Aug 11, 2011

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An Hour with Resistance 3 Beta

An Hour with Resistance 3 Beta

It has not been smooth sailing for the development team at Insomniac. Until last night, when a patch finally fixed the matchmaking issue, the only people capable of playing the beta were those who decided to organize themselves on the Resistance 3 forum.  Those individuals, myself, and the rest of the VG staff included, gave out their PSN IDs in the hopes of finding people to play with.  While people were having varying degrees of luck, it is genuinely unfortunate for those who did not get the chance to play a single round before the game’s matchmaking system came a tumblin’ down.  I however, get to reminisce.

When the game was capable of matchmaking, it was an entirely different experience and a much improved Resistance 3 at that. Running at 720p, the Resistance 3 beta isn’t as stunning as its PlayStation 3 exclusive cousins Infamous 2 or Killzone 3, but it looks good and is an improvement from Resistance 2. There are some issues that arise from the beta’s lower resolution.  The blur that consumes the screen as a player is running could possibly drive a few mad, but I did not find it offsetting and was still able to enjoy most of the visuals within the game.

The beta contains two maps, Seaside and Trainyard.  Seaside is set in a very small section of town and aside from the off white wooden buildings, is covered in light greens and bright yellows.  The map itself is moderately enclosed but does offer spots for shootouts across a bridge and a smaller field.  There are ways to avoid these hotspots however, and should a player have the desire to live longer than five seconds, it would be in their interests to utilize building-to-building movements.  Trainyard is much more open and shows the browner/sandier side of Resistance.  Players should not be afraid to explore the map a little and use elevation as an advantage.  Trainyard will be appealing to those with a run-and-gun mentality and I absolutely loved the map.

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Insomniac has included two game modes in the beta, Chain Reaction and Team Deathmatch.  The latter is something every FPS player should be familiar with, the team with the most kills wins at the end of the round.  Chain Reaction requires that players vie for control of locations, similar to capture the flag.  The only thing that really sets these modes apart from any other shooter is the number of players per map, at 8v8.  While this is still a fairly large number of people, it is a downgrade from the 32v32 that was possible in Resistance 2 and the 20v20 possible in Resistance: Fall of Man.  Insomniac has cited the reason for the lower number of players as a desire to help focus the action, but it is still fairly rare to see a developer make a change like this.  Having 31 other players is still fun, and gamers will not spend their time searching an entire map only to find one or two enemies.  The overall pacing, from the modes that have been given to players, shows that it is well done.

Resistance 3 offers quite a variety in the way of weaponry.  The Bullseye has been much improved in the ways of feel and sound.  It felt hollow and weak in Resistance 2, making the use of the gun semi-lame.  Resistance 3 has changed that and the Bullseye quickly became my favorite weapon.  Insomniac has added some heft to the gun and made it sound like a fully-automatic nail gun.  The M5A2 remains mostly unchanged so those with previous Resistance experience will know exactly how to handle it.  Also found in the beta that experienced players should recognize are the Rossmore, Auger, Deadeye, Marksman and the Magnum pistol.  Guns new to Resistance 3 include the Mutator, Firestorm, Sledgehammer and Atomizer.  I’ll render full judgement on these weapons once the beta is back up and I can get more time behind the wheel.

There is a perk and killstreak system that is accessed using the d-pad.  The perks can provide upgrades for your weapons like a sight for your Marksman and killstreaks can give you access to new weapons like the Auger Mark II.  Killstreaks for humans are different than those you would unlock if you were playing as the Chimera.  Killstreaks can seem a little unbalanced at times, as with a three killstreak, the Chimera gain invisibility for a short time while humans are given a temporary shield.  Once you get 6 and then 9 kills, the killstreaks become huge game changers, especially the perk you get once you get 9 kills in a row. The perks or abilities you can use while in-game are unique. Using the d-pad you can activate things like ammo refill, a hologram of yourself or a bubble shield. There are also passive abilities that increase your accuracy or allow you to start with more than one weapon. I’ll know more about these abilities and how they work once matchmaking is back up and running smoothly.

Insomniac has a mountain to climb with repairing all the issues that have plagued the beta aside from the matchmaking itself.  Vivid Gamer has already reported on the issue of invisible players.  While I myself did not experience the issue, a large enough portion of players have experienced enough lag to raise a flag and hopefully Insomniac will have it fixed with a day-one patch.

The 2.01 patch is now live, and If you are lucky enough to find a match, you should come out satisfied, because Resistance 3 has the makings of a great multiplayer experience. Resistance 3 will hit store shelves September 6, 2011 exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Stay tuned for more beta coverage and impressions as matchmaking is back up and I’ll be able to give you a more detailed preview of the multiplayer experience.