Category: First Person Shooter
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
1-2 Players (offline)
2-8 Players (online co-op)
2-60 Players (online adversarial)
Required HDD Space: Up to 350 MB
HD Output: 720p
DualShock 3 Compatible
When the PS3 launched two years ago there were a few games that caught the eyes of gamers and reviewers alike. One of those games was Resistance: Fall of Man, a game exclusive to Sony’s then new console. This was a FPS that offered an interesting take on the traditional aliens versus human storyline. It had a pretty good narrative and some matching gameplay which earned it a lot of praise. Well not one to rest on their laurels, developer Insomniac Games has crafted a sequel to their original launch title. Sony was kind enough to send us here at GameBoyz a review copy of Resistance 2, and after sitting down and logging some playtime with this sequel I would have to say that the game is definitely a great follow up to the original title.
Visually speaking Resistance 2 is a damn good looking game. Sure, it may not be the absolute best looking videogame out on the market to date, but overall the graphics are solid and really do help convey the story it portrays.
The environments are the star of Resistance 2’s visuals. You will find that each level you play on is quite large and quite vast. There are a lot of “Holy S*#t” moments to be had too. I remember when playing through chapter one and I came out of the underground facility to find what was San Francisco to be a shell of its former self. As I looked across the bay I could see skyscrapers decimated and in flames while the sky was filled with countless numbers of Chimera ships, from the small support ships to extremely large motherships. It is moments like this that you’ll realize how much work went into creating the scope of the environments. Each area you visit has its own distinct look. Twin Falls, Utah has a small rural feel where as the city of Chicago, Illinois has that large urban feel to it. Each level also has its own detail too. From the fenced off yards with swing sets in Twin Falls to the large skyscrapers and business districts of Chicago, you will know that you are definitely in different locations for each chapter you play.
The in-game characters are also just as impressive as the environments. From the number of different enemy Chimera you will face to the squad support you get from your allies, each character is well rendered and well animated. Nathan and his fellow squad of Sentinel soldiers look great. They are very different looking and manage to display their battle actions with ease. From dodging grenades to firing their weapons, all looks quite convincing. Not to be outdone by the good guys, the various Chimera you come across from the front line soldiers to the bigger and more powerful ones, you get the feeling that Insomniac Games has put a lot of work into the character design of your foes. And given that they range in size from that of a man, that of a small house, to that of a tall skyscraper, it is only fair to compliment the work that went into all.
Technically speaking the game runs in 720p widescreen and does so without a hiccup. I don’t know why it isn’t 1080p, the so called Holy Grail of the PS3, but no matter as it looks sharp. There are lots of lighting and particle effects to please any eye candy maniac with a PS3. There is nary a drop in the framerate too. Actually, when I think of my playtime with the Resistance 2 I honestly can’t think of a time when the game slowed down at all even with what seemed to be an insurmountable amount of enemies, explosions and weapon effects all onscreen at once. This is a pretty impressive feat when you realize how big the levels really are and that the whole screen is filled with great scenery.
If I had any complaint in this area is would be only a couple. The first is that some of the bigger enemies get ‘hung-up’ on certain things in various levels. Two perfect examples both involve the two story tall Chimeras who use grenade launchers to attack you. On my first encounter with a pair of these guys one of them literally got stuck as he turned towards a building. It was like his arm went through the wall and he couldn’t turn anymore. The other example is one of these lumbering beasts got hung up on a radio tower and couldn’t get himself off of it until I shot him enough times that he literally bounced off the tower from the impact of my shot. It was instances like these that raised my brow a bit. The only other complaint I had is that although the game really does look good, the inevitable comparison to a game like Gears 2 on the Xbox 360 is going to be made. I think that after playing both games that the texture work in Resistance 2 could have been better. Yes I know, they are two different games, but the texture differences are quite noticeable and I think if anything they could have been improved in Resistance 2 for even more realism.
In the end I would still say that Resistance 2 is a great looking game hands down. Given the scope of each level, how many characters are on screen at once, the amount of special effects on screen at once, and the fact that the framerate is rock solid, how can one not be happy with the visuals?
The sound in Resistance 2 compliments the graphics and gameplay quite well. From the voice acting, the music to the sound effects, all of it sounds great.
The story is told via cut-scenes and all of the voice acting during these is very well done. From Nathan Hale himself to his supporting cast of sentinel squadmates, or those faceless soldiers who fight along side him, all the voices help portray a somewhat believable story. Technically speaking the lip-syncing also seems bang on. Of course the Chimera have their own repertoire of voice work too, however these are mostly scowls and grunts. That being said they are somewhat creepy and manage to let you know that the sounds they make are definitely not human. Each type of Chimera has a distinct sounding growl too making for even more of an impact when you come across the larger and more menacing ones.
The music that accompanies the games introduction and cut-scenes also helps to pull you into the story. It has a pretty good impact when it hits at the right times too. I found that the available soundtrack was pretty solid and it helped to make the game a more enjoyable experience.
The in-game sound effects in Resistance 2 manage to round out the solid audio experience. From the varying sounds of your weapons, the various onscreen explosions, to the smaller and more ambient sounds like creatures running in the distance or the flesh pods that are converting humans into Chimera, everything is solidly presented. Of course the game is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 too so if you are playing through a surround sound system it will sound even better.
The story in Resistance 2 takes place right after the events of the first game, Resistance: Fall of Man. Nathan Hale has just survived his battle with the Chimera in Europe and he is wandering the snowy landscape wondering what to do or where to go next. He is picked up by a secret government agency called SRPA and whisked off to Iceland where he is to meet others like him. You end up joining SRPA, and two years later you are taken to the United States where the Chimera have finally made their presence known. From this point forward you and your squad of Sentinels (soldiers whose blood is infused with the Chimeran virus) will travel across the U.S. in an effort to save humanity from becoming decimated. You’ll battle old and new Chimera in urban, rural, forest, and even alien settings in your effort to save humanity. The story itself is not that bad and those looking for answers from the first game will find them here. You will come across some really interesting plot twists that take the story to new levels. But make no mistake; you will also be left with some new unanswered questions too.
My main problem with the story is that in order really flush it out you need to find Intel items that are scattered throughout each of the levels. These provide some great background information when discovered, but the fact that you have to search for them while trying to play the main story is somewhat frustrating as they can be well hidden and take time to find. I honestly believe that they could have done this another way rather then make you search for answers. I know I missed quite a few of these Intel items as I battled forward in my quest to not only save humanity, but stay alive as well and I wonder what they contained.
What I first noticed about the game when I started playing was the scope of the presentation. Right from the start, when you exit your downed helicopter, you are confronted by a colossal sized enemy that you know you will have to eventually take down. As you begin to venture across the level you can look around and see one hell of a battle going on around you. This level is the prologue to the game, and it is as impressive as many other levels that I have seen from other games that are midway through their story, let alone something at the start. It really hits home the fact that Insomniac Games has really amped up the epic feeling that this game conveys. As you play through this first level it discover that it reacquaints veterans of the series to the control scheme while it will allows newbies to learn how to play. It also gives you a introduction to what is going on in the U.S. now that the Chimera has landed.
Another thing I noticed about Resistance 2’s single player campaign is that the action is relentless and very challenging. There is not a whole lot of time to relax as you are faced with many different situations from battling large numbers of enemies to fighting only a few, but these few are huge and take a lot of effort and time to take down. The enemy AI is very skilled at fighting too. They seem to have different tactics ranging from all out frontal assaults to trying to flank you and take you by surprise. There were many occasions where I felt somewhat drained after some of the battles I fought given how focused I was on defeating the varying numbers of enemies on screen. You will find that you cannot just stand out in the open and you will be dodging behind cover regularly in an effort to avoid enemy fire or regenerate your health.
What was really amazing about the game was that the different battles were not just the same enemies in different locales either as Resistance 2 has a large variety of Chimeras for you to face and the game mixes them up quite well. As you progress deeper into the game you will be introduced to new ones in later battles that challenge your skill. Trust me the first time you face a Leviathan the size of a skyscraper you will know what I mean. Bottomline, the game can be tough. I was playing in the normal skill level and it was pretty hard in this setting so I can only imagine the challenge at the higher skill level. As you play you may have to repeat some battles a few times to get by, but in the end the feeling that you have done something monumental in the game occurs quite often which is a great reward for your efforts.
Along with some new enemies this time around, Insomniac Games has also added some new weaponry. Along with the return of the M5A2 Carbine, Bullseye and Auger come some new weapons in the form of the .44 Magnum, Marksman and the new Spider Grenade. The .44 Magnum shoots bullets which are also remote-detonated explosives. You access the remote detonator by using the secondary fire function of the gun. The Marksman is a sniper like rifle which zooms in quite nicely and it fires off three successive shots. Its secondary fire feature allows you to shoot electrified orbs that shock nearby Chimera allowing you to fire at them freely. Finally the new Spider Grenade sends out tendrils along the surface it lands on and they explode killing larger groups of enemies. All the new weapons are pretty fun to use. If anything purists to the time era this game is supposed to take place in (1950’s) will cry that they are not very realistic, but then again I don’t think the whole idea of the Chimera is realistic either, but you don’t seem me complaining. Anyone who plays this game will have a great time with the weapons available.
The single player campaign consists of a total of seven chapters plus the prologue, which totals eight different levels to venture through. It should take anywhere from 10-15 hours depending on what skill level you are and what difficulty level you play the game through (easy, normal or hard). Of course should you be a true collector you may want to play through the story again to find all the Intel items scattered throughout each level. Insomniac Games has also included Trophy support for Resistance 2. These range from finishing the game on specific difficulty levels, completing key points during a level, to getting a specific number of kills with various weapons. Those who consider themselves Trophy nuts may want to play the single player campaign more then once.
Along with a pretty good single player campaign, Resistance offers up a really good multiplayer component including cooperative and adversarial modes. I will speak about the cooperative first.
Resistance 2 does something really well in its offering of a cooperative campaign, not only does it support up to eight players, but it is also a separate campaign of the main story. When playing in the cooperative mode you are a member of a military squad known as the Spectres. Your squad is tasked with tracking down and obtaining Grey Tech. These are items that the Chimera are in possession of all around the globe. The missions that you undertake in cooperative mode run in parallel to the main story and you do not have the superpowers that Nathan Hale and the Sentinels have. Grey Tech is also important as it will help you unlock additional missions as well as additional gear that you can outfit your characters with.
The cooperative mode is class based. Each class has their own abilities as well as their own weapons and they are important in theiro own way as they assist each other in surviving the cooperative campaign. The three classes you can choose from are Medic, Soldier or Special Ops. The Medic can drain health using his Phoenix weapon and pass it on to his teammates. The Soldier carries a Gatling gun that can generate a protective shield which can help defend his teammates while being able to mow down opposing Chimera. He has the most health out the three classes. The Special Ops uses a Marksman battle rifle to deal out damage and he is the only member of the squad who can supply everyone with ammo. An added bonus is that you are not locked into any one specific class as you can switch at any time you wish, even during a specific match.
As you play through the various levels offered in the cooperative mode you earn experience points and currency depending on how well you play. Although everyone in the group will earn XP for killing enemies, you also earn points for carrying out your specific tasks. You can eventually unlock more weapons, improved special abilities as well as new gear that will improve specific stats of your character. One of the cool things you can improve is your Berserk powers. These powers are class specific and when you have gained enough XP you fill a meter and you can use your class specific special power. For example, Medics can use the Ring of Life. Here they set this ‘ring’ down and it allows teammates to constantly regenerate health within this area. Things like this adds some strategy to the game as players will work on performing their class specific abilities in order to help get everyone though the game.
The available co-op missions have a large selection of objectives for each map. The challenge on these maps is also noteworthy. Enemies will apply a varying number of attack strategies in this mode creating a very challenging experience. I was amazed how they came from so many different directions in their effort to make sure we did not succeed. If anything the mode really is about teamwork, hence why this is a cooperative mode. If there is any negative to be found in this area it would be that you have to play each map more then once in order to eventually open up the next level. That being said, Resistance 2 links up different objectives in the same map to make it feel like a different play through each time.
I would also like to comment on the fact that there is also support for two player split screen when playing cooperative mode. It manages to tailor the cooperative mode quite nicely for two players versus an eight player online match. In some ways I would have liked to have seen split screen available for the actual single player story, but alas beggars cannot be choosers.
Resistance 2 also offers up some great adversarial multiplayer as well. The available maps can accommodate anywhere from two players to upward of 60 players. There are the usual FPS modes available here such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. The latter is known as Core Control in Resistance 2. Although the standard modes are enjoyable, where the game really shines in the adversarial arena is during the Skirmish mode. Here the game splits players into six squads of five players each, Human and Chimeran, for a total of 60 players. Specific goals are assigned to each squad such as controlling various points on the map or eliminating a specific target. The opposing team is tasked to stop the other team from completing its objective. Interestingly enough the objective(s) can change during gameplay too which adds even more spice. These matches can truly be crazy. I found that what matches I did play were pretty much lag-free; something that is quite amazing given that there can be 60 people playing at once. Communication is the key and Resistance 2 supports voice chat including the new PlayStation headset that was packaged in the recently released SOCOM.
On a final note, Resistance 2 also offers up community support. By logging onto www.myresistance.net you can link up to the site with your PS Network Account. This enables you to see what other players on your friends list are doing online, how they stack up when playing Resistance 2 online (coop or adversarial), or check out your own Resistance 2 stats. This feature is not as fleshed out as that of Bungie’s Halo.net but it is a great starting point and something I am sure a lot of Resistance 2 players will use.
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