by Daniel Douek

I wake up groggy, my wife standing over me holding a battered old lantern, our son sleeping with a fever in the bed to my right. Slowly , shakily, I get out of bed, listen to my son sleep and then walk through the gaping hole in the wall. I’m at the foot of a ruined staircase, in a makeshift underground bunker town called Haven—more accurately a series of suburban basements with tunnels connecting them. There is activity all around me: a father and son playing slaps, a woman knitting a sweater for my son, a bashful child drawing on the wall with a crayon (“don’t look, I’m not finished” he admonishes me). A radio plays lounge music, conjuring images of leather chairs, drinks on the rocks and grand pianos, contrastingly sharply with this desperate situation.

Desperate. That one word aptly describes the world that Insomniac Games has created for Resistance 3. From the poignant opening minutes described above to the end of the game, it is impossible to escape just how desperate our (meaning humanity’s) struggle has really become. The game takes place at the tail end of a war you have already failed to win (especially true if, unlike me, you played Resistance 1 and 2) with 90 percent of the world’s population having succumbed to the Chimera virus. The tiny glimmer of hope in all of this rests with a scientist named Dr. Malakov who informs me that he needs to get to New York City to save the world. The details of his plan are a little fuzzy—something about a Chimeran tower that has created a wormhole over the city and is lowering the temperature of the planet—but that doesn’t matter. All I need to do is protect Dr. Malakov so he can save the day.

If desperation is the one word to describe the atmosphere, then fun is the one word to describe the gameplay. The stars of the game are the inventive weapons with which you bring the fight to the Chimera. You’ll use guns that lock onto enemies to fire around walls, a gun that can shoot through solid objects, a gun that can create black holes (my personal favorite), and a host of others. Some of the guns are so fun, you’ll find yourself using them even though there is clearly a better weapon for that situation.

Not everything in the game is aces, though. The enemy AI seems to occasionally be lacking in I and the story loses some of its impact as a result of the fast pacing. Despite these minor failings, the bottom line is that though desperation and fun may seem like an odd mix, in Resistance 3 they are two sides of a very shiny coin—a $60 game worth every cent.