I was fortunate enough to be flown to New York for a PlayStation preview event just last week. It was for that other Canadian TV job I have, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t share the love with my loyal Lusipurr.com comrades! I saw many games at the event, and even got to try out the PSP2 – which people are still insisting is called the PlayStation Vita – but the game I want to write about the most may surprise you all.
I, Ethan “Ethos” “Ethostar” “Johnny Pipes” “Canadian” Pipher – self-proclaimed Shadow of the Colossus fanboy – do not wish to write about the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection. As a massive Uncharted fan, I have little interest in detailing my experience with Uncharted 3. Even with all the superlatives I continue to throw in Flower‘s direction, I do not even wish to discuss thatgamecompany’s intriguing next project, Journey.
If nothing else, the New York event put Resistance 3 back on my radar. I will admit, I did not expect that.
I played the original Resistance via campaign co-op with my best friend on his PS3. The game itself did not seem that special to me, but I still have a soft spot for it. I was fresh off the heels of a particularly intense breakup and I could not bring myself to talk about it. However, I found I was able to open up to my friend in between blasting aliens in the face. It made it easier to address my feelings while we both stared at a screen and ripped into the Chimera. It was a very therapeutic and memorable experience for me and so when Resistance 2 came out, it was an unspoken acknowledgement that my friend and I would play through it together.
Perhaps we should have done our research because Resistance 2 did not have campaign co-op. We were angry and confused after popping the disc in and finally turned the PS3 off when we concluded that Insomniac had chosen to nix the feature. A few months later I begrudgingly tried the solo campaign and had a decidedly forgettable time with it. Resistance as a series was officially off my radar.
Enter New York. I was making the rounds at all the demos; interviewing developers, shooting footage, taking as many breaks as I could to go back to Shadow of the Colossus HD. I told my cameraman that we probably needed an interview with the Resistance 3 guy because it was a big exclusive franchise for Sony.
Drew, the developer I interviewed, was friendly, charismatic, and genuine. I was grateful for this because it is not always the case when I go on work shoots. I went through the checklist in my head of all the questions I needed to ask, and at the end I selfishly decided to check in about the campaign co-op. Drew told me it was definitely returning. This was the first step in bringing me back. After that, I was not just listening for soundbites that would work well on TV. I became genuinely interested in the game.
After the interview, I got my hands on a controller and started to play. As I splattered Chimera guts, Drew continued talking to me. He detailed the return of the weapon wheel – apparently this was a big deal to fans of the franchise – and was even able to be more honest about Resistance 2 than I expected. He admitted that he understood the lukewarm reception and did not try to pass it off as a misunderstood masterpiece. He mentioned the extra year Insomniac Games took on this title in response, the new weapon leveling-up system, and a few other things. I am vague about the details because I started to fade out a little bit as I realized I was having an incredible amount of fun playing the demo.
This was not the dull enjoyment of other shooter demos either. The controls felt incredibly natural, the weapons were distinct with their pros and cons and individual ways of firing, and although I never left one tiny area I was very excited the entire time. I wanted to employ a plethora of tactics. I wanted to hide from the Chimera, I wanted to snipe them, I wanted to go all Rambo on their asses and mow them down. Each tactic worked too, if executed properly.
I wondered why everything felt so good and I asked Drew about the AI. He told me about developer Insomniac’s focus on making the Chimera feel real. Scripted paths are now replaced with individual personalities. Some of the enemies will be very aggressive, some will be tactical, some might even be wimpy. Perhaps I am not the authority on first person shooters, but it was the freshest feeling shooter I can remember playing. No concept was particularly original, but everything seemed to fall into place perfectly. After my short time with the demo, I was antsy to have the full game in my hands. No other title at the event had such an effect.
My time with Resistance 3 was very short. I did not toy around with the weapon upgrades, I did not fight a boss, and I did not witness any story elements. Perhaps the enemies will not feel quite as alive after more time with the game, but what I do know is that Resistance 3 is now back on my radar as a very strong force. To my surprise, it is the game I anticipate the most this year. All that with couch campaign co-op included.