But in spite of (or perhaps by virtue of) that familiarity, the encounter design in Resistance 3 stands out as some of the best in any shooter I've played. The original Resistance was defined its arsenal, providing progressively more challenging firefights that tested my ability to put them all to use in order to survive. Resistance 3 repeats that formula, and then builds on it with a design that rewards tactical thinking. While it follows an obvious pattern of doling out new weapons one at a time, no situation felt like an unnatural setup just to get me to use a particular weapon in a certain way. Quite to the contrary, the firefights are satisfying precisely because success comes by juggling all the tools at your disposal. There's no "right" way of winning a battle. I could just as easily have approach a scenario from a whole other approach and win. I was thinking about everything in the heat of the moment: ammo levels, primary and secondary fire for each of my weapons and where I might put them to best use, and the same for my grenades. Excellent level design is what enables such satisfyingly flexible gameplay. Quite often I'd start with one tactic. For example, picking off a few enemies at range, only to then lay a little ambush, lure some into it, thin out their ranks, and then find a way to flank the remaining enemies to mop up. It worked so well that, for the first time in a long while, I got to the end of the single-player campaign and wanted more, a lot more. BOOM video 10358 That the entire campaign can be played co-op only adds to the appeal of making another run through Resistance 3. The design makes no compromises for playing with a second person nor does it include any staged events that feel tacked on. I did hit a couple spots where playing with a partner wasn't quite as smooth of an experience as tackling the same section solo, but it felt like a good tradeoff. I'll come back for multiplayer too, but more as a change of pace than my mainstay. It's fun enough to run around and shoot it up with the various guns, but the tactical element they introduce that makes the campaign so fun doesn't translate to multiplayer. When used outside the carefully designed single-player experience, weapon imbalances are noticeable. Kill streak bonuses and special perks earned by players as they gain levels online only exacerbate the problems. These issues conspire to make early goings online an especially frustrating experience. These rough patches won't completely dissuade me, though, because when it comes down to it I want to play more Resistance 3. Whether it's another run through the game at a harder difficulty, or co-op, or multiplayer, I'll definitely be playing more. That's the surest sign of its success and the reason I have no hesitation saying that Resistance 3 now holds the crown as the best PS3 exclusive shooter.