Aug 16, 2011

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Resistance 3 Beta Updated Impressions

The Resistance 3 Multiplayer Beta has been online for a few weeks and we’re closer than ever to the game’s launch on September 6. Though I was lucky enough to receive a private invite to the beta, I wasn’t able to get much playtime in before matchmaking and stat progression went down. However, Insomniac Games has fixed the matchmaking issues late last week and I’ve been able to reach Level 15 in the time since. So far, the beta has been a great experience and a sign of sweet things to come from Insomniac; however, there are still a few troubling issues which I’m hoping will be resolved in the next couple weeks.

As of now the beta has two modes to choose from in matchmaking: Team Deathmatch and Chain Reaction. Matchmaking is remarkably fast at putting you in a game and does a great job of bringing you into a game that hasn’t already started. It’s important to note that ranked matches in Resistance 3 play out in two rounds. After one round, teams switch between playing Humans and Chimera, but they do not switch sides of the map. Thankfully, this mechanic doesn’t skew balance because the two beta maps are well-designed.

Chain Reaction on Seaside


 

Of the two maps that the beta offers, “Seaside” is the largest and my favorite. This open map features a central bridge that connects each team’s territory, along with a number of two-story houses that dot an otherwise fairly open landscape. The second floors of each building provide plenty of tactical opportunity; especially for snipers. A dry riverbed runs through the center of the map, and I find that this trench is a great place to hide from a deadly situation above and pick off opposing players seeking a quieter way across the map. There are some easy lines of sight for ranged players using the Marksman or Deadeye, but thankfully strength comes in numbers. By moving as a team, your unit can handle almost any situation by virtue of overwhelming the enemy.

While “Seaside” allows ranged players to really excel, “Trainyard” favors fans of close-quarters shootouts. Full of tight spaces, hiding spots, and object-filled buildings, “Trainyard” offers plenty of opportunity for up-close-and-personal weapons like the Bullseye and Rossmore. Franchise vets will instantly recognize the Bullseye’s ability to tag a target, which will re-route all subsequent shots directly to the target. This tool is invaluable, and I find myself scoring high K/D ratios on this map by painting a target and throwing out a barrage of Bullseye fire. This works well to counter all of the corners and stairways making sure your enemy has no hiding place.

While there’s definitely a focus on indoor action, the map also features one wide-open area in the center of the map. Not only does this help distinguish the two opposing sides during Chain Reaction, it lends variety that makes different play styles equally viable. I feel that “Seaside” is the more aesthetically pleasing of the two, but there’s no doubt that “Trainyard” has an excellent layout providing competitive thrills and tactical depth.

Chain Reaction on Trainyard


 

The time and thought put into the beta’s two maps is especially evident when playing its signature game mode, Chain Reaction. In Chain Reaction, two opposing teams vie for control of five points on the map. This works much like any other territories match where players need to stand near the capture point to take over the beacon. The five points must be captured in order across the map, and the first team to either capture all five or score 100 kills wins. Chain Reaction matches are fun and frantic, characterized by sudden pushes for the objective that break out into chaotic firefights. It’s not uncommon to see one team run all over the other. Balance issues can appear especially since a game can last 10 minutes or can be over in a 4 minutes.

Team Deathmatch in Resistance 3 is a blast thanks to Insomniac’s impeccable level design. However, some thanks are also due to the exciting arsenal of weapons that have become a series staple. There are six weapons available for the player to spawn with and two more can be unlocked via a killstreak. The interesting secondary functions also return giving the Carbine its signature 40mm grenade launcher, the Bullseye its tags, and so forth. One of the more interesting upgrades from past Resistance titles is to the Rossmore, which can now fire napalm rounds after the first upgrade. Fans of Call of Duty will instantly recognize the system in place here.

Team Deathmatch on Seaside


 

From the outset, you’re provided with four standard setups designed to give you a taste of different weapons and abilities. You’ll unlock custom load outs once you hit level 5 and that’s when the full breadth of Resistance 3’s arsenal becomes apparent. Players can choose to equip any one of six weapons by purchasing them with Skill Points which you gain after leveling up. This currency can also be used to upgrade your weapons as well as purchase and upgrade abilities. Abilities in Resistance 3 act much like perks in other shooters but with a sci-fi twist. You can equip leapers which will spawn burst out of your dead body, holograms to distract enemies, ammo resupply rings and bubble shields are just some of the abilities you can equip.

While I can safely say that the game’s abilities feel balanced I cannot say the same about the kill streak rewards. At three kills, six kills, and nine kills without dying, you’re granted a bonus meant to help you dish out even more death. The rewards that each faction receives for three uninterrupted kills are grossly disparate. If you’re a human, you’ll get the Assault Shield which generates a half-dome shield that moves with you. While you are impervious to gunfire in front of you, you can still be killed from behind.  As a Chimera you get invisibility at the three kill mark. Granted, you’ll become visible for a few moments if you melee or fire off your weapon, but the effect lasts too long time. It’s awesome to be playing as a Chimera and receive the Cloak, but the reward is much better suited to replace the Auger as the standard bonus for six consecutive kills

During the beta I did run into a few kinks that need to be ironed out. While a ton of progress has been made on the network side of things, intermittent lag is still present and matchmaking will sometimes throw me directly onto a map with no other players. Also re-spawns will sometimes place you right in front of enemy fire. I have also encountered a couple of game freezes as well as disconnects. Another issue, though minor, character skins are fairly limited with only four options each for Humans and Chimera. I hope that these choices are expanded in the full release because the current slate makes character customization feel more like following a dress code than expressing yourself.

Despite these issues and a few other concerns, the game is shaping up to be very well-balanced already. With excellent level design, an exciting arsenal of sci-fi weaponry, and plenty of gameplay depth, the Resistance 3 Multipalayer Beta is an absolute blast to play and the most fun I’ve had with a competitive shooter in quite some time. There are some issues but at end of the day this is still a beta – it exists for the purpose of identifying and righting these wrongs before the retail game hits stores shelves.

Be sure to check out our beta gameplay videos we’ve posted and you can also read our own Juan Balbuena’s week 1 impressions of game here. Finally, if you aren’t already part of the beta, you can join the action when it launches for PlayStation Plus subscribers on August 23.

Stays tuned to Vivid Gamer for more on Resistance 3 in the coming days, and keep an eye out for our upcoming review when the title launches on September 6. Let us know what you think of the beta in the comments below.

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About Kyle Prahl

You can friend him on PSN (geist226) and follow him on Twitter: @PaybackPrahl