Why Resistance 3 should be perfection, OR; A postmortem of Resistance PS3 to date
Resistance 3 is happening, we've seen the logo which will be conveniently placed as product placement in a movie, we know, in a cryptic way Resistance 3 is happening and in plot the odds will be huge and it might be set in New York.
To put it straight, Resistance and R2 have both been distinctly average games, it doesn't feel like the same amount of care as the Ratchet series has been put into the Resistance series by Insomniac, they are far better at cartoony, humourous universes with great characters. The things that carry Resistance as a franchise is the alternative universe it's set in and the weapons. I certainly don't think people play it for plot or to emotionally engage with the characters.
Summing Up Resistance: Fall of Man
When I first played Resistance: Fall of man, I felt I was playing some mad hybrid of Medal of Honor (original series), Halo and Ratchet and Clank. The game seemed stale at first especially the first few small scale levels, aside from weapons such as the Bullseye and Auger, I mainly played it because it was set in Britain, the country where I live, but as you progressed, the campaign was full of epic battlefields filled with mines and trenches which really felt like it was in an alternative history where World War 2 didn't happen. You could easily kill 200 enemies in a area and not even realise. Sometimes we were talking Serious Sam level of enemies and you had to be strategical in how you slayed them all, or just plain luck because of the unique health segments which a slightly depleted block charged back up, that itself, an innovation.
You had the weapon wheel which kept familiarity of the same kind of quick select weapon as the Ratchet and Clank series, it was odd to have a game that could allow you to keep so many weapons and you could clearly see some variations of the dark designs of enemies from R&C and Gladiator/Deadlocked throughout the game.
The vehicle sections were also most brilliant and Resistance:FoM has one of the rare split screen experiences of a Sony franchise on the PS3. However, Resistance:FoM didn't look that much better than an Original Xbox game, or a kitted out PC in 2004 and by the time I played Resistance: FoM it was 3 years later. The textures were pretty bad when you went up close and foliage and trees looked unrealistic. It felt rushed in the early stages of the game only for the textures to look better each level, only halfway through it started looking like it should have been at the start. The plot was also a bit desirable as it really didn't explain much, but had some interesting cryptic characters, including the lead; Nathan Hale.
The multiplayer was a bit of a free for all and just took advantage of the crazy weapons Insomniac created for the game, it wasn't up to much, except excellent methods of killing and large scale combat on a console and obviously it was PS3s first real killer app for PSN to show the online system working and it did brilliantly.
A year later came the first Ratchet for PS3 continuing the PS2 series. It looked great and Insomniac seemed more suited for the cartoon design than tackling realism like in Resistance. Around the same time Uncharted: Drake's Fortune came out and was the real game to show the PS3s raw power.
Resistance 2: 'Alternative Universe Warfare'
Jump forward a year and Resistance 2 appeared, it had blockbuster scripted moments from the get go and swapped health segments for recharging health which explained in the plot, it was made to echo the recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare than being Medal of Honor as last time and used the Halo 'two weapons or swap' game mechanic.
The game was epic and the Cloverfield sized monster we saw at E3, just turned out to be a rather lame scripted boss. But it was the pure scale of it all and the ambition that Insomniac had which made it so great and the textures were far better this time around, additionally there was much more colour than just being grey as with the last game.
Playing through again recently, there is still some brilliant vistas, sets and skyboxes, like when you walk out of the Sentinel base and see the city under attack by huge diamond shaped ships against a blood red background, another notable piece of art design is when on a chimeras ship, the glow effects and lighting are amazing in the open areas. The water effects were also brilliant as the ripples followed your feet, however, the models of the human characters felt rushed when seen as NPCs up close and the same for the MP models.
Unfortunately on my original play through in 2008 the game originally had bugs when grims appeared running at you from freshly hatched cocoons, often crashing the machine. An amazing number of enemies on screen take place when you have the blade dicer in Chicago and Insomniac even took some platforming into the game at this point with seemingly Halflife inspired first person jumping puzzles around obstacles and deadly water. A great game that got better with the familiar battlefields as in FoM, the game also had an complete twist right at the end of the game which will certainly impact the future of the Resistance series on PS3.
Speaking of lots of enemies, the Left 4 Dead like co-op mode was amazing fun and one of the best online experiences on PS3 since Warhawk when it came out. The game gave you XP in most modes in the game, even SP, and that could be tacked on to you in online games to level you up, the competitive mode was and is still great and easier to sink into than a game of Killzone 2 and had a great number of players in each server. R2 set the future standard for features and content for value in an MP and SP packages on PS3.
Resistance 3: Rise of Man?
Looking back, it was a bit unfair for Resistance 2 to be made around the same time as Killzone 2 as it had a very small amount of time until another Sony sci-fi themed FPS that this time was utterly amazing in the graphic department came out.
With Insomniac having a full year and a half to get feedback on the previous Resistance games, particularly R2 and the juggernaut MP features and graphics that Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2 have. Insomniac has a great lot to work into with Resistance 3 and the last Ratchet game (ACiT) looked and behaved amazingly.
In theory, if you blended the both of R:FoM and R2, you could have the perfect sci-fi FPS and judging by the end of R2, to game could be so completely epic and almost be a reboot from the previous two developed by Insomniac. It needs segmented health, more character interaction, add vehicle sections again, bring back the weapon wheel and more insane weapons than ever and even more maddening, transformed twisted, but still recognisable landscapes. Throw in the cinema editor of Uncharted 2 and the game modes and graphical intensity of Killzone 2, Insomniac are going to have a show stopping game for what could could be the end of an slightly-unsure-of-itself franchise, which tried to be everything in each installment to date. Although it's confusion, I can help but LOVE the Resistance franchise and is the nearest to Halo anyone will ever be, meanwhile being completely different.
I think that Insomniac can deliver that without the pressure of another strict Ratchet game the year after and a with a second studio, perhaps a new engine, Insomniac can finally make Resistance finally find itself, I think that's completely possible by the end of this year if the same Insomniac production pattern continues, do you?