There are plenty of people who enjoyed "Resistance: Fall of Man." There are admittedly fewer who enjoyed "Resistance 2." But it's safe to say I am in neither of those groups. They're not bad games, mind you, but they never felt like anything much more than passable shooters. Shooters attempting to match the quality of games like "Halo" and "Call of Duty," but never quite making it.
So it was with trepidation that I began playing the first few levels of "Resistance 3" on a preview build Sony sent over. And guess what? I'm suddenly on board.
There's something almost intangible about why I like "Resistance 3" so much more than I did the first two games. I'm still fighting the same aliens, with most of the same weapons, in familiar, post-alien invasion settings. But there's something crunchier going on here. Someone that discourages me from setting the controller down.
The most obvious culprits are the revised weapons. Although series mainstays like the Bullseye SMG, the Auger rifle and the Rossmore shotgun have returned, they've been seriously tweaked. The Bullseye for one, actually feels powerful when fired. It used to feel more like the laughable Needler from "Halo," but now it feels like that auto-targetting gun from "The Fifth Element." The same can be said about all the weapons, both returning and new. They all seem to pack more of a punch.
The other major improvement to the weapons is experience. Insomniac Games made a name for itself with the "Ratchet & Clank" series, which has been doing weapon experience for years. Now they've finally brought the concept to "Resistance 3." Basically the more you use a weapon, the more experience you earn for that weapon. Level it up and you'll unlock new abilities for that weapon. Your assault rifle might get a long-range scope or your sniper rifle might sear through multiple targets at once. It encourages you to mix and match your playstyle, but never penalizes you for sticking with what you like.
But, perhaps the most obvious reason for my new-found attraction to "Resistance 3" is how much fun it is. The revised weapons make every encounter (at least in the first few levels) a blast to play through. You know it's a good sign when you're actually looking forward to your next enemy encounter, rather than dreading it. Very few shooters have been able to pull this off as well as Insomniac has.
There's plenty more to like. The visuals are absolutely stunning and the world is far more personal and interesting than any of the "Resistance" games before it. And this is only after playing for a couple hours.
I'll gladly admit that I've never looked to the PS3 as a platform leading the way for FPS games. With "Resistance 3," though, Xbox fans are going to have plenty to be jealous about when the game launches in September.