Resistance 3 Co-op Campaign Review (Spoiler Free)
When Bill Braun (PSNation writer and Level 50 Blu-Ray Deal-Scout Extraordinaire) asked me to tackle Resistance 3 co-op with him, I was tickled-pink. Not only was I going to venture into Chimeran territory with the man who saved me 30 bucks on the Back to the Future Blu-Ray set (and loves the band Dream Theater), but I was going to play through a co-op campaign period, something that is not as available to gamers as much it should be in this console generation. In, fact, I have to give credit to the other guys, and state that my last experience with a co-op campaign was with Halo Reach, and I have to give props to developers who spend a little time allowing you to experience the story in a video game with your buddies, instead of only focusing on creating different ways to kill them. While I certainly enjoy the co-op modes, such as the ones available in Uncharted 2 and Red Dead Redemption, there’s nothing like going through an entire story-driven adventure with a buddy and living to talk about it.
Resistance 3 gives us that option. And not only did Insomniac give us an online co-op mode, but they’ve also allowed for split-screen co-op throughout the entire campaign, so that you an a friend can get some hot-wings and enjoy the game in the same living room. Brilliant.
Let’s talk about the things that Insomniac did right with this mode. Life is seldom as organized as we’d like it to be, what with kids, work, friends, backlogs of Different Strokes episode, and our spouses. So we don’t always log our game hours at the same time. And since our Resistance 3 co-op playthrough was a casual affair and not on a set schedule, it was a nice touch to be able to drop-in/drop-out, as opposed to having to restart a section of the game any time we wanted to start a co-op campaign.
Since Joe Capelli is not a space marine with an exo-suit that repairs itself, if Joe stands still for a few seconds, the damage you take in Resistance 3 sticks with you until you find a health container. Even after completing an area, you will start the following section with the damage you previously sustained. Thus, having your buddy available to help you out, should you fall in combat, is executed well in Resistance 3. Nothing new here. You go down, and if you partner can get to you on time, he can hold a button down until you recover (with half your life returned). Resistance 3 allows the downed player to crawl. This works great, when you consider that I was the Vasquez (See Aliens) of our duo, and I would occasionally go ballistic on the Chimeran invaders. It goes with the territory of being the unnamed partner in this story. Everyone talked about Joe. Capelli this, Joe that. No one ever acknowledged John. So I had to compensate with some bravado. And this reckless abandon would inflict injuries on my person in ways only imaginable by road kill victims. As such, the areas I fell upon were always ablaze with enemy fire, sniper lasers (which looked awesome in 3D) and rockets, so I would make things easier on poor Bill by crawling to a nearby hiding place, so that he could heal me without taking too much damage himself. You can also heal yourself even after you go down by crawling over a health pack.
Then there’s the overall experience. As Glenn has already stated in his review, the story in Resistance 3 is amazing, and takes some fantastic twists and turns that left Bill and I silent throughout the cinematics, as opposed to the fart jokes that my buddies and I were trading while playing through Halo Reach’s co-op campaign. Playing with a friend makes the experience even better, even if one of you will end up playing no-name, no-family, no-reason-to-live John. They never even gave me a last name. I helped, dammit!
The co-op campaign was certainly not without its flaws. And while none of them diminished the overall enjoyment of the game, there were a few that hindered the games progression, some in more ways than others.
For starters, something happened while playing that actually caused me to stop playing and do some research on my TV, as I thought something was wrong with my set. When either partner dies in online co-op, you don’t always receive a warning to let you know that the game is about to reload the area. So quite literally, the screen goes black. No fade to black or loading screen. Not even a Goldeneye-styled drowsy music that lets you know that you screwed up the mission. So if Bill died in some lonely corner of the street, and I was out unleashing on the Chimera elsewhere (No one cares if John dies), my screen would literally cut to black, and since I have one of those newer true-black Samsungs, I honestly thought my screen had powered down. It wasn’t until our conversation revealed that we were dying at around the same time, that I realized that this was simply the game’s way of telling you that you were dead. Not a glitch by any means, but should you experience the same thing, don’t call your TV manufacturer. You simply just lost against the Chimera.
There were some true glitches throughout the campaign. None were deal-breakers, but some were definitely frustrating, and in two cases, caused us to have to restart an entire area. One such glitch had an NPC become stuck in a wall, when we needed him to open a door. So, Bill and I did the only honorable thing we could do. We pointed our Wildfire rocket launchers are each other and pulled the trigger. I outlasted Bill, just so you know. But eventually we both died and started the area over again, having to kill the same Chimera again, but ensuring that the NPC had a clear line to the door this time. Again, frustrating, but not game-breaking, particularly as it served as a means to prove to the world that nameless John could outlast Joe Capelli in a point-blank rocket impact.
Another glitch had me running around a real-time cinematic as my player-character, while the frozen NPC actors (including Joe Capelli) stood there in mid-run animation, while Bill’s Capelli player character stood next to his own NPC. This one repaired itself after a few seconds, when the cinematic was supposedly over, but I bet Bill would have felt awkward looking at his stunt double standing next to his actor-character. Normally I would have felt the same, except characters like John don’t get NPC actor models. We only exist to kill and die, and aren’t privy to in game cinematic roles.
But the one bug that hit us, and really hurt the experience for me, was when we completed the game. Without spoiling anything, we found ourselves in the last moments of the game, and whether by combination of the fact that we were both playing 3D (thus redrawing the game 4 times) or because we were causing so much geometry to explode all over the screen, my game locked up. It had actually locked up throughout the campaign, but gameplay would return after a few seconds. This time it locked up during the game’s ending sequence and there was no coming back from it. I rebooted my system and messaged Bill, thinking that perhaps it happened to both of us. No such thing. Bill was halfway through the ending credits. My save hadn’t registered the game as having been completed, so I ended up having to go through the entire last area again, in order to complete the game… and it wasn’t an easy task. So the glory of watching our hard-earned ending at the same time was stolen from us. Regardless, I eventually reached the end, and experienced it for myself. By comparison, my single-player playthrough was seamless and I experienced no lock-ups through the entire campaign.
I left Resistance 3’s co-op mode with a grand experience that was simply plagued by some annoying glitches. Otherwise, voice chat was seamless, and the gameplay was solid, proving hours of cooperative goodness that took our frantic battle-hardened nature and compensated appropriately, even if we sometimes pushed the poor little game over the edge and caused it to crash. While fixes are in the works, specifics are not available at this time.
The game has received a well-deserved score from PSNation, so I will refrain from giving another score for the co-op version, as they are essentially the same. Grab a friend and experience Resistance 3. Share in the chaos.