... Co-op campaign split-screen or online, multiplayer and an awesome special edition :D
Since I got my Resistance 3 platinum a couple of days ago and reached level 45 in the online multiplayer I feel like I can make a good review.
I never like to make review of games just after a few hours of playing and playing a campaign twice certainly helps understand and appreciate a game even more. The first time you're completely engaged by the game, story etc. The second time you can actually look around you a bit more, looking into things, evaluating artistic or gameplay choices in a less emotional way.
First of all I love co-op campaign so this is always a plus for me especially when it's well implemented, as in this case: in co-op campaign the host plays Joe Capelli (the main character) the second player plays John, his best friend from Haven. While all cut-scenes only include Joe that's not bothering at all.
Some actions require both players to be performing it (like opening door to new game levels) and when one players is actually hurt badly the other can revive it: little things that give meaning to playing the game with a friend.
The campaign is a solid experience, the story does not include any stroke of genius or particular twist but it's well narrated and engaging. It's clean and consistent and presents varied characters with their own personality and way of behaving.
The setting, in the late 50s, is particularly well done, the atmosphere is great and the players can really feel as being part of the environment. There are many different locations and while their look and feel is consistent throughout the game, every place is quite unique and well characterized. For example, the various shelters all have their unique "population" (related to the particular kind of city and community they host), furniture and details.
There's really great attention to details in the environments, you don't see things put around casually and the world really feels like you're passing through it (people talk at you, you're really part of it even though you cannot interact with items - we're still talking FPS here).
The only "weird" thing is going around these shelters carrying large weapons, something you can actually only noticing while playing co-op, it's a bit strange to see you look around a place or at kids playing with the rocket launcher mounted on your shoulder :P.
Something I think it's also been particularly well done is the game pace. We're still talking about an FPS here but you don't just fire and fire in the very same way all the time.
This gameplay variety is achieved in two ways:
First, by giving you many different weapons that require quite a different approach to enemies and situations. Sometimes you'll only have a few weapons at your disposal and need to exploit them at their best.
By and large you won't have tons of ammo so you really have to learn how to take advantage of every weapon main and secondary features. All weapons, in fact, don't just fire, they also have secondary ammo (or abilities) that range from grenades to shields to special tagging.
Let's not forget that Insomiacs is well known for their creativity with weapons (see Ratchet and Clanks) and while remaining true to the setting they created the Chimera alien invasion certainly allowed them to be creative about weapons and give your character very "original" weapons together with the "usual" shotgun, carbine, magnum or sniper rifle (and let's not forget the grenades).
At the end of the game you'll have acquired 12 different weapons that can be accessed through a round menu that's easily accessible and manageable. You'll also end up with 5 grenade types.
Second, there's a great variety of enemies. Chimera really come in many different forms and shapes, from annoying critters (that can even spit at you) to half-flying insectoids to hulking and heavily harmed aliens and let's not forget the very big baddies. Every one of them has their paculiarity as far as style of attack, weaknesses or strengths are concerned. And thanks to the multitude of weapons you can choose a different way to dispose of them.
Also, while this is an FPS with a clear route to follow you're not really on firm tracks, there is space to move around (especially on some screens) you can flank or go behind enemies, you can chose a strategy to some level and, of course, if you're playing in two people, possibilities are even more.
There's also great variety as far as the kind of combat you'll be facing: enemies are never places casually, they always make sense with the kind of infestation you can see on the world around you and you never, ever, have the feel to just be thrown enemies at. I feel this is something particularly important in a game where you, basically, just have to shot your way through.
Sometimes you'll be swarmed by critters, sometimes you'll have to fend off a large wave of enemies sometimes you just have to dispose of veeery big monsters or counter-snipe a squad of chimeras. And you won't just have to deal with chimeras.
The above factors really make the game a complete and varied FPS experience as far as gameplay is concerned.
As I mentioned earlier there was great care put into the world. The graphic compartment of Resistance 3 is absolutely great under all aspects.
First of all the style direction, which is spot on. The environments are quite polished: they're complex and with excellent detail, with tens of items in the scene and the presence of NPC characters (whether they interact with the player or not) adds life to the world. It gives it meaning, it gives you purpose, you keep seeing what you're fighting for. I feel this really succeeds in creating a good background to make the experience more engaging. Sure there is the occasional low-res texture or model but it's definitely far from being a deal-breaker for overall excellent graphics.
The palette is very "'50s", it does feel like a movie set in those years and the mood set is quite grim and "doomed" (you certainly aren't walking through a candyland).
The variety of environments is excellent, you go through villages, natural environments of different kinds, NY and, of course, the alien environment. And all these environments feature a different illumination and weather conditions.
The level design is remarkable, which is especially meaningful in a game that, after all, is linear (being an FPS). And not just the level building per sé (which obviously include enemies and ammo placements etc.) but the very architecture of the level is beautiful.
As I mentioned earlier enemies are also carefully placed and together with ammo and lives contribute to a game that can be challenging (when played at harder difficulties) but never ends up being frustrating: it always keeps a good balance and engagement level. There are no particularly weak or slow moments, in fact, one should also note how well scripted events are integrated into the game. They do not interrupt the action, in fact they add some action and pathos and suck you even more into the environment and story.
Still speaking of graphics a note definitely goes to the illumination in the game: the lighting in Resistance 3 is quite impressive. Very well done as far as the technical aspect is concerned and the emotional too, it certainly contributes to create the perfect mood. Another excellent graphics feature are the effects. The fog is particularly well done, it feel very realistic. Smoke and explosions are also very well executed, they look quite good and realistic. Overall the effects are truly excellent.
And the game certainly isn't short in effects or cinematic moments (whether in game or in cut-scenes). In fact even the various scripted events or cut-scenes, that are very dramatic, show some impressive quality, but that is nothing new for insomniacs, in fact, they've always been quite excellent at this.
The online offers a solid and polished experience.
It has been suffering from bad frame-rate but, at least for me, the latest update has greatly improved it and got rid of most issues. It still isn't perfect but has improved a great deal.
There are 4 loadout types to start with but, already early on, players will unlock several custom loadout to mix weapons and skills as they prefer.
In your loadout you chose a weapon, a grenade type, two active abilities and two passive ones. There are many different abilities that unlock as your level increases. While they tend to be more powerful as you progress (which is fair enough), truth is that various mixes even of earlier abilities can be very effective depending on your playing style. Most of the abilities will always remain useful, especially if they complement your weapons loadout and style of playing / shooting.
There are 6 multiplayer modes to chose from, which are mostly the classic ones and allow for different tactics: deathmatch, team deathmach, capture the flag, breach chainreaction and hardcore (for those that want a "purer" online shooting experience with no weapon upgrades nor abilities).
Kill Streaks are also available and they're certainly cool (especially the last stages) and definitely make you feel powerful! I find that they are nice quite nice without unbalancing the game too much since you need a pretty long streak to unlock the higher rewards and they are pretty limited in time.
Overall one can certainly say that the online experience is action-packed, it is quite frantic, in fact there aren't many idle moments but with all the skills and abilities there certainly is space for tactic and some intriguing combos. The maps are also large enough that you won't end up always having someone behind your back and have various levels if you prefer to hide and do some sniping.
The weapons are the very same you unlock in the game but you have to purchase them. Every weapon only costs 1 point and has two upgrades (that you can buy for 5 and 10 points respectively), these are the same upgrades you unlock in the campaign by using the weapons. Abilities also just cost 1 point but some really become meaningful once you upgrade them (like the radar, for example).
Not all weapon are effective in multiplayer but it certainly is fun experimenting with them, especially with the peculiar ones (like the mutator), and depending on the kind of game you're playing they can still give you satisfaction. You can easily change your loadout in game, when you die, and you can also buy upgrades and abilities, this allows for quick experimenting and is a very handy system.
To those that enjoy playing online shooters I'd certainly recommend Resistance 3 because is a fun and solid experience and a bit different than the usual (which mostly depends on what your usual is).
A new online DLC content is also coming next week, which is a plus, for me, as I don't like waiting months for some online add-on content but rather have more to play with now that I'm still into the game mood!
ENJOY and have fun!