- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 10, 2011

One of PS3’s most anticipated titles for the year takes players back to the 1950s to conclude a console gaming trilogy and help the human race survive against an alien menace.

Although the story sounds a bit sci-fi generic, the plot to the first-person shooter Resistance 3 (Sony Computer Entertainment America and Insomniac Games, reviewed for PlayStation 3, rated M for Mature, $59.99) actually delivers a dramatic movie quality where a strong, often silent, character, always in dire straits, manage to shine against overwhelming odds.

As dishonorably discharged soldier Joseph Capelli (looking his Hugh Jackman finest), the man who killed our hero Nathan Hale (from the first two Resistance games), a player accepts a mission to escort legendary Chimera vaccine creator Dr. Fyodor Malikov on a journey from Haven, Oklahoma, to New York City.

The Chimera have conquered the Earth and a massive machine at the heart of the crumbling Big Apple holds the key to mankind making one last stand and avoiding extinction, if our beaten heroes can reach it in time.

Think “War of the Worlds,” TNT’s “Falling Skies” and a depressing touch of “The Grapes of Wrath” as the retro design works in tandem with bleak motion comic and computer-generated cut scenes throughout to help relay a 1,200-mile trek across a country loaded with desperation.

During the journey, somber, non-playable characters are always directing Joseph for help or to hold the line as he drops in like Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” to save the day. Collections of recoverable journals, audio tracks, postcards and even heart-tugging material such as a letter to Santa work to pull the story away from the typical shooter fodder.

Of course, this is a shooter, and Joseph is a skilled soldier. So, a player will find delight in using the Chimera’s arsenal against them. The selection and features are daunting, with slots for the collection of a dozen weapons and a host of five grenade types.

Be it an Augur (with the capacity to shoot through obstacles), Bullseye rifle (with energy shield and targeting beam that locks on and shoots hostiles as they move), Mutator (fire a biological package at a foe and watch him boil and explode) or the Atomizer (offering a secondary weapon that acts like a blender with electrical currents for blades), just to name a few, taking out the enemy is the primary joy of the action.

Each free-roaming firefight presents a variety of tactical scenarios due to the generous number of weapons carried, detailed locations to take cover around (bombed out buildings, a maze of train cars, etc.) and lack of health regeneration. That means an attack strategy is as fluid or constrained as a player’s creativity.

The enemy is an unrelenting bunch and if the armored Steelheads don’t induce a stress rash, the occasional 30,000 pound Brawler (Gorilla Grodd meets a Cave Troll to the laymen) or multi-story Widowmaker (don’t get crushed by one of its legs) will shake a gamer’s confidence.

Although, a player will be dealing with shooting and reloading as often as possible, I do ask to take time appreciating the detail and moments in this shattered ecosytem such as encounters with a Grim hive in a barren factory, hybrids gathering in a cornfield, Longlegs jumping off of Christine’s Diner or trying to navigate the frozen tundra of New York.

While I was thrilled with simply making it though the story, fans will appreciate not only the two-player co-operative mode (to try the game again) but also online multiplayer battles.

Featuring a maximum of up to eight human soldiers vs. eight Chimera, the modes include a small variety of death match or capture-the-flag-type competitions set in worldwide locations ranging from a train station in Bogota, Colombia, to a burned-out Main Street in Alice Springs NT (Northern Territory), Australia.

Also in each match, warriors will enjoy the ability to choose different characters and aliens to represent them and customized weapon loads, similar to many multiplayer first person shooters.

And, as customary for the genre, special kill streaks rewards (called berserks) exist and include as a human soldier wearing heavy armor or using shields and as a Chimera turning into a Ravager or using a cloaking device.

Even with the batch of upcoming first-person shooters hitting the market in the next couple of months, Resistance 3 should not soon be forgotten and will continue to invade gamer’s entertainment shelves beyond the holiday season. 

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