- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For gamers, let’s call watching the Blu-ray release of Battle: Los Angeles (Sony Home Entertainment, SCEA and Insomniac Games, reviewed for PlayStation 3, rated: R, $38.96) simply a distraction to the real meat on the disc, a demo to the upcoming, first-person shooting epic Resistance 3.

However, since the movie is hogging up space, we might as well first warm up to this assault on the senses starring Aaron Eckhart as misunderstood Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz.

The action offers a magnificent lack of substance, gratuitously spread out over two hours as it covers a very hostile, extraterrestrial invasion of Santa Monica.

Revealed through many a shaky camera and a group of energetic marines, it makes “Independence Day” worthy of an Academy Award.

I’d liken the movie to a video game but even gaming has evolved to a higher level of visual, story and character sophistication.

Now, focus on the extra on the Blu-ray disc that absolutely competes with, and outshines, the main event.

Download to your PlayStation 3 hard drive the single-player Resistance 3 demo and become part of a nearly unwinnable war against a parasitic alien species called the Chimera that has conquered the United States.

As the tragic hero, Joseph Capelli (who looks like a haggard Hugh Jackman), the player finds himself in 1957 and on a riverboat controlled by familiar Russian scientist Dr. Fyodor Malikov.

With creepy chatter from survivors reporting in through radio transmissions as a mood setter, they move through a flooded town to the Mississippi river and try to hold off attacks by Chimeran forces.

It’s basically an on-rails “War of the Worlds” theme-park ride aboard a fishing boat that Captain (“Jaws”) Quint would feel comfortable aboard, except Joseph is packing some major heat.

He can select from five weapons (accessed via a handy circular navigation menu). They include the high-powered Auger rifle with a thermal visor (see through walls), a 44 Magnum pistol (“make my day”) and a modified Rossmore shotgun that fires a blast of buckshot or concussion grenades.

Moments to notice in battle include admiring the carcass of a kraken (with innards exposed), knocking ice off of the vessel, fighting off Chimeran Longlegs and Grims (humanoid mutant minions), fending off aerial assaults from Shock Drones and encounters with the multi-story Goliaths (look out for those missile batteries).

Make it through the gantlet and to the outskirts of St. Louis to view a trailer starring, I believe, a Chimeran Cave Troll in armor.

It’s about 30 minutes of non-stop action that should whet the appetites of gamers anticipating a September release of the full version of Resistance 3.