I kept thinking, “The game is about to come together.” I was sure that the next alien I shot would be the one that would transform Resistance 3 into the eye-popping, controller-clutching game that started the franchise. In Resistance, I was thrust into a human-alien war that displayed all of the PlayStation 3’s strengths. I could see for what seemed like miles. More importantly, I could shoot for what seemed like miles. Most important of all was that I could shoot the tubes on an alien’s backpack from miles away and watch him spin out of control as his cooling system stopped working and his overactive alien metabolism cooked him alive.
As I played Resistance 3, I kept waiting for the action to start flowing. The first Resistance had moved me rapidly from huge outdoor battlegrounds to tight, twisting interior corridors. I was always changing tactics because the ground I was fighting on was always changing. But, for the most part, Resistance 3 never deployed as much variety. Many of the open-air fights took place in courtyards instead of countrysides. And the close-combat fights usually seemed to happen in a grid of rooms.
But I was sure that everything would add up.
As I accumulated more weapons, I began to notice that each of my enemies matched a specific type of weapon. The big hulking dark blue aliens would go down easily with two or three swings of my sledgehammer. And the diseased, zombie-like feral aliens died best with a shotgun blast — their heads would turn into fountains of gore and they would flop around before collapsing into heaps. Eventually, this started to seem like a grand, elaborate game of “rock-paper-scissors.”
I continued hoping that Resistance 3 would be as remarkable as the first Resistance. The pacing was good — a few scattered individual aliens, then a cluster, and then perhaps a storm arriving from a dropship. I fought my way out of a prison that the prisoners had overtaken. And I hustled through a Pennsylvania coal mine after fighting a huge, bug-like alien that only ever looked like a giant head to me, since I never saw the beast outside of the mining tunnels.
I had an enjoyable time blasting my way through Resistance 3. But I kept thinking that the game would merge into something greater than the sum of its parts. I was still thinking that three-quarters of the way through a 20-chapter game.
THE GOOD: The mix of weapons from standard rifles to ice guns to weapons that fling disease-spreading globules is fun to experiment with. While not all weapons are effective on every alien, there is enough variety in both weaponry and targetry to keep the shooting from seeming monotonous.
THE BAD: Too often, I was aware that I was missing an alien, but they were still being hit. While I’m willing to make some concession for the spread of bullets (as well as take some credit for being a better shot than I thought), too often it felt like I was being rewarded for shooting my targets’ auras instead of their bodies.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Resistance 3 has all the pieces of a great shooter, but resists coming together.