When the PlayStation 3 began shipping back in November of 2006, there was really only one must-have game for the console, and that was Insomniac's ambitious first-person shooter, Resistance: Fall of Man. The best title at launch remains one of the best games on the console to date. Only one game due out this holiday season has a hope of stealing the sci-fi FPS crown on the console, and that's it's sequel, Resistance 2.
It's bigger, badder, and even more ambitious than the original, but bigger isn't always better, and we've seen some pretty terrible things done in the name of ambition. Let's see how R2 fared under the telescopic sights of game critics around the world.
Resistance 2's developer, Insomniac Games, does an excellent job throwing us into tense situations. Throughout our brief journey, we wandered through dark and alien infested apartment buildings, battled a giant monster in Chicago and narrowly avoided becoming a snack for a vicious Fury, an underwater creature that makes a beeline for hapless swimmers. Bullets and lasers fly in all directions, barrels explode and enormous creatures blot out the sun. This is why we own PlayStation 3s.
The prologue finds Hale arriving at the Sentinels' Iceland base, where the Chimera (the series' big, bad aliens) stage an assault — whose effects come to fruition when the timeline jumps forward two years to a Chimeran blitzkrieg on America, which takes up the rest of the single-player campaign's seven chapters. The story's serviceable, but due to the lack of a narrator, understanding everything requires a bit of legwork — you only know as much as Hale does, and scattered, collectible documents flesh out the background details.
It's a good thing that Resistance 2 has a lot more to offer outside of the single-player campaign, which means the multiplayer that spans both co-op and competitive multiplayer. Taking inspiration from Call of Duty 4, you have a similar RPG-style level aspect to the entire game, meaning you can get experience from single-player, co-op, and multiplayer to building up your overall level along with the individual levels that each mode has. That gives you a nice incentive to try out everything to unlock more stuff for each mode to see what your next prize is. Another new addition to the multiplayer is the new allies system, or the fancy term for its party set-up that lets you invite friends to stay with you throughout multiplayer or co-op sessions.
Resistance 2 saves its most innovative ideas for co-operative play, however. The traditional answer would be to let players go through the single-player side-by-side, but instead, up to eight players join forces and take on a series of miniature campaigns that run alongside the main story, suggesting some of the other events that are occurring while Hale does his hero thing. There are six maps, drawn from this game and the original, with a set number of different objectives attached to each. The game randomly selects and shuffles three of these objectives for each game, throwing in some boss encounters to spice things up further.
While the game is phenomenal in a technical and visual sense in the terms of its scale and number of enemies on screen at once, there are some weird technical issues that crop up here and there. For one thing, some of the textures are noticeably lower resolution than others, and there's a lot of texture pop-in and screen tearing that will crop up here and there as you move through each environment. What's more, you'll find some strange instances where monsters may twitch after they've been killed, or limbs of some creatures that have been blown off will still remain standing as if connected to some invisible body. It's a strange thing to see what would appear to be a mannequin limb. There are also some clipping issues that will crop up.
If anything, Resistance 2 could be pitched as the holiday shooter that's "bigger, better and more bad-ass." Everything has been upped for the sequel, with a workable 60-person multiplayer option, a ton of fan service for the Resistance enthusiast and a co-op mode that's not only fun as hell, but fleshes out the core story line. The intel collect-a-thons certainly aren't my thing, nor is trying to piece together all the disparate plot points, but the hardcore Resistance fan has been very well taken care of. It may be that the novelty of a sci-fi shooter set in the mid-twentieth century has worn off a bit and that the game looks a bit underwhelming in light of the competition, but I actually recall enjoying the first a bit more.
I'd make an irresistible pun here, but I still have my pride.