What Resistance 3 Could Learn From Two

By Chris Faylor, Oct 16, 2009 7:26am PDT Back when the PlayStation 3 launched in 2006, I went home with two games--Resistance: Fall of Man and Ridge Racer 7. I'd actually been able to beat Resistance and publish my review before its release, but I still wanted a copy for myself.

That's how much I liked Insomniac's alternate history shooter, which saw the England of 1951 besieged by the alien-esque Chimera. That purchase turned out to be a good call, as I've played through the campaign a few more times since then.

And when the sequel hit last fall, I bought it without reservation. Two hours later, all of my excitement had been replaced by frustration, the disc was back in the case and the case was on the shelf--where it would remain for close to a year.

With the recent sign that Resistance 3 is in the works, I opted to give Resistance 2 another chance. After wrapping it up this week, it's safe to say my feelings didn't change much and that I'm hoping Resistance 3 is closer to the first than the second.

Resistance 2 abandoned much of what I loved about the original. Where the first Resistance provided players with a cache of creative weapons and the freedom to experiment with them, Resistance 2 took a more guided and much more linear direction which resulted in a restricted experience that simply wasn't as gratifying.

Instead of tempting me to be creative with multiple approaches to a given situation, much of Resistance 2 felt like an experiment in trial and error to find that one correct approach. Worse, numerous areas featured one-hit kills that forced me to replay a section over and over until I had it memorized.

Resistance: Fall of Man

For example, there was one particular area where I had to get close enough to a foe to "lure" them into a trap three times. If I got too close, it was instant death, meaning that I spent a lot of time trying to do this three times without dying. How much frustration could have been avoided by replacing one-hit kills with more gradual damage, or removing that section all together, I can't even begin to speculate.

There are plenty of other examples. Multiple areas feature invisible foes that kill in one hit. Even better, they appear in groups of twos or threes, meaning I'd take one down, not notice the second, and then keep replaying until I'd memorized their positions. Another area repeatedly forced me to wait while a certain even unfolded and then crushed me to death with falling debris because I zigged when I didn't know to zag.

Another major issue stems from only being able to carry two weapons at once, instead of having an entire cache of weapons available a la the original. That means I was stuck using only the weapons the designers wanted me to, instead of having the freedom and variety of weapons to come up with my own approach.

And while we're on the subject of weapons, Resistance 2 falls short there as well. Part of the fun of the original Resistance was messing around with unconventional weapons--using the Hailstorm to bounce bullets off a wall and around a corner, setting a trap using the explosive sticky goop of the Sapper, that sort of thing.

Resistance 2

Sure, Resistance 2 brought some of them back, such as the Auger that can shoot through walls and the time-slowing Fareye sniper rifle. Not everything made the cut though, and their replacements, like the flying saw blades of the Splicer and the HVAP Wraith minigun, don't really change anything up.

Perhaps most frustrating is that these issues are, at least in hindsight, extremely obvious and could have been avoided with some slight tweaks here and there. It felt like the developers forgot what made the first Resistance so unique, and rather than build upon that, they tried to make a more conventional experience instead.

So please, Insomniac, if it's not too late for some constructive criticism, please take these points into consideration with Resistance 3. Give me the freedom to experiment with a variety of approaches and weapons. Give me more creative weapons.

And above all, please, please don't give me another Resistance 2.

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  • I'm afraid I'm going to have to dissent here. R1 had it's strong points, namely its weapon variety, but the early levels didn't play particularly well, and it did not compare positively to other next generation console shooters. I enjoyed it, but it didn't feel right (for instance, there was no animation from transitioning between the crosshairs and the iron sites -- you just were instantly in iron sites). And the jeep levels were lifted straight from Halo: Combat Evolved, and the tank levels were ripped straight from the Medal of Honor PC games. Maybe PS3 early-adpoters just didn't play a lot of shooters on PC or XBOX, but R1 was decent, though not particularly noteworthy.

    Resistance 2 offered a vast improvement over the original in almost every respect. The level design was much more inspired, the gunplay was refined and the iron sites issue was fixed, and the online play, particularly the coop, is what made R2 stand out amongst its peers. All in all, it had a much better feel than the original -- I know this is subjective, but the original just didn't feel modern to me. It felt like a last-gen Call of Duty console game (not the IW Call of Duty games) with inventive weapons. But hey, I liked the ending, so I'm definitely in the minority of Resistance fans!

  • Well I have to say my experience was kindof the opposite. Resistance 1 was clunky and full of unpolished bits imo. Resistance 2 was much better.

    I think R2 failed on dying, and this one thing would've improved my playthrough experience immensely. Every time you died, it was a heavy somber moment with some repetitive music and a panning camera with a slow fade out that you could not skip. If you died 20 times in the same place trying to get past a difficult encounter, seeing the same heavy handed death sequence over and over (and I still can't get that music out of my head, its awful) nearly caused me to give up. Fix this one thing, and R2 goes from an 80 to a 90 metascore in my view.

    I was pleased and amused with their coop, it was so different from the other 2 games (SP and MP) that its nearly confusing... creating this completely different play experience with levels and unlockables. They shoulda merged SP and coop into the same game. And if anything splitting their attention between 3 distinct game modes (SP, coop and MP) with their own unique content and rules was a design fail of epic proportions. The coop was amusing for a short while, but I think in the end it just took attention off polishing what could have been a better combined SP/coop game.