It's now 1957, and the war against the Chimera continues. Alas the hero of the first two games Nathan Hale has finally run out of time, and is in fact dead at the hands of Joseph Potella, the hero of this game. Joseph, despite having no choice but to shoot Nathan, is given a dishonourable discharge.
This does not deter Joseph from carrying on the fight, far from it. He is now part of an underground resistance force based in Virginia. He fights to protect his wife Sarah and his infant son from the Chimeran threat. But he is forced to leave their side and reluctantly follows a scientist to New York to shut down a Chimeran device that is opening some sort of rift. Not good news at all!
As he departs the resistance group, they are attacked by a massive weapon known as a terraformer, and he vows his wife he will meet his family again. But things go wrong as after a harrowing pursuit and attack along the Mississippi river, he is parted from the scientist. Can he find him again and more importantly, survive long enough to get back to his wife and young son?
That breaks down the plot to it's bare bones and there may be more to the story but that's for you to discover for yourself. What you have here though is a desperate battle for survival, moving from one engagement to the next with just your wits, and if you have another player, a partner to rely on.
So let's pick up that Auger in the corner, and get ready to take on the hordes one more time.
The campaign mode is the meat and veg of this game as you would expect. And it's a welcome return to the cooperative gameplay that was present in the first game but reduced to a somewhat weak skirmish mode in the multiplayer options of the second. It's style has had an overhaul that's for sure. This game is the most visceral incarnation so far. Blood will spurt and spatter as the slugs hit home, and it is far more 'gears' inspired in that area.
But it also now bares a resemblance to a survival horror in some parts. One section sees you in an abandoned factory, with a gun and a torch as you walk the ruins, hunted by zombie like creatures that emerge from Invasion of the Body Snatcher type pods. The scenery has an atmosphere that reminds me of Fallout 3 mixed with a dash of Metro 2033. Don't get me wrong, this is not a criticism at all. Far from it, this gives it a style that's different from the first two and gives you the impression that it's not just the story that has evolved and moved on.
You'll soon find yourself fighting on the streets, in abandoned buildings and even the rooftops of towns and cities as you fight to stay alive. Indeed, Joe can now use a zipline to get from one building to another and drop in on the enemy to deliver retribution and mayhem to those monstrous aliens.
And it's not only the graphics that have echoes of other games. A siege in a pub reminds me of Call of Duty where the besieged soldiers are trying to stop the German soldiers from breaking into a tank factory. Soon the enemy is (quite literally) knocking at the doors seeking their way inside.
You'll need a mix of stealth and brute force for sure. It's up to you how you approach the situation and although the battlefields are not exactly sandbox in size, they do allow you to explore the field and adjust tactics accordingly. And you'll need to do that a lot! It requires you to use your braincells as well as ammunition, and that's no bad thing at all. Coop play is as smooth as solo and having back up is useful indeed, but even flying solo, you'll find that the NPC characters generally act intelligently and have your back in tight situations. Time to move on.
Basically once you have played most other shooters, then you'll feel right at home with this one. Left stick moves the characters, right stick aids the aiming, and R1 fires the weapon and R2 fires the secondary fire mode, such as the Magnum where the bullets can be detonated after they have struck the scenery or indeed the enemy directly for extra damage. Pressing left or right on the D-pad, selects different types of grenade ranging from shrapnel grenades, to EMP grenades which are useful to take down the shields of some stronger alien troops. But more tricks can be added to the players repertoire. As you fight, you'll amass XP points, but these are not for you. They are earned for your weaponry and these points can be exchanged for extra firepower but I'll let you find out about the upgrades for yourself.
In multiplayer the same happens but this unlocks new skins for your online avatar and abilities. These range from a forcefield and the ability to unleash crawlers when you get blown away by your opponent! You will get XP in multiplayer for shooting crawlers as well as fellow players. More on multiplayer later.
The square button is used to open doors, X is used to collect weapons and ammo. Pressing the right stick engages a melee attack, and the triangle button calls up a radial menu displaying your weapons or a quick press will cycle through the weapons that you are carrying in your arsenal. Circle makes the character crouch down behind walls etc. for cover.
L1 enables you to aim down the barrel for extra accuracy and L2 throws grenades. A quick press throws the grenade and holding it down will cook it, but do not hold onto it for too long! Whilst moving forward, pressing in the left stick will make the character sprint. That about covers that so now let's move on. It's also playable through the PlayStation Move but this is a little fiddly so I'll stick to the pad thanks, although the accuracy of the aiming and shooting can not be faulted.