The nondescript opening scenes of Resistance 3 seemed to me to fit the game: Everything is brown, bland, boring. But as I fight my way from Oklahoma to St. Louis my take on the game changes, drastically.

A game that starts off with dull firefights through the ruins of a mid-west town's city center surprises me a little with clever use of cornfields and bowling alleys. Then it pushes what I dreaded was going to be a battle for America's heartland into a a sort of road movie with guns.

I've only played the opening battles of the game, but already I found myself riding in a boat as we chug along the Mississippi heading toward St. Louis. In this river battles we have to fight off leaping grims, these recently converted humans, huddle on the roofs of half-sunken rooftops, and along the flooded streets of tiny towns. I have to protect our boat, not only fending off attacks, but also blasting away at the ice columns that sometimes impede our progress. (Note: The embargo precluded capturing videos of anything that occurred after leaving St. Louis.)

Later I find myself in St. Louis, wielding an Atomizer. This weapons vaporizes enemies with a push of a button, but it also has one of the most interesting secondary attacks I've ever seen in a game. The secondary shot launches an orb to the ground which then begins to shoot out branching tendrils of light toward enemies. When it contacts the enemy it pulls them in. Sometimes they die instantly, sometimes they fight, trying to crawl away from the deadly vacuum. It's an amazing sight to behold, especially when you use it on a mass of grims.

While the game's quick, shifting settings helps to save the game from tedium and banal settings, it doesn't make up for everything. The audio issues seen in the video above are known problems that the developers say they are working to fix. But that doesn't explain the strange look of some of the people you run across. I was also a little surprised at the game's chugging ladder climbing. It's not something I'd typically mention, but it takes so long to get up a ladder, and it's so easy to get knocked off of one, that it can become a problem.

With nearly 900 miles to go before I land in New York and face whatever threat awaits me, I still hold out hope for Resistance 3. It's a game that has always dazzled with its weapons, while struggling to stand apart from shooters in other ways.

The shifting settings and interesting use of location makes me think that maybe this time things will be different.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.

Resistance 3: Shoots and Ladders

Return to the story.