Resistance 2 Review

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Two years ago, the Ps3’s top launch title from Insomniac Games, Resistance: Fall of Man introduced us to an alternate history. Mankind’s fate was on the line as the aggressive chimerans overtook all of Europe. The United Kingdom was on the verge of destruction as we looked to one hero. Two years later, that same hero returns. Nathan Hale is back. And Resistance 2 is really, really damn good.

The story picks up precisely where the last game left us, with Hale being taken by a group of soldiers in London. These soldiers are Sentinels, who share the same immunity to the Chimeran disease as Hale. The tale then shoots forward two years to the United States where the entire nation is trembling in the Chimeran wake. The story of course follows Lt. Hale, and his squad of soldiers as they defend their homeland, wreaking havok on looming skyships, in Downtown Chicago, and in your backyard.

The characters aren’t particularly engaging, aside from Hale, but the relationship he shares with a few of them is rather interesting. The lack of a narrator makes you pay attention to what’s happening during the game, trying to understand character motives, and seeing them struggle through their fights. It’s an extremely character driven tale, and it works. Throughout the 10 hour campaign, you discover just what Project Abraham is, how the disease in Hale develops, and a little bit more into why the Chimeran are attacking and how they originated. Maybe it’s not as deep or gripping as something like Halo, but when all is done, you’ll look back and appreciate the effort from the writers.

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The cornerstone of Resistance’s gameplay was its unique weapons. In Resistance 2, this remains intact. Fan favorites such as the Carbine and the Fareye make their return with new looks and a few improvements. New killing machines include the Splicer which is a saw shooting, limb tearer. The Marksman rifle is basically a rip off of the battle rifle from Halo, but I’m not complaining. You can only carry two guns at once, but the game does a fantastic job of allowing you access to most guns at the right situations. This ends up being a good thing, as ammunition becomes more of an issue at times, increasing the intensity of the gigantic fights.

And what epic battles these are. Often, there are dozens of allies and enemies on screen at once, and at times it can be a little overwhelming. The first Resistance rarely had these instances, often throwing you into a dark corridor and throwing six or seven enemies at you. This time around, it’s rare to find those moments. Nearly every single fight involves you with twenty other Sentinel soldiers, not to mention your own squad. The battles take place over massive landscapes, with several enemy types at once, constantly swarming you with something to deal with. And the wars vary and feel different every time, with the help of some great AI.

The game does a good job of getting a lot done in only 10 hours. You’ll be trekking through the forest in North California with a shotgun and four other soldiers, only to have them all killed off and pit you against one seemingly indestructible enemy. In Downtown Chicago, the large battle on the bridge there is the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever experienced in a videogame this year. It was at that moment that I knew Resistance 2 was more than something special.

The levels themselves are vast, while keeping a fairly linear feel. It’s impossible to get lost, even at those moments where you are lacking an objectives arrow. They’re all beautifully detailed, from the sunset lit buildings of flooded Chicago, to the bay of San Francisco. There are still the occasional set of invisible walls, but this is still a world drooping with ambiance and a sense of genocidal warfare.

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The Chimera themselves have seen upgrades from the first game. There are many more types, as opposed to the hybrids. The grim are basically zombies that swarm you in the hundreds, at high speeds. There are a few instances during the game that they will attack you scriptedly, and you need to blast them with all you have to get through the storm. Reapers make their return, as do the damage soaking Auger carriers. The game throws several Titans at you at a time, which are huge cannon wielding creatures that often require some kind of explosives to take down. Drones that make patrols will shoot bullseye fire at you. Each enemy type has a best way to be taken down, the fun is figuring that out and executing on that.

The bosses in Resistance 2 are the star of the show. Each of them are absolutely gigantic, they all look hideous, and what’s more impressive, none of them have a weakness. You’re just thrown in with them, and are told to take them down. It’s unique that despite the size of these bosses, it’s up to you to take them down, not up to the game telling you how to.

And that’s just the single player campaign.

Insomniac has somehow been able to create a multiplayer game that fits 60 players without any significant glitches, server issues or framerate hitches. There are several maps from San Francisco, Orick, and other locations from the single player campaign, with several variations meant for the number of players in a match. There are a few different game modes, the regular Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, Core Control which is essentially capture the flag, and Skirmish Mode which splits the teams up into squads and gives them an everlong list of objectives. The teams always need to communicate with each other and take a very tactical approach, while still keeping it fast paced to win the match.

There are berserks, which are special skills available for the players to use. These can be things like the ability to see other players (including enemies) on radar, taking less damage, or dealing more damage. They’re similar to perks in CoD4, but they can only be used once the berserk meter is full, and they only last for a period of time.

Multiplayer is frantic, no matter the game mode. Every weapon is available to you to use, so you need to figure out your own play style and adjust to it, because playing online is a matter of points and experience, not kills to deaths ratio. The style of game Resistance 2 is, means that you will die a lot, because it’s so intensely fast paced and hectic, but when you do succeed it’s incredibly satisfying. The guns all feel great to use, and if you can get used to the way the game plays, the multiplayer in Resistance 2 is deep enough to have you coming back for more for it will consume your life. It’s not haphazardly slapped together. This is the real deal multiplayer with the rewards, the game modes, and the fun.

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Aside from playing the main campaign split screen with a buddy, there is a fully fleshed out coop mode that supports up to eight players. This doesn’t follow the story from the single player campaign, instead following its own missions. The enemy AI here scales depending on the number of the players and their skill. That means that if four players enter a match, all of them playing their first match, enemies will be a little bit slower, there will be less of them, and they will take more damage. However, if eight highly skilled players in the same clan enter a match, there will be several enemies, they will be tougher to take down, and objectives will be further away. It’s a very dynamic approach and it’s a revolution in the coop genre.

Instead of letting players go into coop matches with their own loadout of weapons, Resistance 2’s coop mode has three classes: Spec Ops, which gives the players a Marksman Rifle, and the ability to give out ammo. Medics have a gun (which is only available here) that sucks the life out of enemies, and then the player can shoot the health to other members of their party. Lastly, Soldiers have a chaingun, a shield, and can soak up the most damage. The three balance each other out, because players need to work together to get through these missions. The only way to heal is through a medic, and the only way to get ammo is from a spec ops. Without Soldiers, the Chimera would advance on the party destroying the mission.

Visually, Resistance 2 does not disappoint. The graphics are extremely sharp and vibrant, and the art style is unlike anything seen outside the series. Textures are detailed magnificently, lighting is excellent, and the game runs at a steady clip. For a game of this size to look as good as it does is amazing, and undoubtedly Resistance 2 is the one of the best looking shooters out there. Every sound effect was done greatly, with some excellent music to boot. The presentation in Resistance 2 screams polish.

Resistance 2 is the kind of game that you will appreciate the most the more time you spend with it. Initially, it seems like just a well put together shooter, but it becomes apparent that it’s much more than that. Resistance 2 is the essential game you need for your Playstation 3 this holiday season. If you enjoyed the first game, there’s no doubt you should buy Resistance 2. If you’re into great first person shooters, then you’re in for a treat. This is the most fun I’ve had in a game in a very long time. It’s pretty much a guarantee that you will be blown away at least once during the campaign, and several times in the other modes. That’s the sign of excellence. When you see something on screen and just think to yourself “Wow.”

For Radio USA, this is Henry Stillman.

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~ by smithbubbajones on November 11, 2008.

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