Review by CrimsonGear80
"So much epicness, it will make you want to slap your mama!"
Insomniac Games is considered one of the best game developers in the world right now for a reason: they release a game a year and that game is always beyond awesome! However, when it comes to sequels to their franchises, every one at Insomniac gets together, sits down at what I'm assuming is a big round table with all the awards and **** that they've won placed on it, and tell themselves :We WILL make part (insert sequel number here) BIGGER and BETTER! Does anyone actually doubt this? They did it with Spyro, they did it with the godly Ratchet and Clank (Deadlocked may be debatable, I admit), and of course, they've done it with the sequel to their PS3 FPS launch title: Resistance: Fall of Man. Yep, Resistance 2 is in fact bigger and better than the original and keeps Insomniac's track record going strong.
R2's story picks up right where R: FOM left off, with series protagonist Sgt. Nathan Hale being escorted into a helicopter by soldiers dressed in black armor, right after he got through narrowly escaping a exploding Chimeran tower. The soldiers turn out to belong to a US government agency called the SRPA, a unit that deploys Sentinels , humans infected with the Chimeran virus yet have not turned, giving them better combat abilities than any normal human. Of course, the unit wants Hale as a part of their group, and Hale doesn't really have any say in the matter. Fast forward two years later to 1953, and Hale is now a Lieutenant in the SRPA, leading his own squad of Sentinels. Just in time too, as the Chimera have invaded (and pretty much occupied) the USA after their defeat in Britain, bringing with them an immensely stronger army than before, full of even bigger surprises. Hale and his squad suit up on a campaign that will take them from San Francisco to Louisiana, even to Iceland and Mexico, in the hopes to rid the world of the Chimeran threat once and for all.
Like the first game, the story in here is the weakest part of R2. The first game introduced us to the Chimera, but left their origins a mystery. Most fans, myself included, expected R2 to expand on the mystery, but except for a few interesting tidbits there is still no concrete explanation for the Chimera. Even the extra-mysterious Cloven only get a passing mention here. There is also no narrator holding the story together like the first game, leaving Hale to be the center of attention, and while the not-so-silent-anymore Hale is a fairly interesting guy, him and his squadmates weren't nearly interesting enough to hold my attention. I will say though, that the ending was pretty great and unexpected.
I will say this right here and now: Resistance 2 is better than Fall Of Man in almost every way. However, I just can't leave it at that, so I'm going to have to tell you why (natch). Foremost, Insomniac let's us once again customize are own control schemes. What do I always say when a game let's me do this: PRAISE JEEBUS!! R2 controls pretty much just like it's predecessor, with the added inclusion of a sprint button. Gameplay overall is also for the most part untouched, but Hale can now only hold two weapons at a time and his health bar has been replaced by a COD-like screen flashes red, your about to be dead, take cover system. I personally don't mind these systems, as it adds an extra layer of depth and strategy to the combat, but I can see how some people might miss the weapon wheel and health bar from the original game.
Resistance 2 is spread across a prologue and seven regular chapters, each taking place in a different location and taking about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. The game still flows pretty basically, levels are linear and have Hale completing objectives that for the most part have him simply getting from one place to another. Of course, hordes of Chimera stand between him and his goals at all times. R2 features battles that easily rival those found in Call Of Duty 4, and at many points out-does them. Remember the battles in FOM that had waves of Chimera gunning for you? Imagine those with even MORE waves. Remember the hard fought battles against the giant Titans that by themselves were a huge challenge? Try fighting three of them at the same time! The same can be said about the robotic Stalkers from the original as well. However, your main Chimeran opposition still comes from the Hybrids, simple soldiers that were once human beings but have been transformed through a new conversion process: slimy pods that are strewn about almost every level in the game. New Chimeran forces that Hale and co. will have to blast through include big hulks that have deployable shields on their arms, Predator-like Chameleons that can appear out of nowhere and strike you down with one swipe of their claws, and flying gun drones that come in small and super-sized varieties. The creepiest new Chimera flavor though is the Grims. The Grims are pretty much human sized versions of those tall Chimeras that came out of nowhere and rushed you in FOM, only here they are just-born fresh from those before mentioned conversion pods. Running at you like 28 Days Later rage-infected humans, there will be times when you'll have to actually fight off tons of these things at once. One of the best parts of the game was walking through dark train tunnels in Idaho that were full of conversion pods, then hearing them burst open all around you, knowing what was coming next. Creepy as hell. No matter what type of Chimera your dealing with, the game sports some very impressive and ruthless AI, that will flank, rush, take cover, and give you a run for your money. If you thought FOM was hard, then R2 will make you cry (from happiness or sadness is up to you). Thankfully, Insomniac has corrected one of the most prominent complaints about FOM: it's way too spaced out checkpoint system. In R2, checkpoints are plentiful and never cause you to lose too much playing time when you kick the bucket. Of course, I need to mention the much talked about Resistance 2 boss fights, which are epic in scale, but unfortunately not entirely in practice. While bosses like the Kraken and the Swarm take some considerable skill to take out, others like the Goliath and Chicago's much-hullabalooed about Leviathan only have Hale getting to a certain point and firing a couple of rockets in certain areas to beat them. The last boss fight is also pretty underwhelming. Still, the battles you'll be taking part in to get to these bosses almost all but make up for it.
It wouldn't be a Resistance (or Insomniac) game without some awesome weaponry to use against your oppressors. Most of the weapons you'll be using come straight from the original, with various improvements. The Bullseye for example not only has a new look, but it fires much more accurately when you aim down it's sights. Other weapons like the Carbine, the Auger, and the Far-Eye sniper rifle also seem to handle a lot better and are more fun to use. Of course, Insomniac has added in a few new toys for you to play with, including a Magnum revolver that fires imbedding, explosive rounds that can be detonated by hitting the alternate fire button. Other new toys include a cylinder-loaded grenade launcher, a grenade that spreads molten lava in lines along the battle field, a mini-gun that can deploy a barrier similar to the Auger, and a weapon ripped straight from the R&C games that fires spinning saw blades at high velocity, with is very useful in ripping rushing Grims apart. Besides the underwhelming bosses, the only other complaint that I have about the campaign is that some deaths just feel cheap. It's not too fun when you get one-hit killed by Chameleons that come out of nowhere, or when you sneak out onto a battlefield only to get cut down very quickly by fire coming from an unknown enemy. Some of this trial and error stuff can be tedious. Also, while Hale's Sentinel squad mates sport some fine AI, the regular Sentinel soldiers that you'll be fighting alongside in some of the bigger battles are a mixed bag. Sometimes they fight like they mean it, other times they would stand out in the open doing nothing while they get turned into Swiss cheese. Overall, however, the sheer epic scale of R2's campaign easily trumps FOM.
FOM came with an awesome online competitive multiplayer mode for up to 40 players that ran lag-free and was awesome. R2 sees it's 40 players and raises it to 60! Yep 60 players online lag-free. I don't known how Insomniac does it, but other developers (*COUGH*SlantSix*COUGH*) need to take some lessons from them. Modes here include the classics: deathmatch (for up to 10 people), team deathmatch, and core control (capture the flag). However, it's the Skirmish mode that steals the show here. Each team of 30 players is divided into 5 squads of 5, and are given different objectives to complete on the map. At the same time, a squad on the other team gets the same objective, and eventually both squads will fight it out to complete it. As the action keeps going, the objectives eventually lead every squad to one last point in the map with one last objective and one last huge battle to fight to complete it. Fun.As.Hell. Just like FOM, the various maps will scale depending on the number of players, always keeping the action tight. Players can even choose which weapon they want to use at anytime by going to the start menu. If you loved FOM's online, you WILL love R2's even more.
But Insomniac decided that wasn't enough, so here comes the unbelievable 8-player co-op mode. The co-op is supposed to have a story to it that runs parallel to the main campaign, but for the most part missions take place a year before Hale's quest, and are briefly explained in text form before entering a level. Basically, you're just soldiers fighting against the Chimera in both America and Britain. Players can choose between three classes to play as in co-op: soldier, medic, or spec-op. Each class uses different weaponry and perks to assist all the other classes: Soldiers are your basic tank characters with lots of health that come equipped with a mini-gun that you send to the front lines, Medics use a special gun called the Phoenix to suck the life out of enemies and convert it to health for their teammates, and Spec-Ops are the only way to get more ammo as they have replenishing ammo packs that they can throw out to teammates. Don't think that you can have 8 soldiers blasting through a level, because without ammo and health, you WILL not succeed. Players will have to use all three classes and work together if they want to survive a level. Each co-op level gives your squad random objectives to complete in order to beat it, and standing between you and these objectives is everything the Chimeran army can throw at you. There will be times where your squad of 8 could be going against 60-70 enemies AT ONCE. Add to this Elite versions of enemies that take more damage than normal enemies to kill, Titans, and Stalkers, and the emphasis on teamwork really comes into play. If your killed in co-op mode, a ring with a skull in the center will appear next to your characters body. When this ring fills up, you will be automatically revived and can continue the fight, and buddies that are still alive can help revive you faster by standing next to your body and holding the triangle button. However, if all 8 characters are dead at the same time, then it's game over man. Teamwork will win you the day in this mode, and it also helps that it's unbelievably fun. Both competitive and co-op modes will also allow you to use special skills called Berserks, that re equipped through the start menu. While you dish out damage during gameplay, a meter in the top-right corner of the screen will fill, and when it maxes out you can press down on the d-pad to activate the Berserk. These skills can give you more damaging ammo, allow you to take more hits, let you see enemies through walls, and various other cool effects. Both competitive and co-op modes can also be played in split screen with 2-players both online and off.
Tying every mode in the game together is an experience system similar to the one seen in Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Killing enemies, dishing out damage, and completing objectives will earn you experience points that are used to rank up your character and unlock new weapons and berserks. In co-op mode, you can also earn what is called grey tech, which is used in conjunction with the experience system to buy new equipment that can increase your character's performance. The game also supports voice chat, stat tracking, leader boards, friend invites, and the expansive community over at MyResistance.net. More like three games in one, Resistance 2 makes FOM look like, well, a part one, and fans and newcomers alike are in for a treat when they put down their 60 bucks!
If you don't believe me when I say that R2 is on a much more grander scale than FOM, you will when you take a look at it. From the opening moments of the game that immediately pits you against a stories-tall, incredible detailed walking battle tank to the San Francisco docks that overlook a huge Chimeran fleet invading the city by the bay to the incredible view of Twin Falls, Idaho you get at the top of a Chimeran tower, R2 is brilliantly designed and looks phenomenal. The game runs in 720p and the framerate holds at a steady 30fps, even with hordes of enemies on the screen at once. Weapons and special effects (including the sometimes weird water effects) all look excellent as well. Character models are great, especially the Chimera who have gotten a noticeable texture upgrade on their bodies. The game also ups the gore content, with more flowing blood, bullet holes on bodies, and even dismemberment. Wait till you actually see the Leviathan boss up close one of the most impressive things I have seen so far this gen. Cut-scenes are also impressive, as they are rendered with a slightly modified version of the in-game engine.
There are some odds though: the occasional flat texture, a couple of loading pauses, and the obvious hit the overall graphics take in the online modes, but R2 is still one of the prettiest games I've seen this year.
Not much to say here, Resistance 2 features phenomenal sound design. Music, explosions, guns, headshots, dismemberings, voice acting, and everything else is all excellent and can run in DTS 5.1 surround. There really is nothing left to say.
RETREAT--I MEAN RESIST!
Obviously, competitive and co-op modes are addictive, fun as hell, and will take you a very long time to get board of them. As for single-player, it should take about 8-10 hours to complete, and you've got multiple difficulties and hidden intel to find in each chapter. You've also got trophy support, most of which are earned in the single player game. Make no question; Resistance 2 is worth your money.
Minor flaws keep me from giving Insomniac's latest masterpiece a perfect score, however if you can see past everything in the LAME list, you can easily bump my score up since Resistance 2 succeeded in what it set out to be: bigger, badder, and better. Easily one of the best shooters this year, one of the best online game I've ever played, and one of the best PS3 game you could ever own.
+Epic battles against hordes of Chimera
+Epically scaled with brilliant design
+Phenomenal online competitive and co-op modes
+Tons of replay value
-Some deaths can feel cheap and some gameplay parts can feel tedious
-A few of the boss fights are underwhelming
-AI for Sentinel soldiers a mixed bag
-The occasional flat texture or two
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/14/08
Game Release: Resistance 2 (US, 11/04/08)
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