*WARNING: CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS RELATING TO THE OVERARCHING NARRATIVE OF THE RESISTANCE SERIES*
This time around the story focuses on Joseph Capelli... famous now for busting a cap in the face of the interesting protagonist. While the alternate history narrative of this series is mildly clever, I did find Nathan Hale's story at least sympathetic. Joe's story, on the other hand, is wholly predictable. Something about protecting his family and dying son... I can't really remember... what does that tell you? The basic thrust of the narrative is that he needs to get across the entire country that is crawling with alien troops, make it all the way to New York, and destroy a tower that is somehow pivotal to the Chimeran invasion... all on his lonesome.
It's almost silly really... I would have loved a little cutscene whenever you die that shows your wife and son crying as the Chimeran forces eradicate humanity and your corpse bloats in some roadside ditch... you know, just to drive home the point that you are the only possible person who can take on an entire alien invasion force. It's bland, isn't remotely engaging, and worst of all, it's boring.
In fact, the story is without a doubt Resistance 3's biggest fault. It's a fairly functional first person shooter with some fun guns to play with. But what surprised me most about Resistance 3 is the great pacing. This isn't normally something I pay much attention to (unless, of course, it's poor pacing, then I'll bitch about it), but with Resistance 3, each battle was intense and harrowing. Picking and choosing the right weapon for the right situation becomes increasingly important. Ammo is nearly always at a premium, and as a result, ammo conservation is something to consider. Sticking with just one weapon isn't a viable strategy as you will undoubtedly run out of bullets. While the battles are predictably scripted I found they were well balanced, striking that happy chord between being too challenging and just challenging enough.
However, there are some pretty major changes to the series apart from adding a protagonist with all the personality of Swiss cheese that was left out on the counter. Firstly, there is no regenerating health system this time around, so you need to keep your eyes peeled for health packs. They are common enough that it's not usually too much of a worry. However, considering that nearly every shooter has gone the unfortunate route of allowing us to magically recover from multiple gunshot wounds by awkwardly crouching behind the nearest row of petunias, Resistance 3's health system feels almost nostalgic... and for me that's a good thing. Of course, that's not to say I didn't find myself wishing for some extra health or more cover from time to time.
The other big change from Resistance 2 is the return of the weapon wheel... that's right folks, it's back! Without a doubt the main draw of this series are the cool weapons you get to choose from. Both the alien and human arsenal (introduced in the first game) are fun and easy to use, not to mention having practical applications on the battlefield. As you found a new weapon it was added to the now infamous "weapon wheel," and you could pick and choose your weapon based on ammo availability and context. In a rather bizarre choice (possibly brought on by the idea of a single soldier carrying enough weapons to occupy Paris without suffering from the worst shin splints imaginable), this was removed from the sequel. Enough people bitched about this that it was brought back (sound the trumpets!) for the third installment, and I, for one, am grateful.
I encountered some odd glitches with Resistance 3. There was one level where the water effects got messed up. It kept rising and falling in an underground corridor. It was very weird, like watching the tide come in while pushing fast-forward. There were also some progression issues. At one point I actually had to re-load a previous save because the door I was supposed to go through wouldn't open. From what I've read, other people have had to deal with similar problems. It's disappointing; it sure seems like a lot of these technical flaws should have been ironed out during the test phase.
There are some other minor, nit-picky complaints. The boss fights aren't nearly as good as they were in Resistance 2. There is a weird dichotomy with some of the level design. Some of it is good, but at other times, it's terrible. The checkpoints attempt to straddle that border between saving too often (and making the game too easy) and too far apart (making repeating long stretches increasingly frustrating).
I played a bit of the multiplayer for Resistance 3, and it's pretty straightforward as these things go. Of course, after the debacle that was Resistance 2's multiplayer, going back to the industry standard formula seemed like the safe bet. For those who didn't play it there were three different classes you could use, but you really needed all three to be able to do much... so if you only have one friend (like me) that you were kind of out of luck. However, while they fixed that glaring (and stupid) mistake from the last game, the simple fact of the matter is that Resistance 3's multiplayer is cloned directly from the more popular shooter franchises. When I tried to play the online, others had apparently realized this as well... no one was playing Resistance 3! After a couple of matches I came to the same conclusion that apparently everyone else already had... so I went and played Halo and Battlefield 3 online instead. That speaks volumes right there.
The truth is I actually enjoyed Resistance 3 more than I thought I would. The previous titles in the series were decent, but to be honest there were far better games out there. Sadly, Resistance 3 chose to release at the same time as the plethora of other top notch games and sequels that came out last fall. As a result, it kind of got lost in the shuffle. When held up against the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield, and it's main rival, Gears of War, well... Resistance 3 is the worst of the bunch. But when taken on its own merits, this latest (and last?) installment is worth checking out, especially if you played (and at all enjoyed) the rest of the series.
Score = 7.6 / 10