There's a bitter war between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, as, although the Japanese console has the advantage of hardware power, it hasn't been backed up by many game designers like its North American counterpart. But when the Xbox 360 received the blockbuster Gears of War shooter, which propelled it in terms of sales and popularity, Sony turned to Insomniac Games to create their own high-end shooter.
The result was Resistance: Fall of Man, which gained critical acclaim for its stunning environments, unique story and interesting gameplay mechanics. Now, as the years have passed, the second installment, Resistance 2, was thrown into the war against Gears of War 2 in order to confirm the power of the PlayStation 3. While Epic Games' creation had the upper hand in terms of fans, Resistance won over more reviewers, but, sadly, sales charts didn't confirm the latter’s belief. Now, as the dust has settled, we had the chance to review this game. Should you try out this shooter or wait for Killzone 2 or other titles? Read on to find out. Story
While Epic Games chose to go into the future for Gears of War, Insomniac turned to the past, but altered it in a very interesting way. Here's a brief roundup of the major events that happen until the game starts. The Chimera is an unknown virus that turns people into blood-thirsty monsters equipped with some sort of futuristic weaponry and at the command of some unique machines. You are Nathan Hale, a Sergeant in the United States Rangers who battled in the United Kingdom in order to prevent the Chimera from getting hold of the whole European continent.
As you may or may not know from the first game, things have gone well for the UK but not so good for Hale, as he was left surrounded by unknown people in the middle of a forest. The start of Resistance 2 is actually the end of the first title, picking off exactly in the moment when Hale was rushed in a helicopter. It seems that the mysterious soldiers were actually part of an elite squad of the United States called the Sentinels, which have been infused with the Chimera virus, much like Hale, but are subject to an inhibitor treatment in order to stay human.
Now, after four years, you are the leader of a Sentinel squad and essentially go on a field trip across the United States in order to prevent the Chimera from completely taking over the whole country. I won't spoil a lot of things for you, as the story is very solid and reveals even more details about the Chimera and about Nathan than you could possibly imagine. If you believed that the story in the first game was solid, you deserve to play this one.
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|Nathan Hale, the main character ||The Sentinel team you are a part of |
In terms of gameplay elements Resistance 2 doesn't bring a lot of new things to the table, but impresses through how solid the overall experience is. At first glance, you will see a game that is much more polished than the first one, which uses all the hardware power of the PlayStation 3 in order to reflect even the most minute details about weapons, surfaces or enemies.
Speaking of weapons, the models are much more detailed and show a massive improvement over the ones found in the first title. Nathan Hale won't have the same Swiss army knife in terms of carrying capability and he will be able to hold only two weapons at a time, making your decisions in terms of which weapons to pick up and which to throw very important. New features have appeared for old weapons, which will make killing Chimeran soldiers much easier.
The enemies are very varied and have also received graphical overhauls as opposed to the first title. From the “normal” hybrids to the new Titans or heavier soldiers, everything seems much more realistic and organic. Players will also “thank” the team at Insomniac, as battles with huge monsters are present at the end of each level, making the experience that more memorable.
The vastness of the environments is sometimes mind blowing, as fights are also waged at the same time in various parts of the map, either in the air or on the ground, and you really feel that you aren't the only one pushing the Chimera back. You'll also be helped by a few of your squad mates, but, as a very annoying point, the enemies only seem to target you. While in the first game you weren't the only one on the receiving end of Chimeran bullets, in this title it sometimes seems that there is a target on your back visible to all enemies.
Also, another very annoying part of the game is that you will die a lot of times until you can figure out how to traverse certain parts of the levels. From dealing with a swarm of angry insects to endless waves of barely hatched hybrids to the big number of armored Titans, your screen will turn black for quite a lot of times. Luckily, the control scheme is very straightforward and to an inexperienced PlayStation 3 player like myself it will take a short while to get used to it.
Vehicle sequences are no more so the possibility or driving a tank or an armored jeep is zero. Instead of those action-packed moments, there are a lot of scripted battles with big enemies, but at times you can actually predict a lot of the following events.
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|There are new monsters ||But also new weapons |
The concept of this game is quite simple; Insomniac took a great looking game, with some very solid features and made it stunning in terms of graphics with some improved elements. The overall feel of the experience is that you are really playing the sequel to the game. While critics believed that Gears of War 2 was nothing more than a 1.5 version, you won’t get this feeling here. You are playing a bigger, better and much longer-lasting title.
Sadly, this vastness means that the title has ventured a bit too far from the alternate history that was presented in the first one. A lot of moments will be spent onboard Chimeran space ships or in underground laboratories, where the game looks and feels like any other futuristic shooter. But, fortunately, these elements are replaced with some great environments with an art-deco feel that reminds you of the 1950s setting of the game. Visuals and Audio
Visually, the game is crisp and gorgeous thanks to the processing power of the PlayStation 3. From the shimmer on the building windows to the glow in the eyes of the Chimeran enemies and the reflection in the water found in some levels, everything may be forgotten the moment you shoot your way through, but if you stop and look around, you can really see the details of those effects. The colors are extremely vibrant and reveal and paint some truly gorgeous environments, as opposed to the gritty and gray buildings from the first iteration.
You won't encounter any hiccups even when a huge number of enemies are hurling towards you and you fling saw blades through the air in the hope that they will slice and dice them in their tracks. The huge monsters at the end of each level are also very detailed and actually very organic, but you won't get a chance to analyze them quite often as your weapons will certainly destroy them.
In terms of audio and sound, the game is very realistic, and, although I wasn't able to test it on a 5.1 surround system, it impressed through the output of the shrieks of the Chimeran forces and the sound of the different types of weapons as you shot them.
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|There are small enemies ||And there are big ones |
Multiplayer-wise, the game shines and offers a great experience both in terms of the co-op mode, in online and offline splitscreen versions, and in the multiplayer itself, which has a lot of options and modes. As a unique twist, the modes are completely independent of the singleplayer one, as you won't be able to play as Nathan Hale “+1” in the offline co-op mode.
Cooperative play allows from two to eight players at the same time, as it runs parallel to the main story, as the gamers are in the uniforms of elite Specter Team members, choosing from three classes, Soldier, Special Ops or Medic and completing various scenarios in different locations across the United States.
Online multiplayer allows up to sixty people to play at once, choosing to be either on the Chimeran or the Human side, across four modes of play, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Core Control (which is practically Capture The Flag) and Skirmish. Players are able to choose their weapon loadout before the game starts and, depending on their overall experience, handle more powerful weapons or have increased skill in handling them. Conclusion
Overall, Resistance 2 does what it advertises, as it improves on the great Resistance: Fall of Man title. Departing from the World War II feel of the first game might not be a lot of gamers' cup of tea but it still gives an adrenaline filled experience, although seemingly a bit futuristic. It looks stunning, impresses through its vastness and leaves a lasting impact on the player.
Unfortunately, the multitude of scripted moments, the fact that enemies only seem to target you on the battlefield and that you will die quite a lot while figuring out specific strategies for certain levels does get irritating sometimes.
But all in all, if you have a PlayStation 3, then this title is definitely for you. If you are still on the fence about buying the Japanese console, then you need to try it out because it might make you get it as soon as possible.