August 17, 2011

Hands on with Resistance 3

Resistance 3
Gamesugar had the opportunity to attend the Toronto media launch event for Resistance 3 today—an event filled with raging, violent game journos and also some snacks.

The gathering occurred in a darkened cellar that could have easily passed for a bomb shelter, well suited to the chapters of the game I played. These early stages see new protagonist Joseph Capelli battling the Chimera in basements, cellars, and abandoned towns—there has been a clear effort here to ring true to the name “Resistance.” Suburban America has been bled dry, and what few drops of life remain struggle to survive a war that’s seemingly already lost.

Indeed, a more visceral feel permeates the game, especially during combat, with several weapons having been adjusted to feel more weighty and satisfying to fire. Equally, enemies splotch nicely when obliterated, while the player character responds to heavy attacks and falls in a decidedly human fashion.

I happened to overhear Creative Director Marcus Smith explaining that the impetus in Resistance 3 was to create a less superheroic and more human game, which was certainly apparent in the chapters I played.

Resistance 3
Interestingly, Resistance 3 comes with roughly fifty percent less Halo than Resistance 2. The franchise has recovered some of its identity, returning to the weapon wheel and health bar of Resistance: Fall of Man, as opposed to the Halo-esque regeneration and two-weapon loadout of Resistance 2.

Consider: Resistance 2 featured a revolver with rounds that could be detonated after being fired. This seems like a pretty useful feature, but the weapon is hampered by a low ammo count to offset its power. Invariably, this meant that I would forgo the awesome revolver for a decidedly less entertaining (but more well-rounded) weapon, such as the carbine assault rifle.

This has been the downside to the Halo-era two weapon system. Yes, it adds another dimension to gameplay by forcing players to think about the circumstances they may find themselves in and planning their loadout accordingly, but the stark reality is that it means players will always be inclined to pick up general-purpose weapons, like assault rifles and shotguns.

In Resistance 3, the exploding revolver returns—but this time, the weapon wheel means that I can always have it at my side, without compromise; and believe me, I took advantage. A gigantic robotic monkey-alien appeared, and it was then that I understood the time for the exploding revolver had come.

I also had the opportunity to play the game in 3D—my first opportunity to play a videogame of the kind. 3D may be a mere novelty, but it’s an intriguing one. The depth of field is distinctly immersive, enhancing not merely the environment and characters, but the feeling of the weapon on the screen. The “window” effect of 3D is well-suited to the FPS, creating the illusion of depth and physical dimension on the combat field, especially when aiming down the sights.

That said, frame-rate did seem to take a hit in 3D, but not so greatly as to hurt the game.

Resistance 3
My third and final Resistance skirmish played out with the PlayStation Move and the Sharpshooter accessory. The game plays the way you’d expect from any motion controlled shooter, but the Sharpshooter proved to be a little befuddling. As is the standard with such games, the player must aim outside the bounding box in order to turn—and this, combined with the size (and especially the rifle stock) of the Sharpshooter accessory had myself (and several others) turning their bodies in wide arcs to control the movement of the character.

However, Insomniac has incorporated a suite of options for customizing turning speed and the bounding box, so Move players should be able to find their comfort zone.

Resistance 3 looks to be shaping up nicely as a definite improvement over its predecessor—and hopefully a strong game in its own right when it releases on PlayStation 3 September 6.

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