A group of three designers working on Resistance 3 described the game as a combination of the movies The Road and District 9 in response to a fan question at Insomniac's recent community day. That makes this third chapter in the series quite a departure from its predecessors. Both Resistance 1 and 2 focused on the large-scale military struggle as humanity sought to fend off the alien Chimeran conversion sweeping the globe. The hero of those games, Nathan Hale, met his demise at the end of Resistance 2.
Resistance 3 picks up four years later, and it's grimly apparent that humanity has been all but wiped out. Hale's former comrade in arms Joseph Capelli takes over the central role, though from the state of things it's hard to imagine his future as heroic. The game follows his trek across a devastated America as he heads from Haven, OK. to New York City on what sounds like one final, fateful mission.
With the aim of doing a few things really well, substantial changes also come to the design of Resistance 3. As we learned in our multiplayer preview, gone is the massive 60-player online mode in favor of more intimate matches that range up to a maximum of eight on eight. Also out is the separate co-op campaign with its innovative dynamically generated mission objectives. In its place, though, co-op for the entire single-player campaign--like the original game had--makes a return. And while that co-op partner is not tied strongly into the storyline, the designers do promise to include unique support mechanics that take advantage of playing with a friend.
If the Junkyard area I got a chance to play is indicative of the rest of the game, much of the design harkens back to the first Resistance. As fans were excited to learn, the weapon wheel from the original is back, allowing Capelli access to his full arsenal at any time as opposed to just the two guns on his back. Better yet, the portion of the level I played had the open, play how you will feel that made putting all those weapons to good use so satisfying.
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As the video of the Junkyard area I played shows, waves of Chimera attack from every direction. The size of the area in play is initially deceptive. Every ledge and firing position the Chimera attack from can be reached, and tactically need to be as the orientation of the fighting changes over the course of the battle.
In the ongoing rotation as the fight moved around the Junkyard, I used different weapons as best suited the situation. Caught out in the open, with wrecks to take cover behind, I used the Bullseye to tag the new 'Long Legs' Chimera that leap around and then hit them with a barrage from behind cover. When the Steelheads with their Augers showed up, I countered in kind, staying in cover and trying to catch them at range.
I set the difficulty to hard for this play through to get a sense for how AI tuning was coming along. For Resistance 3, all enemies use a 'job' system that gives them a set of priorities and then turns them loose in the fight. This adaptability was most noticeable in my climactic fight with the hulk. If I let myself get caught flat footed he would charge me and hit hard with his ground pounding attack. But when I went for higher perches to get a shot on him, he retreated, picked up the wrecks from around the yard, and hurled them at me to knock me out of my position. Though defeating him boiled down to shoot the hot spots, the dance to do so struck a nice balance of maneuvering around the environment and setting up the right shot with the right gun.
Later in the evening Insomniac also showed the bayou boat ride level that originally appeared in the Game Informer preview of the game. It highlights what the designers termed "environmental storytelling." This is their way of telling the story without having a narrator drone on throughout the game. So, for instance, as the boat passes through the flooded city there are remnants of Christmas decorations about--a tree still tied to the top of a station wagon, a Santa figure on top of a store, and so forth--that drive home how quickly everything came crashing down.
From these two sections, I get the sense that the way Resistance 3 starts with the premise of "we've utterly lost" and then takes the player across the country to really bear witness to the crushing nature of the defeat could tell a powerful story. And the designers did say during the question and answer session that they plan to solve several of the mysteries about the Chimera and what has been happening over the course of the game. At the very least, with the full compliment of weapons back at my command I'm ready to see more of what the road to New York holds in store.