Humans are giving it their all at the beginning of Resistance 3, but the battle hasn’t been going well. Set in an alternate-history 1950s, the world has been all but decimated by an ugly infection called the Chimeran virus—a tiny little glowing microbe that made its way into the populous and started turning us into hideous multi-eyed creatures. There was no World War II in this reality. The world had something much worse than Nazis to worry about.
It was thought that the Russians had developed this terrorist’s pathogen, and that’s who Sgt. Nathan Hale dedicated himself to fighting through the game’s first two installments. Well. Sort of. By the end of game No. 2, the alien spore’s true otherworldly origins came to light and Hale gave up his life to help find a cure for the transmogrifying virus.
Now, world-saving duties fall to a former soldier named Joseph Capelli, a nobody who was dishonorably discharged for … killing Hale. Almost 90% of mankind has already been wiped out, and Capelli is nowhere near the heroic leader his predecessor was. He’s just one guy in the midst of a pocket of survivors living underground in the middle of Oklahoma.
Not Truly Godforsaken
But this battle-weary Joe does have one passionate advantage: He’ll do anything to protect his loving wife and son. Anything. And so, when it’s revealed that the Chimera are building a gigantic terraformer—that will turn Earth into a frigid ball of rock and kill off all remnants of mankind—Capelli will stop at nothing to fight back and save his family.
That sense of self-sacrificial determination from Capelli and his outmatched, outnumbered and outgunned underground resistance group is reinforced over and over throughout this game. Capelli carries his son’s tattered mitten as a token of all he’s fighting for. And it’s that realistic do-or-those-I-love-will-die atmosphere that sets this first-person sci-fi shooter apart from so many others. Sure, the trigger-pulling mechanics are smooth and predictably easy to slip into, but it’s the palpable and cinematic sense of desperate need to protect loved ones that keeps pulling you back for one more battle.
There’s also a layer of faith added to the mix this time around. As Capelli sets out cross-country to hopefully thwart the aliens’ plans, he comes upon a group of believers who hold “God and His Word” in high regard. We see them pray for one another and for a positive outcome to the battles at hand. They report that they’ve also been praying that God might send a man just like Capelli to help them in their fight. And after he sets some things right and is moving on to a big showdown, our average-guy hero has a parting request for these believers: “Pray for us.”
A Messy Battlefield
Capelli’s travels aren’t always bathed in prayer, though. One group he comes upon, called the Remnants, is led by a hard-fighting survivor named Charlie Trent. This guy joins up with Capelli for several chapters and is as adept at tossing f-bombs as grenades. Indeed, the game’s foul language flows freely in the heat of battle and includes frequent uses of not only the f-word, but also the s-word, “d‑‑n”, “b‑‑ch” and “a‑‑.”
Another group, called the Wardens, consists of a handful of ex-convicts who bear that foul standard with pride. They’re also known for capturing, torturing and brutally murdering anyone who stands against them. And they’re not alone in their merciless death-dealing. This is a game that gets very messy.
Knives, bayonets, pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, alien-freezing and -electrocuting devices, and even a weapon that mutates people into grotesque egg sac masses that burst in an explosion of pulsing flesh all elicit blood, gore and more. Headshots deliver skull-shattering devastation, as does a sledgehammer blow that’s even more up-close and goopy. After the blazing battles, the twitching dying and crispy blackened dead often litter the field.
Resistance 3, then, is an enigma wrapped up in a dichotomy. It is at the same time prayerful and rawly foul. It contains trigger-activated gore and death along with heartening moments of self-sacrificial heroism. It praises the powerful bond and dedicated love of one man’s marriage and family while reveling in the torture and brutal murder of others.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.