|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Insomniac Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (60 online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
October 20, 2008 - Not many would argue with the fact that much of the PS3's early software sales success stemmed from Insomniac's stellar launch title. With its excellent graphics, intriguing storyline, and great gameplay, Resistance turned a lot of gamers' heads and quickly became early PS3 adopters' must have title. A couple years have passed now and there have been many quality titles released for the system, yet the demand for a Resistance sequel has continued to steadily grow. Fortunately, the wait to resume Nathan Hale's struggle to save the world from the invading Chimera is nearing its end.
While Resistance 2's storyline and single-player campaign remain somewhat of a mystery, we've gotten a chance to spend some time with the game's multiplayer thanks to its recent public beta. The expectations for the game, especially for its multiplayer, are extremely high due to the high profile nature of the original Resistance and what has already been announced for the sequel. The two biggest features already revealed are a unique and concurrent cooperative game that supports up to eight players, and the ability to have up to 60-player competitive online matches. Even though this beta wasn't a full representation of the game's multiplayer aspects, it did give us a chance to experience a good sampling of what we can expect from the finished title's multiplayer component.
When gearing up to enter into competitive online matches, players are given their choice of nine preset weapon load outs and four berserk load outs for both their human and Chimeran characters. Here you'll see several returning favorites such as the always handy M5A2 Carbine, the extremely useful, and slightly tweaked, Auger, as well as several newcomers. One of these new options is the HVAP Wraith that can fire 1,200 rounds per minute while providing a mobile shield with its secondary fire option. Another is the V7 Splicer that fires jagged metal blades and can also double as a makeshift chainsaw, locking and spinning a blade on the end of its barrel as its secondary use. Insomniac's ability to create abstract weapons is simply amazing and helps Resistance 2 feel just as unique as the original.
As far as the berserk load outs go, these are timed abilities that players will be able to trigger by pressing down on the D-pad if they can manage to rack up a few kills without being killed themselves. For the beta, the options were limited to electrostatic orb, iron heart, prototype ammo, and advanced radar (or Chimeran rage for Chimeran characters). Electrostatic orb helps you deal damage to nearby enemies, iron heart halves the damage you take, prototype ammo makes your weapon deal more damage than normal, and advanced radar allows you and nearby allies to have a more expanded radar. Chimeran rage has a similar effect to expanded radar but also allows players to see enemies' heat signatures through walls and other solid objects. All these abilities can help change the course of a match but only last for a limited time once activated, so properly timing their activation is crucial to their overall success.
Once finished with customizing your fighter, it is time to start actually playing the game. You can choose the play option to jump straight into a quick match, the find option to look for a specific match, or if neither of these choices seems agreeable, you can always create your own match. In the beta, the choices for competitive game types were limited to standard deathmatch and team deathmatch, core control, or skirmish modes. Core control plays very similarly to capture the flag with two teams competing to steal the other's cores and return them to their own base. With a core in hand, players are unable to use their weapons, so this mode focuses heavily on strategy and working as a team. Skirmish mode is also team-based, having both sides attempting to gain control of specific points on the map by remaining in close proximity until they are fully captured and then defending them from your enemies.
Unfortunately, not all these modes allowed for 60-player matches. In fact, team deathmatch and skirmish were the only two, with deathmatch being limited to ten and core control to twenty players as maximums. Smaller matches were certainly easier to manage, but the 60-player matches were definitely a site to behold. During one 60-player team deathmatch in particular, it was hard not to marvel at the finesse and chaos caused by having so many players. This match took place on the Orick, California map, which is made up of a small rural logging town and its surrounding area. Both teams had several well hidden snipers scattered around the outskirts of the map, as huge teams of well equipped grunts swept through the town attempting to find and eradicate the opposing team's members. This match was unlike anything I had ever experienced in an online game before, and I can't wait to try out a wider variety of these huge matches when the game is finally released.
Another event that took place on the Orick map was the sample of the game's cooperative multiplayer. This mode supports up to eight players, with three different classes to choose from, and a variety of tasks to complete. Your team, made up of these varied classes, will absolutely need to work together to accomplish the missions you are given, ranging anywhere from hitting heavily guarded switches to taking down some pretty massive enemies. Soldiers usually make up your frontline, soaking up a majority of the damage with their shields and providing a constant barrage of bullets from their HVAP Wraiths. Next in line are often the special ops, taking out more distant enemies while constantly feeding ammunition to the soldiers. Bringing up the rear are typically the medics, providing a minimal amount of damage while making sure to keep their teammates alive with their healing abilities. Of course, this is how it works in a perfect world, but with the constant onslaught of enemies, it can often be hard to remain in such a formation, especially if there are multiple objectives.
The way these three classes work together and support one another definitely makes for some interesting cooperative gameplay. Each of these classes can also be upgraded using experience and Gray Tech, which are earned while playing. With a variety of weapon and armor upgrades for each class, I could see this mode providing a huge amount of replay value. These upgrades range from quicker reload speeds to improving your character's class specific abilities. This means the more you play as a certain class, the better your character will actually become in this class.
While the beta isn't completely finalized code, Resistance 2 is already looking quite impressive graphically. All the included maps were well designed for multiplayer and full of detail, ranging from the crumbling subways of Chicago to the sprawling forests of northern California. Characters also looked particularly good, especially when blown to pieces, which splattered onto nearby walls, slowly giving into gravity and leaving only a blood trail behind. Much like the original Resistance, Resistance 2 looks to push the PS3 to its limits, while providing the excellent multiplayer gameplay that the series is known for. From what I've gotten to play so far, this is one title that should be on almost every PS3 owner's wish list come the beginning of November.
CCC Staff Contributor