Due for release next month, Insomniac Gameâ€™s Resistance 3 pits Joseph Capelli and whatâ€™s left of the human race against the invading alien Chimera. Itâ€™s the end of the world as we know it and, though the human race is on the brink of extinction and everything is particularly apocalyptic and bleak, itâ€™s not all bad. Because weâ€™ve spent the last week trying out the gameâ€™s great looking and frenetic online multiplayer beta.
While its campaign mode will still be the core of Resistance 3, with all the heroics, desperation and blowing the crap out of alien scum that weâ€™ve come to expect from one of PlayStation 3â€˜s original franchises, the online multiplayer looks to have plenty going for it. Thereâ€™s fast and intense action, heaps of hardware and perks, and a levelling system that means if you get hot early, you will dominate.
Once the beta had loaded, hitting the matchmaking option at the top of the menu quickly took us to the Trainyard in Bogota, Columbia. Although later on there was a bit of hanging around waiting to find games, first time up it took seconds to start playing in an eight on eight, two round game of Team Deathmatch. The Trainyard is one of the two maps available in the beta. Itâ€™s all bright sun and buildings blasted by years of war. A nice contrast to the rainy, grassy Welsh coastal town of Glamorgan that is the betaâ€˜s other map.
Not that there was much time to check out the scenery; if Resistance 3 online is anything, itâ€™s fast. At level one, with a Carbine and little else, death came pretty quickly. In the first round of the match I was on the human side. From the spawn point, I followed out my companions and took up position among a few broken railcars. After scanning the area for any sign of Chimera, I threw a grenade, just to make sure I knew how to do it, and swore, because at level one you only get one grenade. Then a invisible Chimera flickered in front of me and blew my head off with the Rossmore shotgun.
That was lesson one. In Resistance 3, or in the online beta at least, the trick is to get out there and get your first kill quick, so you can start getting the kill streak rewards. At three kills, depending on if you are Human or Chimeran, you can activate a shield or cloak. As you build on the streak you can mutate, access the awesome Auger, which allows you to see and shoot through walls, or get the almost indestructible combat armour.
As well as the kill streak perks, as you level up Resistance 3 also allows you to gain abilities to map onto your d-pad. You have two slots for passive abilities and two for timed, activated abilities. Despite the beta being capped at level twenty, itâ€™s enough to unlock a number of both. While the shield, armour and gunslinger perks do just as advertised, there are also decoys and doppelgangers to get unwanted attention away from you. There are ammo belts, air cooled barrels, and the Strapped perk that lets you carry three different guns. Spotter returns as well, so you can tag an enemy and get XP when someone else kills them. You can also track enemies, check their health with Vital Signs or leave a number of alien bugs to exact revenge after you are killed, with Leaping Corpse.
While the perks are unlocked as you level up, you still need to buy and upgrade them with skill points. As you play you gain medals, ribbons, and skill points, for various achievements. So while difficult tasks like killing someone in combat armour gets you a medal, blocking damage with a bubble shield or killing the same player three times in a row gets you a ribbon. Your skill points also let you buy and upgrade weapons. While you start with standard kits, or Loadouts, like the Carbine carrying Survivor, or Spector with the scoped Deadeye sniper rifle, levelling up also gives you the ability to customise your kits with all the weapons, upgrades and perks you have purchased.
Quick spawns, quick kills and changing kits in the middle of games is what Resistance 3 online is all about. It is all arcade action and little subtlety. This is not a stealthy, teamwork heavy, online shooter. If you head to high ground to snipe, the odds are someone with heat vision, an Auger, and twenty kills will pick you off from the other side of the map before youâ€™ve shot anyone. In the world of Resistance 3, itâ€™s all about getting your kills.
At least this is true of the two modes available in the beta. Although Chain Reaction, where you have to capture five locations in sequence, lends itself more to teamwork. With some players staying back to hold locations while others move on to take the next. Weâ€™ll have to wait to see if Capture the Flag and Breach modes offer a more varied experience. Overall though Resistance 3 online looks like an exciting prospect. Itâ€™s good looking, plays fast and (at this stage) has not got too many problems with connecting to a match or lag. However, over the last week a few matches did freeze, while others ended with everyone getting dropped out - but that's the point of a beta, really, so we can't fault it for that.
In the end though the online portion of Resistance 3, while not groundbreaking, is very enjoyable. Sixteen players, heaps of weapons and perks, death, destruction, and a war ravaged planet. What more could you want?
The Good: Getting on a kill streak.
The Bad: Losing XP because of a game freeze.
The Ugly: The end of the world as we know it.