It's About Time! Reviews by a Stranger...
Resistance 2 is a Sci-Fi first person shooter developed by Insomiac (the creators of the ever brilliant Ratchet and Clank series) and is, not surprisingly, a sequel to the best-selling launch title on the PS3, Resistance: Fall of Man. You play as Nathan Hale, a part-human super soldier fighting for the survival of the human race in the face of the Chimera, a race of geneticly changed humans. If you haven't already I would strongly advise reading my review of the first game here if you want to see my entire view of this franchise.
A lot has changed from the first game, if it weren't for the fact you are the same man fighting the same enemy, it would be easy to think that Resistance 2 is completely separate from its predecessor. The main changes that have been made are the emphasis on story, the shooting mechanics and even the feel of this game. Gone are the sections where you are shaking in front of your screen, absolutely terrified of whatever may be round the next corner. Resistance 2 places a huge emphasis on action and almost ditches the concept of horror apart from a few select, and very well done levels.
After the events of Resistance: Fall of Man, Hale is picked up and sedated by a mysterious group of individuals, when he regains consciousness he finds himself in a plane approaching a military base in Iceland. The base in question is under attack from Chimera and their huge, spider-like tanks called Goliaths. Your plane is shot down and only you and the commanding officer survive and it is up to you to secure the base. Along the way you witness the escape of Daedalus, who will serve as the final boss (this isn't a spoiler, it's made blitheringly obvious in all ways possible), a mutated Chimeran creature who can talk to you. He exits with the chilling words...
_________________________________"Can you hear them? They are calling to us, it is beautiful..."
You are then reunited with the Sentinels, a small group of people infected with the Chimeran virus, but instead of turning into Chimera they have retained their human form but gained some of the advantages like strength and regeneration, just like you. They were all involved in Project Abraham, an attempt to make super-soldiers by injecting them with pure Chimeran DNA (i.e the Chimera that aren't mutated humans), the only problem being that they will eventually turn, and when they do they will become "super" Chimera, a prime example of this would be Daedalus. You can probably tell then, that the story has stepped to the fore front in this game, it is not overly complicated and some parts need to be pieced together, Space Odyssey style. I think that it is very well done as it gives you a key motivation for what you do in the game, that is to get rid of Daedalus before you turn.
The story is added to immensely by the insane amount of Intel that has been placed in this game, they translate as a kind of puzzle where you have to piece together different parts in order to obtain the backstory, be it about the strange connection between Hale and Daedalus or the secret regrets of the man who created the Cloven, a mysterious group of rogue mutants much like the Sentinels.
Along with the story, the gameplay itself has received a complete reworking. You spend most of the game fighting alongside your fellow Sentinels compared to the lone wolf style of the first game. The Sentinels do not act like the NPCs of certain other first person shooters in the way that they do not behave like brain dead bullet bags. They will take out enemies without your intervention and sometimes they will even push up to the enemies position when you don't. This is probably possible due to the fact that there are no infinitely re-spawning enemies meaning that it isn't up to the player to advance and cancel spawn points. Despite this, there are an extraordinary amount of enemies you will have to kill, especially when compared to the original Resistance. Thankfully they go down a lot quicker, showcasing the fact that this is now an action game over a horror one.
As mentioned in my previous review, Resistance 2 is utterly gorgeous, everything is highly detailed and it completely ditches the green/brown film that was prevalent in the original Resistance. Instead we have bright colours everywhere and a huge variation in the light and darkness of different parts. This is showcased in the short level in a forest where you can fully tell when you are in shade or brief patches of sunlight. Despite all of this, the game retains an impressive frame rate which never becomes noticeably slow, even when there are a large amount of NPCs on the screen. The cutscenes, especially the big ones at the end of each chapter, are jaw-droppingly amazing, in fact sometimes I was questioning whether they were animated or actually filmed.
Yet another part of the game to receive an upgrade is the weapon selection. Many favourites from the first game have stayed such as the Auger, which shoots through walls and the Bullseye, which has bullets that can home on to a designated spot. Many new weapons have been added to the already impressive stockpile such as a Magnum and a gun that fires razor-sharp disks. Each weapon is distinctly different and has it's own disadvantages and advantages, all the weapons contain a secondary fire mechanic, such as detonating bullets with the Magnum. This makes the game a lot more enjoyable as a variety of different playstyles and tactics are available to you. My only complaint is that you can now only carry two weapons at a time, whereas you carried all of them in the first game. It's a sense of realism that this game really does not benefit from.
The changes do not stop at weapons, even the vast array of enemies has been added to. While the most common are still the Hybrids, the Chimera who most resemble humans while keeping their intelligence, there are some notable additions. The Grims make their début as mindless, zombie-like enemies who charge in packs toward the player, 28 Days Later style. While they are easy to handle there is a level where you are alone in a hotel full of them, it is a bone-shatteringly nervous experience. The main horror element to this game is added by the Chameleons, Chimera which remain invisible until they charge to deliver a swift one-hit kill with their huge scythe-like claws. The only way to detect them is by sound and when you do hear them, you desperately strain your eyes to tell where, exactly, they are.
A special mention has to be made of the bosses, Insomniac have used their skills from Ratchet and Clank to add a variety of epic and challenging boss fights. They range from fighting a creature known as The Kraken to a swarm of metal insects that is extremely hard to kill. All of these battles are different and they all have their sets of things you need to learn so you survive the experience. It's a shame that the weakest fight of all of them by a long way is the final one, thankfully it's made up by one of the best ending sequences ever.
Disappointingly, this game does not include a 2-player campaign like the original did, however what it replaces it with is preferable but a long way. Resistace 2 introduces 8-man co-op mode where you go through a set of unique levels completing objectives such as "Blow up this, kill that". There are 3 classes: the Soldier wields a minigun and a shield, Spec-Ops is the long range class that keeps everyone supplied with ammo and the Medic is self explanatory. As you play more you gain experience which levels that class up, allowing you to but equipment for it. This makes the mode incredibly addictive and that is on top of the fact that it is already incredibly fun. You actually get noticeably better as you level up which is nice but when you get to a point (especially with the Spec Ops class) you become overpowered to the point that you can take out bosses with one clip.
The competitive multiplayer is also good, though didn't grab my attention as well as the Co-op mode. You can kit out yourself with unlockable guns and equipment which is nice but it has the same problem of the high-level people being noticeably stronger than everyone else. This is mostly due to the Berserks, power-up style moves that can be used in both multiplayer modes, they recharge overtime and include things like reduced damage or the ability to see people through walls. This adds another element to the game and somehow manages to not get out of hand. The higher levels however, can turn invisible which is incredibly overpowered and almost game breaking. I've lost count of the amount of times that I was killed from behind by someone who I had no chance of seeing.
Up to 60 people can battle it out in a variety of game modes, the best is Skirmish, a mix of objective game types that is played in small squads of 6. As the match drags on squads start to merge together till it is full 30 on 30, battling it out for a single point. It is fun, chaotic and pretty special. Somehow with 60 players, lag is almost non-existant which is a great change to certain other popular FPSs.
The Bottom Verdict/ Final line
Resistance 2 is one of those rare games that contains a satisfying and brilliant story with a fleshed out and addictive multiplayer mode. While it may be a departure from the original and what I feel to be a step in the wrong direction, it is done incredibly well.
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