Reviewed: November 8, 2008
Reviewed by: Mark Smith

Publisher
Sony Computer Entertainment

Developer
Insomniac Games

Released: November 4, 2008
Genre: FPS
Players: 1-2
Online Co-op: 2-8
Online Versus: 2-60

10
9
9
10
9.4

Supported Features:

  • DualShock 3
  • 350 MB Hard Disk Space
  • HDTV 720p
  • Dolby Digital
  • Headset Compatible
  • Ethernet Broadband
  • PS Network (60 Players)

    Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)


  • Itís not often that we get a sequel that picks up mere moments from where the original left off, but with Resistance 2 there is no discernable gap between when we last left Nathan Hale and where this game pick up with his rescue by chopper and quick transport back to a new military base in the United States. Instead, the two-year time-lapse is handled through the passage of time within the opening movie.

    For those that donít remember Nathan, he was the hero from the European battle against the Chimera, and having already been infected with the Chimeran virus he was the perfect one-man army to lead the resistance. But the virus and the threat have spread out of the UK and are now rampaging its way across America. Nathan must join a new group of resistance fighters, the Sentinels as they try to repel this alien invasion.

    Sentinels are much like Nathan, in that their blood is infused with the Chimeran virus giving them super-abilities like strength and healing, while their final transformation is held at bay with regular injections of anti-virus. But what would happen if somebody missed one or two injections?

    Those who have played the original will know exactly what to expect from this sequel and you wonít be disappointed. In fact, everything you loved about the original is back, bigger and better than ever along with some significant improvements and enhancements. First and foremost is the multiplayer, which increases the online count to 60 simultaneous players for epic battles, yet even with the increased scope of warfare, the squad-based gameplay remains compartmentalized, so you really are only playing one small part of the war, one battle at a time.

    This enhanced online mode also called for a significant redesign of MyResistance.net to accommodate more and better social network tools for messaging, friends, invites, trophies, and leaderboards. Resistance 2 is hoping to offer an overall experience to rival the 360-exclusive Halo multiplayer and in many ways they have.

    And if 60 players seems too overwhelming you can always check out the new co-op story mode with up to 8 players battling through their own unique storyline that runs parallel to the single-player campaign. In this mode you get to pick character classes and rank-up with new stats, weapons, and armor.

    While many people were jumping right into the multiplayer after launch I was content to immerse myself in the alternate reality of 1953 America, exploring the war-ravaged landscapes of San Francisco, Chicago, and other amazingly detailed locations, both on Earth and even some adventures onboard one of the alien battle cruisers. The story pacing is fast and frantic with each level intelligently leading into the next.

    Along the way you will face off against a variety of Chimeran warriors and mutated humans who burst from their pods and attacks like hordes of zombies Ė and not the Dawn of the Dead kindÖthe 28 Days kind. Throughout the story, questions from the first game will be answered and new ones are revealed, all the way up to the climactic cliff-hanger that clearly indicates there will be a third installment.

    The overall feel of Resistance 2 is much faster paced and centered around current events. The narration style of the original made it seem you were replaying historical events as narrated by Rachel, but in these game all the missions are seamlessly tied together as one long sleepless day. While the storytelling is more focused, the gameplay branches out into much more open areas that arenít nearly as linear as the first game. You still have objectives and waypoints but your path isnít always as clearly defined as it once was.

    There is also a nice mix of indoor and outdoor locations. The Chicago and Twin Falls levels are easily the two best levels in the game, especially the Chicago level that has huge parts of the city flooded with deadly Chimeran fish monsters that force you to jump across a path of abandoned cars and floating debris.

    The creature collection rivals anything Gears of War or Halo can offer. Your jaw will drop the first time you marvel at the scale of the Goliath in the opening level, but just wait until you see the Kraken or the towering Leviathan. These are bosses and battles that rival those in Shadow of the Colossus. Fortunately, youíll have your impervious squad mates to assist, or at least provide diversions so you can do most of the work. If one of your teammates goes down he will magically reappear a short time later redefining the creed, ďno man left behindĒ, at least until the script calls for their demise.

    I was appreciative of the enhanced enemy AI that not only has various types of Chimera using different tactics, but when you mixed the types they would actually use their individual tactics to complement one another. Often, they were more organized than some of my online team battles where everyone wants to go rogue and do their own thing. And despite the increased intelligence, Resistance 2 has no problem throwing 20-30 enemies at you in one wave after another. This is where your team AI comes into plays, making it imperative that you never stray too far from your squad.

    Insomniac has assembled an impressive collection of firepower including many of your favorites from the previous game as well as some new weapons. The Carbine, Bullseye, and wall-tunneling Auger are back but the real crowd pleaser is the new Magnum that fires an explosive round that you can detonate with the alternate fire. So even if you miss the target you might catch them in the secondary blast. The Marksman is an improved sniper rifle and the Spider Grenade emits fiery tendrils for a nice area-of-effect attack.

    Diving into the multiplayer modes, we start with a co-op campaign that parallels the events of Nathan in the story mode. In co-op youíll are part of the Spectres, a group of special fighters tasked with finding Gray Tech, special items being held by the Chimera all over the world. These missions donít necessarily intersect with Nathanís but it does give a much greater scope to the overall narrative. The more Gray Tech you acquire the more missions and extra gear you can unlock to extend your gameplay.

    You get to choose from various character classes, each with special abilities and weapons. If you arenít happy with your choice you can switch out assignments anytime during the game. Your class determines your role and your performance dictates your earned XP and how fast you rank-up. Each class also has a special Berserk power, almost like a ďperkĒ in Call of Duty, but these powers are activated by filling a meter during gameplay, then activating the power for a short duration.

    Medics can activate the Ring of Life to create a healing circle for any teammates who enter. Soldiers can activate Ironheart to minimize damage for a short while. The more players perform the duties of their character class, the quicker their meter fills and the more they can use their special powers. This is an exciting element that not only encourages role-playing and teamwork, but also creates some unique strategic elements not usually associated with FPS games.

    For those who donít work or play well with others you have the standard offering of online competitive play modes including DM, Team DM, CTF (or in this case Core Control), and the overwhelming 60-player Skirmish mode. While all games wonít have a full 60 players rest assured the maps scale to the player count and there are no technical or lag issues to report. Iíve never been a big fan of playing games over the PlayStation Network but it finally looks like Sony has their act together for online multiplayer.

    Skirmish mode could just be the best online game mode for an FPS game ever. Inspired by the co-op mode, you can have up to six squads of five players, and each are tasked with various objectives and dynamically generated goals in this Humans vs. Chimera epic battle event. For every objective your side is assigned, the other side has an opposing objective that directly conflicts with yours, always insuring plenty of battle. By keeping things at a squad level the gameplay remains personalized despite the huge numbers. Ultimately, the objectives will all start to focus on a central part of the map required for complete domination and then all hell breaks loose with an epic final conflict.

    The pacing and balance of this game mode is brilliant, and there are all sorts of tools and online features that I mentioned in my opening that make Resistance 2 the online game to beat this year and next. And with the promise of online content coming soon, there is no foreseeable end to the gameplay potential of this title, online or off.

    While Resistance 2 has certainly nailed down the gameplay to near-perfection, I was even more surprised by its technical prowess. The framerate is solid throughout the entire game, both in single player or in the largest of online matches. But in order to achieve these you will find some simple textures being used and a short depth of field when it comes to texture pop-up. In the more complicated levels you can see the world morph into more detailed textures only a few feet in front of your character. Itís not bad and probably not even noticeable unless you are looking for problems.

    Level design is breathtaking with too many details to mention. Creature design comes in a close second with some of the larger creatures having more scale and detail than any other game that comes to mind. Combined with fluid animation and plenty of special effects, explosions, fire, smoke, laser sights, bullet trails, and flying debris and you have a very busy and very beautiful game.

    Without the narration between levels the story is mostly conveyed through in-game cutscenes and mid-mission chatter. The sound experience rivals the gameplay and the visuals with powerful bass effects and a great multi-dimensional presentation of battlefield sound effects that put you right in the middle of the war. There are numerous and distinct weapon effects, both human and alien in nature. There is also a stirring soundtrack to enhance the emotional impact of the game and story with specific music cues triggered by your actions in real-time.

    The story mode is admittedly short and most gamers will finish in 10-12 hours, but when you combine that with the parallel co-op mode and the endless online competitive modes Resistance 2 offers more bang for your buck than any other game this holiday season. The online community is growing daily, and this is a game that can easily become as addictive as Call of Duty or Halo without even trying. Throw in full support for some very challenging trophies and you have a game that you wonít be putting down anytime soon.

    Resistance 2 is the perfect sequel. First of all, it plays out more like a continuation of the first game, wrapping up some unfinished business and introducing new business. Secondly, the improvements in the overall game, both in design and technical issues are amazing. You can tell this game was in the works long before the first one was finished. If you want an FPS game that offers it all Ė single play, co-op, and epic online multiplayer, then Resistance 2 is a must-own title. This is the reason you own a PS3.