(CBS) - Resistance: Fall of Man was one of PS3's first killer apps. It took the familiar first-person-shooter genre and turned it on its ear with unique weapons, relentless enemies and an alternate history timeline that intrigued players.
Developer Insomniac Games tinkered with its formula for Resistance 2, creating an overall bigger, badder and more intense experience. Resistance 3 (out today) alters the formula further, yielding a more streamlined and refined experience. But, is it better for it?
The first thing you'll notice when playing Resistance 3 is its visual presentation. Sure, at first, the poor texture rendering and general lack of detail may underwhelm players compared to what we've come to expect from our AAA titles these days. Soon though, the game's artistic flair will catch your eye, appearing almost as a living oil painting that reminds us that this game takes place during the 1950s. Also taking advantage of some advanced lighting and camera effects, the game creates a palpable atmosphere that only grows more beautiful as new locations are revealed.
The story isn't as grand this time around when compared to the huge battles and ginormous bosses of Resistance 2. Instead, it focuses on Joseph Capelli as he battles his own demons and fights to ensure his family's safety.
The more focused story telling brings with it a more focused style of play. Environments are smaller and enemies are fewer, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's always room to maneuver and levels bring great versatility to combat. In fact, these smaller fields of battle lend a sense of intimacy to enemy encounters and the raw ferocity of the Chimera keep you fighting for your life.
As with its predecessors, the star of Resistance 3 is its gun-play. In addition to its frenetic firefights and streamlined narrative, your arsenal has seen some modification as well.
Players are not restricted to only carrying two weapons at a time as in the previous title. All of your weapons are available via a quick-menu and you will need to switch between them frequently. It's also nice to see a game move away from the regenerative health system that has become a staple of the genre. You can't hide behind a crate as your health returns to capacity. Managing your health reserve amidst the flying lead heightens the intensity of battle.
Enemies are fierce and varied, requiring that players constantly change their tactics. While boss battles aren't as earth shatteringly over-the-top as in Resistance 2, when juxtaposed with the game's more intimate settings, they feel that much larger. They're crazy, frantic and focus on strategy over firepower.
Some fans of the series may be disappointed by this movement away from grand scale battles. Others may appreciate the intimate battles against relentless foes. The focus and intensity of Resistance 3 is what will solidify its place as one of PS3's top exclusive titles.
"Resistance 3" is available now exclusively on PlayStation 3. It is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.