My urge to play Resistance 3 hit full steam after watching Battle For Los Angeles on a plane ride back from PAX 2011. No, it wasn’t because the game was actually advertised on a billboard inside the movie, it was, it was the thematic similarities between the two that fueled my urge. Aliens are invading OUR home, they’ve taken to OUR streets and OUR towns and systematically wiping out the human race. It’s incredibly similar in both the game and movie, but while Battle for LA is all modern day, it’s Resistance 3 that does this theme in style by taking the setting to an alternate 1950s.
The entire first level of Resistance 3 takes place in Oklahoma, you take the role of Joseph Capelli, father and husband, 5 years removed from the soldier he is and the events of Resistance 2. Oklahoma might not seem like a good setting for a sci-fi shooter, but in reality, it’s perhaps the most interesting shooter experience I’ve had in years thanks to impressive visuals and a warm color palette. Your journey will take you through various small towns like this, all with their own distinct look and feel. Whether you are in the factories of St. Louis, riding the Mississippi River, or fighting Chimera mines of a Pennsylvannia town - you never really find yourself in a "traditional sci-fi shooter" environment until the end of the game.
I really want to hammer home that it’s these areas combined with some really stellar pacing that truly make Resistance 3 feel like a fresh shooter. And like any good shooter, you need good guns, thankfully Insomniac delivers on what they are best known for. Unique weapons like the Bullseye, a gun that tags enemies and auto fires machine gun bullets, make a return. But it’s the newer weapons like the Atomizer or Cryogun that really add to the fun. The Atomizer’s secondary fire launches a mini-black hole into the world is my personal favorite and is great when you suddenly find yourself overwhelmed by Chimera. Just by using a weapon you’ll earn XP for it, unlocking two additional levels of features for the gun. For instance the Marksman goes from iron sight aiming to an actual scope, and the shotgun’s damage adds fire to the mix. These weapon upgrades can even carry over to subsequent play throughs.
The other thing that really impressed me with Resistance 3 were the enemies. There's a solid variety of enemies and each one has unique strategies for bringing them down. Some guns work better against enemies, like the Bullseye against the the long leg jumpers. There's also numerous "boss battles" throughout the game with some particularly impressive in scale and tension. All of this is broken up between a variety of missions, including some on rails vehicle missions that involve a boat and a train.