Resistance 3 finds itself emerging into a world where the FPS may well have matured to its pinnacle. Just as the 16-bit era saw innumerable platformers of great quality eat themselves into obsolescence, a similar fate must await the FPS.
From a marketplace perspective, the genre is going strong, but from a creative one - save for a scant few unique experiences - we're approaching a point of near-stagnancy. It's an unenviable position from which to bring yet another sequel.
Of course, the Resistance series itself should carry enough cache to put it near the top of the pile when it comes to new shooters. Its successful blueprint for bullet-based carnage is already set-out. Yet perhaps as a result, this latest iteration does little to truly differentiate itself from the pack.
For all my admiration of the nuts and bolts of the game demoed at Sony's recent PlayStation Experience event, the overriding emotion is one of familiarity. There are some nice little combat flourishes here, but it's a straight-up, extremely well-made taster of things we've seen many times before.
Resistance 3 plonks you into the boots of Sentinel Joseph Capelli. Dishonorably discharged from service following the conclusion of Resistence 2, Capelli has shacked up with a small group of survivors in the appropriately named town of Haven, Oklahoma. While the Chimera have now layed waste to most of the country, Haven offers a small pocket of safety.
Or does it!? Of course it doesn't. Scientist Fyodor Malikov sniffs Capelli out to drag him on a mission to New York and pretty soon there's drop-ships, Chimera, explosions and big-nasty boss-types all over the shop. You're back in the game.
Resistance 3 seems to have taken snarking about the abundance of brown shooters and reacted by making it ultra-super-mega-brown. Haven is a sepia-baked, dusty little town, scattered with brick buildings and outhouses - every blummin inch of which is a murky brown. It's a miracle that Insomniac have managed to squeeze enough visual interest out of it.
But they have. The battle I played through took place amidst a swirling sandstorm, a pathetic fallacy of the fight raging through the town. Throughout, the Chimera pile in, taking placements on roofs and bundling out of doorways to push their ugly mugs into yours. It's frenetic stuff, set against the backdrop of the community's frantic evacuation.
While the environment is relatively small, the combat is actually fairly broad. Rather than force you down corridors, your fight spreads throughout the town, encouraging you to improvise your placements. That Resistance 3 can combine this with a number of scripted moments is testament to Guerrilla's prowess.
As the waves of Chimera continue their invasion, a new enemy is introduced - the 'Long Legs.' This feral, dog-like chap is quick, able to leap from building to building and come crashing down on your head in a split second. They're a far more formidable foe than the standard Chimera.
The best way to off these hybrid monstrosities is to tag them with the Bullseye, then watch as your subsequent fire homes into their ever-changing position. They're tough nuts to crack otherwise, dragging your reticule around the screen as you attempt to keep up.
There's another new enemy too, the hulking great Brawler. Not entirely dissimilar to Gears of War's Brumack, it's a giant, screaming nasty that bursts through cover with ease. Thankfully, however, it has well marked weak points highlighted on its body, targets that help you bring it down. When will bosses ever learn, eh?
Throughout the demo a substantially sped-up levelling system was on show, rewarding you for racking up the kills with each particular weapon. Indeed, weaponry is an area in which Resistance excels.
Alongside familiar stuff like the Marksman heavy rifle, there's new guns like the Mutator, a particularly nasty brute that spews infectious organic cysts, turning Chimera into walking land-mines. It has a secondary fire option too, one that spits a disorientating mist out into the air, leaving enemies bamboozled.
But by far my favourite of the secondary fire options is the one for the HE .44 Magnum. A powerful weapon on its own, it can also be used much like a sticky bomb. Plug a few shells into the torso of a rampaging Chimera and watch him light up with the click of a button, the bullets turning to explosives. It's so, so satisfying.
Like I said in the intro, my taster of Resistance 3 is impressive. Based on the demo there's no question that it will be a competent title, with enough visual flair, diverse weaponry and responsiveness to keep the anticipation levels up. Add to this the prospect of split-screen and online co-op, plus of course online multiplayer and you've got a substantial package. But so far it fails to truly excite.
Perhaps it's because Resistance 3 follows so quickly on the tail of Killzone 3, a game that ticked all the boxes without offering that true spark of inspiration. The worry is that Resistance 3 could fall into the same trap. Will it? We'll just have to wait and see.
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