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PostSubject: Resistance 3 Preview   Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:36 am

Fall of Man traced Nathan Hale's rise as a hero while humanity was busy descending into chaos; its sequel, Resistance 2, continued on that downward spiral, looking at his downfall in a war-torn America. The premise of the game was grim, but there were grim issues that stretched beyond that. Despite some decent praise from critics when the game was released, there was another cloud hanging overhead in the shape of a disappointed fanbase. Cloudier yet was a comment from Senior community manager James Stevenson of Insomniac, calling the game itself a "failure".

But there are plenty of murmurs that Resistance 3 is a redemption for the series, and it's essentially an attempt to return to form. Since Fall of Man saw to an assault on the North of England -something even the Church of England got hot about when the fight came to Manchester Cathedral - Insomniac has been honing its skills in creating recognisable environments transformed by war. R3 follows those steps with a broken America. The game focuses on the fight at home as pockets of survivors take up arms in an alternate 1950s universe; a much more eroded 1950s universe than what we saw last time around.

Taking place in Haven, Oklahoma, it's clear that the atmosphere of the first title is back in effect. Four years after the conclusion of Resistance 2 we're now taking on the role of the dishonourably discharged Sentinel Joseph Capelli. Along with a small group of survivors, you are in hiding from the Chimeran invaders who have devastated the States. As things continue to collapse scientist Fyodor Malikov tracks Capelli down with a plan to take out the Chimeran force, and that involves travelling cross-country to New York City.

It's a mouthful of a plotline, carried by a grittiness that was never as pronounced in the previous games. The Haven Town Defence demo shows you a desolate, tornado-blown Oklahoma with the look of a state-wide junkyard. Wind gushes through broken phone lines and dust rushes past your screen, turning everything a sunburnt sepia tone. It's a recipe for an alienated Western ghost town that just hints at the destruction throughout the rest of the state. Look straight ahead and you get a horizon filled with visual references to the era: broken 1950s-styled advertisements are strewn about town, giving the game a legitimate sense of time. Look up and you start to see the size and cinematic scale of the game - an enormous maelstrom of day-glow lighting and particle effects and drop ships. It's big, and it feels big, and as the ships begin to drop off reams of Chimera you immediately feel the size of the problem you're dealing with.

While still relatively linear in terms of level design, the dumping of the Chimera into your open town means you are forced to quickly move through the main square, using stacks of tyres for cover. Typically you'll find yourself surrounded, so fast-paced movement is your friend. Also on your side is a new level-up ability that rewards you for being loyal to a certain weapon. Weapon level-ups automatically upgrade your gun's fire power as you accumulate kills. So, choose a favourite and stick with it - whether it's your old friend the Marksman heavy rifle, which volleys off slugs which tear through the Chimera ranks, to your old friend the Bullseye, the Chimera's standard issue laser weapon that tags enemies and lets you hit them even if objects are blocking your view. New weapons include the Mutator, which sprays a mist that peppers the Chimera with infectious cysts. Secondary fire is still available, creating anything from a chain-reaction of explosions to protective force fields, but when in doubt you can melee kill when ammo runs low.

The result is a hand-numbingly fast-paced affair as you fight alongside the remaining small-town Oklahomans to take out the waves of incoming foes. As you defeat the first wave of Chimera another comes on its tail; a slightly newer variety this time. The Long Legs are true enough to their name. They can leap and are much quicker than their friends, and with standard Chimeran troops continuing to push through while hiding behind their shields, you're dealing with even more of an endless array of enemies. The demo's climax is the introduction of the Brawler: an enormous, car-hurling thing who pounds through your cover like it's wet paper, and who swings across large buildings like some kind of knuckle-dragging alien gorilla.

The game continues to push new enemies at you within this tornado scrapyard of a town, but it still makes room for a few old, returning features from Fall of Man. Like we last saw in the original title, the game will include two-player online and local split-screen co-op. The weapon wheel has also made a return, meaning you won't be limited to two weapons as you were in Resistance 2. Particular guns are better suited for specific enemies, and this is something you'll catch on to quickly enough; when a fast and raging Long Leg comes into view the weapon wheel is nothing if not a godsend as you quickly switch to the Bullseye. Generally speaking Resistance 3 is an effort in combining the new with what worked in the first title, so it's only a matter of time before we get to see whether the game does the original proud.
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