoiled from playing Dead Island right before Resistance 3, but several times (during cut scenes especially), the limbs looked plastic.
The final gripe is how Joseph climbs ladders. Not only is it very robotic, but it jerks around like crazy as well. It’s shocking to go from very fluid gameplay through the entire campaign, but as soon as you hit a ladder, incredible jerkiness.
The campaign is designed to be a somewhat more cinematic experience than the previous two titles. I don’t include story spoilers in my reviews if I can help it, but it is important to note you are not the same character from the first two games (not sure if you remember the end of Resistance 2 or not)! They do handle the hand-off between Nathan Hale (character from the first two) to new protagonist Joseph Capelli very well. Joseph was actually an NPC in Resistance 2, and they use the events from the end of 2 to pass the torch.
Joseph is not popular, no one sees him as a savior like they did with Nathan Hale, and his past haunts him all throughout the storyline. Other elements are handled differently between characters such as how health is managed. In Resistance Fall of Man, Nathan (after the first level) had segments in his health bar. If a segment was completely depleted, he would need to collect a health pack to increase his health. If the segment was only partially depleted, he could take cover and wait for that segment to auto-replenish. In Resistance 2, the health is handled more like Call of Duty or Halo. If you’re injured, take cover and completely recover (which makes sense given the storyline). In Resistance 3, however, Joseph has a health meter with absolutely no auto-regeneration in the entire game. Without the health packs, there is no recovery at all.
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