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to Own a PS3?
Resistance 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to perhaps the best game on the PS3. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that the series could significantly improve just two years later. Fortunately, Insomniac Games is no stranger to doubling their efforts and producing even more compelling gaming experiences the second time around.
As such, Resistance 2 is actually a tighter bit of gaming than Fall of Man was. The graphics are sharper, the single-player is even more engaging, and the expanded multiplayer co-op and competitive options are pure love. If you own a PS3, you owe it to yourself to play this game.
Playing Resistance: Fall of Man is not requisite for enjoying Resistance 2. However, there are a few things you should know going in. The first Resistance game is set in an alternate universe where World War II never took place. The armistice signed after The Great War lead to prosperity throughout Western Europe and North America. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union was still a massive, isolationist state that drew a curtain of secrecy around itself ever since the Tunguska meteor event in Siberia. After a couple decades, the Soviet silence is abruptly ended when Chimeran forces (nasty alien hordes with six eyes, pointy teeth, and killer technology) roll over Europe and besiege the British Isles. You take on the role of Sgt. Nathan Hale, a member of the U.S. Army Rangers stationed in Northern England, helping the Brits resist the overwhelming threat. Soon, Hale becomes infected by the mutagenic virus passed on by the Chimera, but he does not completely succumb. In fact, Hale becomes stronger and is able to regenerate his health.
This sets the stage for Resistance 2. Once again you will play as Nathan Hale, but this time you will have to beat back the Chimeran horde from the United States with other special infected soldiers called Sentinels. It’s a good thing Hale’s not the only badass, because the Chimera no longer have a need for conversion facilities. Instead, they occupy entire towns and cities while converting the residents to a varied mass of horrors. Resistance 2 features several new baddies, which do a nice job of varying your strategy and keeping gameplay fresh. In addition to the vast quantities of Hybrids present in the last game, new Chimera abound such as Grims (Berserk groups of charging Chimera that attack en masse), Furies (aquatic dwelling Chimera that instantly kill you if you get into water deeper than your ankles), Chameleons (cloaked maulers that can be killed easily if perceived in time), Ravagers (hulking brutes that bare energy shields and pack a wallop), plus a host of challenging bosses, including a flesh-eating swarm and the massive, skyscraper-like Leviathan that stalks the streets of Chicago – not to mention all the new mechanized toys with which the Chimera will be playing. All these enemies provide for a lot more variety and interesting gameplay moments.
Starting out in San Francisco and advancing your way east, you’ll have the opportunity to play in very distinct environments, including cities, bases, forests, Chimeran ships, canyons, etc. Every location is extremely well-detailed and thoughtfully designed to engage players and challenge them in different ways. All the environments are breathtaking and realistic; it really feels like you’re fighting in a stronghold at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, in the depths of Bryce Canyon, or in the bowels of a Chimeran ship. In fact, these divergent locales are so unique and interesting, you’ll likely blow through the entire single-player campaign in one or two sittings. Yes, the single-player campaign is short; there’s only about eight to ten hours of playtime depending upon which difficulty you choose. However, I found the relative brevity to be refreshing, as the game flies by at breakneck-speed and never suffers from a lull. Keeping the single-player campaign on the short side maintains it in the sweet spot. Besides, the deep multiplayer features should keep you gaming till Resistance 3 rears its pretty head.
Multiplayer features both co-op and competitive modes of play for your enjoyment. The co-op functionality is very different from that found in Resistance: Fall of Man. In the traditional co-op’s stead, players can participate in off or online co-op for up to two or to eight players respectively, while engaging in a unique storyline. This is both good and bad, but mostly beneficial for the series. Because two players will not be able to play through the main storyline, this may be disappointing to gamers that enjoy blasting their way with their buddy through the core plot. Moreover, I found the split-screen offline co-op to be a bit dull, as it was obviously built for online play. Players will struggle mightily without several other teammates to help them hold positions, speed up their respawn times, and provide continuity to the squad. As such, split-screen action is the weakest part of Resistance 2. In fact, players likely won’t play through it locally and will opt to join seven other friends for co-op action online instead.
That said, the same stories, gameplay, and character building opportunities found in split-screen co-op are very rewarding when you’re part of a larger squad. Players will hop into familiar locations in online co-op, but forge through varied missions from different locations within each setting. They will choose from one of three different classes (Soldier, Medic, and Special Ops) and gain experience in each class, customize their characters, and unlock powerful Berserk skills (temporary perks), equipment, and weaponry along the way, plus a lot of substantive plot-filler that complements the information revealed via scattered intel pick-ups in the single-player campaign. Also, because players will be a member of a cohesive squad and will not be regenerating health without the help of a medic, gameplay strategies are significantly different from what they are in the single-player experience; you can’t just go in guns-a-blazin’ without careful planning and the support of others. Essentially, this means you’ll be getting two different games based on the same universe in just one title.
As good as single and online co-op play is, you will likely blow through both within a couple of weeks. What will keep you coming back to Resistance 2 is the robust competitive multiplayer. There are only four conventional multiplayer modes to choose from, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Core Control (Team CTF), and Skirmish (War or Confrontation). However, the multiplayer experience stands apart from other competitive shooters in size and scope. First, Resistance 2 allows for up to 60 players to duke it out with each other in compelling squad-based play. Second, the mix of familiar human weaponry and Gray Tech (alien goodies) make for a feel that is all its own. Finally, the massive maps are outstanding. They are extremely well-designed and quite attractive (expect more from subsequent DLC).
The best of all is that Resistance 2 looks, sounds, and plays great! The crew at Insomniac nailed the presentation. You really can tell this game was made explicitly for the PS3. The character animations, majority of textures, vistas, and technical stability are all second to none. The stability factor is especially impressive considering just how much action is onscreen at one time; I never noticed even a minor quiver or glitch! The only talking point I can muster is that fire and explosions are decidedly poor when compared to everything else; don’t expect to be wowed by particle effects and lifelike flames.
Sound effects are every bit as good as they were in Resistance: Fall of Men, from weapon rapport to the bloodcurdling screams of oncoming Chimera. However, background music and voice work is very sparse. I suppose this is either a boon or a bust depending on your own inclinations. For me, Resistance 2 seems to have lost a bit of its epic, cinematic feel due to the lack of resounding musical themes and narration; music is almost never heard and the engaging voiceover work from Resistance’s Captain Rachel Parker is missing. It’s a shame there wasn’t a bit more music to get the blood pumping, but I can see how the near voice work-free presentation does accentuate the action without getting too bogged down in a story you’re not that concerned about.
Regardless of thin sound work, the gameplay controls are outstanding. Did I mention they’re fully customizable? In addition to the various premade control builds, players can map button layouts to four distinct Custom control save slots. That means original Resistance players can hop right into a familiar scheme or, for instance, Call of Duty fans like myself can tailor controls almost identically to what they’re used to. The inch-perfect accuracy that results translates to a run-and-gun experience that is highly rewarding!
There’s a lot more I could say about Resistance 2, but to get too in-depth into story tropes about the Cloven and ramble on about just how great this game is would do the title a disservice. It’s something you’ll simply have to experience for yourself. This is a must-buy in every sense of the phrase; entertainment that truly sets the bar for the FPS genre both on the PS3 and for gaming in general.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.8 Graphics
About as good of graphics as I’ve ever seen on a gaming console. The game is visually stunning in every regard, except for the stupid fire and explosion effects. However, the overall technical stability of the game is worth the low-res effects! 5.0 Control
The controls are ideal – perfectly responsive! You’ll be mowing through Chimera like a pro. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The background music is sparse (bluesy riffs in Chicago were cool, though). The sound effects were spot on. However, I did miss resounding musical themes and Captain Parker’s narration. 4.8 Play Value
The single-player campaign is short (time flies when you’re having fun), but the online multiplayer options, both co-op and competitive, will keep you playing for a good long while. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.